Brutal Truths for ‘Beto’ Believers

Only in the Current Year could an Irishman married to a billionaire pretend to be a Latino progressive fighting for the little guy. The title for biggest phony threatens to desert Rachel Dolezal.

Beto O’Rourke, who is about as Hispanic as a penchant for California rolls makes me Emperor Hirohito, is running for president.

Of course, Beto, whose real name Robert, is rather underwhelming and rather Irish-American, hasn’t confirmed this yet. He’s busy playing hard to get with a fawning, bordering-on-boiling-a-bunny media, and the armadas of bores festooning their latest crush with a participation ribbon for his recent good try.

Yeah. He gave Senator Ted Cruz a decent fight in Texas. But who sits in the Senate?

Beto is the new Barack Obama. Aesthetically pleasing. Sitcom smile. A groupie-like devotion to his own voice. He’s also achieved little of note. Like Obama.

Naturally, Obama loves Beto. The “impressive young man” reminds him of himself. And nobody enthralls Obama quite like himself.

But we get what we reward. All this matters little in the Instagram age. Beto, sentient hashtag, is the new Great Democratic Hope.

“Win or lose,” tweeted Reuters, “Beto O’Rourke is set to emerge victorious.” That was right before he lost. And didn’t emerge victorious.

But he won anyway, according to desperate Democrats who’ve long disfigured reality to their liking.

Beto is a mantra. A silly affirmation self-help books implore the gullible to repeat before a mirror each morning. Beto is “The Secret.” Beto is Current Year.

Even his campaign signs aped something of more bite than the name they carried—those little packets of spicy ketchup they hand out for free at Whataburger.

Yet, the jeremiads border on the bizarre. The Washington Post claimed the burgeoning Democratic field will struggle to match the cryogenic Beto. Apparently, the sight of a middle-aged man skating around a car lot qualifies as “cool.” He also plays the air drums. Evidently, the times are still fast at Ridgemont High.

But it is Current Year. And Beto is the avatar of what Emina Melonic christened “hashtag politics.” It is a time where what one can do matters little, the lot one can feign matters most. Conceive, believe, achieve, runs the antidote to reality. But it’s not his fault.

Betomania is encouraged by my generation—Millennials. And we love a good phony. We’ve been suckling that teat for some time.

Back in the 1980s, a California state legislator set up a self-esteem task force to cure the state, and eventually America, of all social maladies. John Vasconcellos called self-esteem the “social vaccine,” a mithridate whose injection would cure criminality, violence, low educational achievement, unemployment, child abuse, domestic violence, homelessness, and gang warfare.

Even right-wingers succumbed. Self-esteem would save billions of tax dollars and usher in a 1950s harmony.

Bedridden with heart trouble, Vasco asked his flock to imagine themselves armed with brushes, clearing the gunk clogging his arteries, whilst singing to the tune of Row Row Row Your Boat:

Now let’s swim ourselves, up and down my streams. Touch and rub and warm and melt, the plaque that blocks my streams.

Miraculously, it didn’t work.

Soon, Vasco’s syrupy contagion crept like sugar-frosted gas into schools, families, and mass culture. Parents were implored to pepper their children with effulgent unconditional praise. No criticism.

Unsurprisingly, this raised a generation to pine for validation and reward regardless of achievement. Unable to cope with the rigors of life, my generation, you may have noticed, embodies this schlock.

A pioneer of the self-esteem movement later deplored the mongrelization of his work. Nathaniel Branden, author of The Psychology of Self-Esteem, found his thesis absent in Vasco’s super movement. Branden didn’t advocate unconditional praise. He said it could be harmful.

Branden taught that self-esteem derived from achievements. Real ones. Not undulating praise for all and any effort. Vasco and his team didn’t mention that part.

The task force taught that validation came from the approval of others. It’s of no surprise that a generation marinated in such bunkum now clots like fire ants around anyone telling them what they want to hear.

And those yearning for validation will vote for anyone willing to dish out the feel-goods.

Indeed, a study of young Americans found they’d prefer a boost to self-esteem over sex, alcohol, or money.

Perhaps that’s why they detest President Trump. Consider the slogan: Make America Great Again. This obviously implies that America is no longer great. That America doesn’t deserve a gold star just for being America. To rebuild her self-esteem, America must put in a shift.

But the Beto believers would rather not digest such a brutal truth. That sounds like work.

About Christopher Gage

Christopher Gage is a British political journalist.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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