In a way never seen before, America has gone mad.
The Democratic Party, having left the likes of Henry Jackson and Daniel Patrick Moynihan far behind, is being steered by the ideology of Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. It’s in thrall to a Maoist mob. It’s tacitly (and sometimes not so tacitly) accepting wholesale destructiveness. It’s in bed with the Black Lives Matter terrorist group, contributions to which end up in party coffers. While the party lets Bolshevik bullies get away with violence, it vilifies decent citizens who try to defend themselves and demonizes cops who simply want to do their job.
In this year’s presidential election, the party—and I never in my life imagined that I would be writing such a sentence—is running a manifestly senile relic who was always a mediocre hack at best; who’s best known for plagiarizing banalities and fondling little girls, and who, at a point when he was presumably somewhat less senile, cheerfully sold out his country in exchange for payoffs to his son from China and Ukraine.
During the last few weeks, while Joe Biden has been dithering around in his basement, local and state Democratic leaders around the country have been allowing violent radicals to run wild in the streets, set fires, smash private property, and beat people up. Democratic mayors have allied explicitly with the radicals, echoing the insane calls to “defund the police” and rounding up troublemakers only to invite them to accuse cops of misconduct.
Many political leaders have followed the rioters’ lead in tearing down and vandalizing statues—not just of Confederate Civil War generals, which was the original idea, but of Union generals, abolitionists, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Frederick Douglass, and 9/11 heroes. It’s no longer about achieving racial justice but about accomplishing a Taliban—or Reign of Terror—style eradication of the past.
In Seattle, the mayor refused to resist a takeover of several downtown blocks until the perpetrators marched on her own house. (Her government is now forcing white city employees to take training sessions in which they must “affirm their complicity” in racism and work on “undoing their whiteness.”)
If anything is crystal clear at present, it’s that all this leftist mayhem, encouraged by the Democratic Party and its adherents, represents an existential threat to America as we know it.
In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has forbidden all large public gatherings except Black Lives Matter protests, led a group who painted the words “Black Lives Matter” in large yellow letters on Fifth Avenue outside Trump Tower. When an electronic sign reading “The safety of all lives matter” (sic) appeared on a street in Melrose, Massachusetts, the mayor ordered it taken down, apologized profusely to local residents, and demanded to know who’d put it up.
Major corporations, terrified of the Marxist rabble, are succumbing to their demands, issuing obsequious declarations of support, forcing employees to read books about their white privilege, and firing those who don’t grovel sufficiently. Disney has signed a development deal with Colin Kaepernick, whose refusal to stand for the national anthem helped kick off all this insanity. Oprah plans to produce materials based on the New York Times’ discredited “1619 Project,” which depicts an America founded on racism.
Our colleges, long factories of far-left ideology, cheer on the rioters. The University of Washington has ordered professors to give passing grades to black students, who are presumably too busy protesting to do schoolwork. In response to protests, USC removed a John Wayne exhibit. When Penn State issued a statement saying that it welcomed students of all kinds, including conservatives, the backlash was so tremendous that it withdrew the statement. At Princeton, more than 200 faculty members have demanded that the administration address “systematic racism” by adopting over 40 sweeping initiatives that would (among much else) ensure ideological purity in hiring and in academic writings, give extra sabbaticals to black professors, and establish a campus anti-racism center.
Even the U.S. Army has gotten into the act, sending an email to all personnel saying that the word “colorblind” and the statements “all lives matter” and “Make America Great Again” are evidence of “white supremacy.” (To be sure, the Army backtracked when called on this move by a congressman.)
And the national media are aiding and abetting this hysteria in every way they can, suppressing some news stories and magnifying or inventing others in an effort to depict this totalitarian insurgency—which is a war not on racism or fascism but on democratic capitalism, individual liberty, and civilization itself—as a step forward for civil rights.
An Existential Threat
It’s insane—all of it. This isn’t America. This new dispensation casts aside every constitutional principle.
What’s the meaning of freedom of speech when dissent from Black Lives Matter orthodoxy can lead to professional suicide, social ostracism, and mob justice? Where are the rights of the individual when the country is in the grip of an ideology that demonizes the very idea of individualism? How can we speak of all Americans being born equal when members of certain purported oppressor groups are being demonized, tormented, and silenced, and members of approved victim groups are allowed to commit felonies with impunity? How can we refer to America as “the home of the brave” when people in positions of responsibility are behaving with breathtaking cowardice—willing, without an instant’s hesitation, to mouth the insipid slogan “Black Lives Matter” or take the knee in submission to punks?
If anything is crystal clear at present, it’s that all this leftist mayhem, encouraged by the Democratic Party and its adherents, represents an existential threat to America as we know it, and that, whatever one may think of Donald Trump’s personality or policies, it would be sheer madness to vote for anyone other than him in November.
And yet every day I turn to Facebook to find friends and relatives around the country whose lives, it seems, are fully devoted to the effort to unseat the president. These are people who have comfortable homes, stable lives, beloved children, prized careers—people who have no interest in seeing the system overthrown, the Republic toppled. And yet instead of being unsettled by the unprecedented nationwide disorder promoted by the Democrats, they’re gunning for Trump.
It’s as if they don’t even know what’s going on.
And I suppose that, to an alarming extent, they don’t. Many of them get their news, I can only surmise, exclusively from CNN, MSNBC, NPR, the broadcast networks, and/or the New York Times, all of which are putting a preposterously pretty spin on the pandemonium, all the while smearing Trump 24-7.
And how much news, true or fake, do these people really consume, anyway? Not much from the looks of it. Despite all that’s happened since Trump entered office, they all seem to be in November 2016 mode—still outraged that Hillary Clinton lost, and still ready to believe that the Russians did it.
Not only don’t they seem to follow the news very carefully, but they also don’t seem to pay much attention to the weapons they’re handed to use against Trump. When he was elected, they all parroted the claim that he’d become a dictator, sending gays and journalists and political enemies to gulags and starting unnecessary wars with other countries.
Since even low-information voters must be aware that none of this has happened, the anti-Trump line has shifted. The other day, a Trump hater on my Facebook feed triumphantly posted a campaign video in which Trump was castigated for being too weak to stand up to Putin. In the comments, other Trump haters registered their glee. None of them seemed to notice that the nature of the case against Trump had done a total 180. It seemed not to matter. They were ready, one gathered, to embrace anything that was anti-Trump, however asinine it might be.
Reasons to Take Heart
Given everything he’s accomplished, given the thoroughgoing duplicity and corruption of his political opponents, and given how magnificently he’s stood up to the members of their paramilitary wing as they’ve ravaged America’s cities, Trump’s reelection should have been assured—as should a huge Republican victory in the Senate and House.
And yet as I read the postings by these fools on Facebook, I can’t feel entirely confident of his victory in November. For these people are legion, and I get the impression that none of them will ever vote for Trump, no matter what. I don’t even imagine that longtime blue voters in cities like Minneapolis and Portland and Seattle will turn red because of the chaos they’ve seen in the streets.
Am I wrong to worry that Trump might lose? I hope to God I am. I look constantly for signs that I’m wrong. One of them was the spectacular failure of the campaign to boycott Goya simply because its CEO took part in a White House business summit. Another is the proliferation of rallies in support of the police. Then there’s the new Sunday Express poll which, unlike a number of other recent surveys, shows Trump winning the Electoral College handily.
I also take heart in the confidence of people whose discernment I greatly respect—such as my old friend Roger Kimball, who wrote the other day that while “it can sometimes seem that everyone is against Donald Trump,” millions of voters who are “sitting at home watching their cities burn” recognize that their choice in November is “between the America they love . . . and the out-of-control forces of anti-American hatred.”
I hope he’s right. Often I think he is. But I can’t help reacting with shock and despair to the many supposedly smart and reasonable people I know who keep bashing Trump and posting idiotic Occupy Democrats memes—as if the Cultural Revolution-type derangement of recent weeks had never happened. What kind of future can America have when so many of its citizens can be so misguided? How can we hope to put this country back on track when we can’t even be sure that the best president of modern times will win reelection over a doddering fool in thrall to our society’s most dangerous elements?