Why the anti-Trumpers just can’t give credit to the president for his successes, by Bruce Thornton.
More interesting is the continuing resentment and anti-Trump animus on the part of self-proclaimed Republicans and conservatives. Even when acknowledging Trump’s successes, they too can’t resist some attack on Trump that signals their lofty virtue. They still reflexively insist that “principle” and “values” lie behind their disdain, that Trump has violated the “norms and traditions,” as serial liar and Democrat toady James Comey put it, that previous presidents have honored. Trump’s lack of decorum and his braggadocio, we continually hear, is “not who we are.”
Well, as Tonto says to the Lone Ranger in the old joke, “What do you mean ‘we,’ white man?”
The fact is, “we the people” of the United States from the beginning have been made up of a voluminous diversity of religious beliefs, economic interests, geography, folkways, mores, traditions, accents, rhetorical styles, and standards of decorum and taste. This often contentious and conflicting variety explains why the Founders created a government comprising sovereign states, along with the divided and balanced federal government. Our system of government respects and preserves from tyranny that diversity, that multiplicity of ways of being American, from the Congregationalist Boston Brahmin, to the evangelical frontier Scotch-Irish. The greatness of American literature, from Henry James to Mark Twain to Walt Whitman, derives from the homage paid to the “multitudes,” as Whitman put it, that America contains.
In the last century, however, several developments began to elevate one of those ways of defining “who we are” into the default identity for all Americans. One key to this change was television, especially news shows. Until cable news, talk radio, social media, and the internet restored a diversity of viewpoints, just three national networks reduced American identity to that of the anchors, writers, and producers of news. Now the politics, cultural tastes, manners, pastimes, educational credentials, standards of decorum and civility, even the zip codes and accents of the mostly coastal elites began to crowd out the other ways of being American. They alone now comprised the “traditions and norms” of Americans, especially national politicians, perhaps best symbolized by their red ties and dark suits, the uniform of the male political elite.
Then came the sixties, which further marginalized those Americans who didn’t fit the new elite paradigm of “who we are.” The once stuffy and formal ruling class, many of whom had already drifted from old-school liberalism into leftism, embraced the transformation of taste and norms inspired by the Cultural Marxists. Traditional religion became a tool of oppression, and popular culture became more sexually explicit and vulgar, a transformation rationalized as political “liberation.” American national diversity was now reduced to two manifestations: the educated, enlightened, now hedonistic elite, and the unsophisticated rubes and hicks, “clinging to their guns and religion,” as Obama said. They became the racist, sexist, homophobic shock troops of retrograde fascism yearning to “turn back the clock” on all the wonderful progress the elites were bestowing on what the old Puritans called the “preterit,” those not chosen by God to be one of the “elect” whose salvation was certain.
So now we get the hypocrisy of modern leftists and progressives, their moral superiority and certainty of their entitlement to rule, at the same time they have created a degraded culture of debased hedonism and sordid materialism. It explains the arrogance and hauteur of the progressive politicians who want to limit if not eliminate individual autonomy, religious beliefs, child-rearing practices, traditions of marriage and sex identity, attitudes toward gun ownership, and affection for the nation and the patriotic displays of that love. Attacks on Hillary’s “deplorables” are righteous, and no matter how vulgar and sordid and extreme, they are not only acceptable, but mandatory –– as the few Democrats feebly protesting these crude antics are discovering as they are burned at the virtual stake of twitter, the internet, and Facebook.
The two terms of Barack Obama fooled the “elect” into thinking that demography ensured they would continue to rule and complete the “fundamental transformation” of America promised by their messiah. Then came the unthinkable catastrophe: one of the “preterit” galvanized that other America, won the nomination against a Republican field half of whom talked and acted like Democrats, and then he even more astonishingly won the presidency.
To sum up, it’s the partition of the Western populace into the politically correct (the noisy minority, in control of the media) versus the non-PC (the silent majority). People tend to either subscribe to nearly all the PC fantasies, or they prefer to be realistic and reject most of them. Not a lot of middle ground.
hat-tip Stephen Neil