The fallout over Trump’s alleged (yes, alleged) comments are proving that the #resistance is trapped in a very, very angry cycle
First, can anyone point to something Trump said that is on record and not from “sources familiar with the story”? Seriously, we’ve been playing the “anonymous sources controversy” game for a year now. Also, how is there no cognitive dissonance for people who justified Antifa violence, the behavior of the Clintons and the weaponization of MeToo who now feel like they have a right to the moral high ground?
As mentioned last time in “Parallels” and in “Reflection“, the latest Don Lemon one-liner “It is better to be strategic than outraged” goes against what has been the hallmark of the #resistance since that thing’s inception. How are we to believe “strategic” is something this bunch even knows the definition of?
Don Lemon’s Oprah-at-the-Globes moment is the same as every other high-minded moralistic speech we’ve seen these past 12 months. An effort to rile up an already riled-up echo chamber that is founded on outrage but claims to be guided by a clear, consistent sense of right and wrong that they realistically do not have. This does however, suggest a significant change in approach for the Activist left. Where the first half of last year and the latter fourth of 2016 is best symbolized by assaulting Trump supporters “because they support Nazis” (“moral superiors” justifying violence because of political differences. No problem there, of course), the latter half of 2017 and the beginning of this one seems to be one of repeating the early-mid 2016 tactic of insulting the other half of the country, but doing so with more gusto and vitriol, if you can imagine that. It started with Eminem’s bit on BET and just received this months Rant of the Ages with Lemon
Shortly after the election, British actor Tom Walker went on a rant as his reporter character Jonathan Pie. Among the points he made was that the Left has lost the ability to argue, it is now about insulting and attacking the person over the policy. Walker implies that the above inability to debate is the reason Trump won. And here we are repeating the same mistakes. Trump supporters are now indirectly responsible and indeed condone the worst of Trump’s behavior, real and imagined. Again, there is nothing proving Trump called Haiti a shithole, just reports. But reports (accusations and nothing else, naturally, in keeping with the MeToo approach) are enough for a conviction and a militant response against Trump and all who support him. Or perhaps, more accurately, those who don’t support the Left.
We went on at length about this approach back in “Reflection” but that was in August. When will the Left learn that this brand of activism is not helping them? As Walker points out in his diatribe, this “you deplorable, racist, homophobic, Nazi bastard” doctrine got them Theresa May, Brexit and now Trump; three huge losses to their name. They think Trump and his supporters are mentally unstable and yet they fit the definition of insanity. Some in the Anti-Trump movement are noticing this decline into insanity, however it is safe to say that not enough are following suit. As demonstrated by the primal screech that follows accusations now, it seems many anti-Trumpers are actually enjoying themselves far too much to think about it. So let’s talk about more specifically about that opposition, who seem to be Trump’s greatest asset.
When you’re not going off what the media tells you, what do you know about his supporters? Who is the face of the movement? If you ask the media, probably the Neo-Nazis, white supremacists and the alt-right (whoever they are this week). Perhaps on a given week it might still be ex-Breitbart albatross Steve Bannon. However, I’m not as convinced that it is these groups that are the ones moving the needle for the Trump White House. As was the case in 2016 and 2017, Trump’s opposition continues to make the best case for supporting Donald Trump. In 2016, Trump’s opposition was symbolized by the destruction of the words Nazi, bigot, homophobe, tyrant, authoritarian, hateful, and a laughable use of the term “resistance”, as well as the destruction of property and numerous incidents of assault and theft. 2017 brought endless Russian watersheds. Who can forget that one time Trump appeared in a Russian pop star’s music video? If that’s not a sign of collusion, I truly don’t know what is.
As the anti-Trump movement marches into 2018 with the same primal scream they’ve held for going on 16 months, it seems like some are starting to think that approach is doing harm to their image. A recent op-ed linked above in the New York Times called the “Decline of Anti-Trumpism” that notes that most have found a way to work almost around him. The writer states that while Fox pioneered “Lowbrowism”, a kind of political speech that conditions the listener to think and notice less. The left has taken up the mantle and run with it, mostly on late-night TV, but the smug-when-it-isn’t-hysterical separation from reality is prevalent in everything on the left now. From the relentless screams something being “beneath this country” coming from your standard activist, to the more arrogant, academic smugness of a Krugman or Maher or indeed Lemon, the left has created this fantasy of Trump’s inevitable demise with countless watersheds and smoking guns in the Russia probe among other things. There have been at least 2 every month since July by my count and I’m sure that number is closer to 6-8 if you watch CNN. To the opposition, when Trump isn’t a Russian puppet, every move he makes will kill millions. This includes but is not limited to the Paris Accords, tax cuts, the individual mandate, and we’ve been on the brink (the brink I say!) of war with North Korea since August. This no longer plays into the Menckenian adage that the point of practical politics is to keep people hysterical. The people seem to be maintaining that hysteria perfectly fine on their own, and what’s worse is they seem to believe their hype.
There may be the occasional rational rebuke to the Trump presidency from one of the people you know. As the article notes, the layman looks at these hysterics, both related to issues and other things like ketchup on a steak, and wonders why the hell he’d want to be part of this “resistance”. As an aside, does anyone in the #resistance actually strike fear into your heart on an intellectual or existential level? That woman screaming “nooooo” at the inauguration evokes more concern over fear.
Most amusingly, we now have people trying to become expert lip readers to see if Trump knows the words to the national anthem thanks to his appearance at the Georgia/Alabama national championship game. Seriously, the guy moves like he is a puppet. An actual puppet, by the way, not the Russian metaphor. His arms move in fits and stops when he’s speaking. He punctuates every emphasized sentence with his fingers in what used to be the OK gesture before CNN said it was racist, swinging from shoulder to hip stopping dead at the same spot with each repetition. Apply this same stiltedness to how he speaks and tell me how you can read whether he is singing the anthem or just talking to himself in a suspect rhythm.
So what does the new year look like for the #resistance? It’s an exciting question, but it’s only hopeful in that people are now so emotional they are voting for “anyone but that guy”. Nuance is gone from the mind, replaced by an overwhelming desire to do….something and vote for the people who say they will do what amounts really to “not what that guy is doing” and not much else.
It almost seems planned, like the #resistance means to use the lowbrowism that has come to define them as the keys to power. Which is a devious plan that should at least be admired for how honestly they go about creating this chaos.
Two issues: First, this is a group that has claimed to hold the moral high ground on everything; immigration, guns, crime, LGBT, you name it. To ask them, not only is theirs the right choice, but it is also, fittingly, the moral choice. But surely, those who have the moral high ground would not need to shout down opposing views, claim those who disagree with them are hateful in every sense and commit acts of vandalism and assault to get their point across. Why should the truth and it’s (self) appointed messengers require or at least prefer such behavior?
Second and most important however, chaos cannot sustain itself. Inevitably, a movement so self-interested as to take all forms of criticism personally, that is guided by a fanatical shriek of “out of my way” is essentially train with no brakes. If these inmates one day run this asylum, they will run in deeper into the ground than the authoritarian, apocalyptic hallucination they claim to be already living in. But there is good news even in that. For the first time, they will not be immune to the consequences of their actions.