In the immediate aftermath of this year’s presidential election, The New York Times and other national media outlets wondered aloud how they could have so deeply underestimated President-Elect Donald Trump’s support among voters. They rightfully questioned whether their reporting reflected an accurate understanding of the views and values of many Americans. Unfortunately, that moment of self-reflection does not appear to have lasted very long.
Just days later, national media attention was given to the cast of the Broadway musical “Hamilton” and specifically, to Aaron Burr actor Brandon Victor Dixon, who told Vice President-Elect Mike Pence he was “alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us,” while imploring him to “uphold our American values.”
The New York Times and others in the national media would be well-served to spend more time in the American heartland instead of the theaters lining Broadway.
To be sure, the resulting media furor can be attributed in part to the president-elect’s decision to respond to the cast’s criticism via Twitter. Strikingly, though, much of the national coverage and discussion inside the studios and newsrooms in New York City and Washington, D.C., has overlooked a more basic point.
That is, while the cast of “Hamilton” has every right to voice their own opinion, the reality is that Donald Trump was elected our 45th president in large part because an equal number of Americans were “alarmed and anxious” that a President Clinton would not protect them and would not uphold their American values. And there is perhaps no issue that epitomizes that view better than the Second Amendment.
For the last eight years, many Americans watched as liberal lawmakers in Washington responded to domestic terrorist attacks with the same failed policy proposals and tin-eared rhetoric that basically comes down to stripping law-abiding Americans of their right to self-defense. Instead of a long-overdue conversation on the utility of concealed-carry laws, for example, they called for more government regulations, databases, and nonsensical ideas like “gun-free zones.”
During the presidential campaign, the national media was focused largely on whatever Donald Trump said or tweeted that day, and overlooked the fact that many Americans were deeply troubled by Hillary Clinton’s avowedly anti-Second Amendment platform. We listened to the debates when she said the Supreme Court got it wrong in ruling that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to own a firearm for self-protection. We read about the leaked WikiLeaks emails which revealed her plans to implement gun control by executive order and hike taxes on gun sales. And we watched as Secretary Clinton bragged about her plans to nominate a Supreme Court justice who would implement her liberal view of the Second Amendment, and overturn that of our Founding Fathers.
If you’re a law-abiding American who has always played by the rules and simply wants to ensure your family is protected during these troubling times, undoubtedly alarm and anger were two of the more immediate reactions you felt and you were undoubtedly motivated to vote on Election Day.
Of course, the goal here is not to paint broad groups of voters with the same brush, and at the U.S. Concealed Carry Association we are proud to be represented by members of both political parties. But this election should be a learning moment for the chattering class in Washington and the media elites in New York City, who were both surprised by the election results and quietly aligned with the views expressed by the “Hamilton” cast this past week.
There are undoubtedly Americans concerned with the direction that President-Elect Trump may take our country, but there are also many Americans deeply concerned with the direction our country has been taken the last eight years when it comes to the erosion of our rights and freedoms.
In the months ahead, both sides would be well-advised to listen to each other and engage in a constructive dialogue, while The New York Times and others in the national media would be well-served to spend more time in the American heartland instead of the theaters lining Broadway.
Tim Schmidt is the president and founder of the U.S. Concealed Carry Association, and may be contacted at [email protected]