You are the typical right-of-center voter. You experienced eight years of frustration under former President Barack Obama. You still get night sweats thinking about Attorney General Eric Holder’s Department of Justice, national security adviser Susan Rice, and Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Let’s not forget “You didn’t build that,” either.
You were understandably excited for campaign 2016, and why not? An attractive GOP field was filled with successful governors and senators. There was the equally exciting opportunity to end the Clinton dynasty for good. You were ready to support any of the major GOP candidates — even the interloper reality TV star with the salesman’s pitch and disregard for comity. A third Obama term was impossible to fathom.
And then, on Nov. 8, 2016, your wish came true. The looks on the faces of the alphabet-soup cable news anchors said it all. Some were angry, others cried, more than a few talked not of an opposition but of a new “resistance.”
You enjoyed watching the Establishment melt down on your TV screen that night.
Many made phone calls and sent emails and texts to friends. “Can you believe it?!” were the first four words in the vast majority of these.
Eighteen months down the road, you are generally pleased with this president, despite misgivings about daily process. You wonder about the modus operandi of the Trump White House, while reassuring yourself that this state of things appears to be how this president operates. Different strokes for different folks (or leader of the free world, in this case). In any event, you support the Reaganesque policy calls enough to let the less important things slide.
But the recent protests regarding immigration and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh present a new challenge. How to deal with the Left’s unhinged behavior? The reports are shameful: a restaurant refusing service to Sarah Huckabee Sanders; a member of Congress urging ugly public confrontation; entertainment celebrities going full-throttle potty mouth; feminists urging pro-choice women to withhold sex from their boyfriends and husbands in protest of Roe v. Wade’s hanging in the balance.
You digest the daily shenanigans and get angry. How to strike back at the lefties and their invective?
The problem is that folks like us do not respond in kind. Right-leaning folks simply do not do boycotts. Young Republicans do not invade their university president’s office. And the thought of shouting down an opposing opinion is anathema to true conservatives. Still, you want to engage. The future of our culture — and country — is at stake.
One option is to replicate the Left’s playbook. I’m not advocating stopping traffic in midtown Manhattan or protesting the next left-winger appearing at Liberty University. But what about that old favorite, the boycott? Why not apply it to Hollywood? Just say “no” to flicks with Robert De Niro, Rob Reiner, Leonardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep, et al.
The thought of shouting down an opposing opinion is anathema to true conservatives. Still, you want to engage.
The plan sounds good, but the downside immediately comes to mind: One’s entertainment viewing options quickly boil down to Clint Eastwood, Gary Sinise, Jon Voight and Bruce Willis. Love those guys, but how many times can one person watch “Dirty Harry”?
Okay, what about television? We know the “idiot box” is filled with not-so-subtle lefties plying their progressive views. This means no more Jimmy Kimmel, Samantha Bee, Seth Meyers and Jimmy Fallon. That’s easy; you don’t watch them, anyway.
What about ESPN? That will be difficult, especially with young athletes in the house. How about the NFL?
Your viewing is already reduced due to last year’s anthem protests. But it’s hard to go cold turkey in late fall.
The NBA? Major figures (LeBron, Curry, Popovich) are famously on the anti-Trump bandwagon. But those late spring playoff games are pretty exciting …
Suffice it to say that the list of potential boycotts from the worlds of sports and entertainment would be lengthy. Most right-wingers would quickly add The New York Times, The Washington Post, NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, public broadcasting, Facebook, Google, Starbucks, Broadway, the music industry, and academia to the list.
Sooner rather than later, your life could be limited to Fox, The Wall Street Journal, Field & Stream, Chick-fil-A, and Franklin Graham gatherings. Some of you may already be in this place, and I do not begrudge you your opinion. But for the rest of us, there has to be another way to engage the resistance.
My suggestion: Reject the boycott option (subject to the usual exception of Jane Fonda movies). Rather, double down on the people, institutions, and causes that reflect your values. You will feel better putting your money where your mouth (and heart) is. And it never hurts to eat more chicken sandwiches.
Former Gov. Robert Ehrlich was Maryland’s chief executive from 2003 to 2007. He previously served four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives from Maryland’s second congressional district, and was initially elected in the Republican sweep of 1994. He is now senior counsel for government advocacy and public policy for the King and Spalding law firm in Washington, D.C. His latest book is “Bet You Didn’t See That One Coming: Obama, Trump and the End of Washington’s Regular Order.”
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