Conservative media are having a field day reporting on the daily, targeted, and very public confrontations perpetrated by the progressive Left. Seems a right-winger can’t buy a hamburger and soda these days without some angst-ridden protester wrecking the occasion.
Things have gotten so out of hand that none other than New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is now calling for some restraint — recognition that social bullying may not be the correct foundation for a Democratic comeback in three weeks. Alas, de Blasio’s call for a modicum of civility is far more the exception than the rule these days.
Of course, such protests began the very moment Donald Trump was declared president-elect. Progressives immediately took to the streets in order to register their disgust at losing a third Obama term, let alone the chance to elect our first female president.
Underlying it all was profound resentment at what flyover America had dared pull off, a result of “misinformation” possessed by “low information voters” (translation: stupid), according to left-wing pundits and politicians.
“The contrast is clear. When the Right loses, we tend to cry in our beer, retreat to our conservative think tanks — watch more Fox News — and get to work on winning the next election.
The central villain was (is) Trump. And why not? The political novice encompasses all that progressives truly resent: He is a wealthy businessman hellbent on rebooting the military, protecting the border, cutting taxes and regulation. And he is decidedly anti-PC to boot.
Worse, this president would refocus his office on American interests. Maintaining high poll numbers in other countries was never going to be part of Trump’s DNA.
So a domestic opposition quickly morphed into a resistance: a radically different movement intent on immediate reflexive, utter and complete opposition to everything proffered by the new Republican administration. It is this widely held attitude that should concern all who worry about our deepening cultural divide.
A few reminders:
We have seen this movie before. The modern Left acts out whenever threatened — whenever their access to governmental power is at risk. Think Bush/Gore, Bork/Thomas, and any number of “Million Man/Woman” marches on behalf of progressive causes.
I would add the now largely forgotten but instructive progressive takeover of Minnesota Democrat Sen. Paul Wellstone’s wake — the one wherein Republicans were called out and demonized during a memorial service. The emotional opposition to Judge Kavanaugh applies here, too, because a long-term originalist Supreme Court majority is simply too much for progressives to countenance.
Compare my eight-year despair over the Obama presidency wherein I (and many millions of other Americans) would mutter to like-minded deplorables about the latest progressive assault on our values — but never once thought to riot, knit funny hats, or shout down a leftist speaker at a college campus.
The contrast is clear. When the Right loses, we tend to cry in our beer, retreat to our conservative think tanks — watch more Fox News — and get to work on winning the next election.
The new Left looks to act out — now mulling nullification (recall December 2016 and more recent collateral attacks on the Electoral College) and even more recent calls for “court packing” in their never-ending attempt to retain power.
The other half of the equation is more dangerous because it concerns a virulent dogmatism more than legitimate disagreement over issues. It’s called “elitism,” a sense of intellectual superiority that compels wholesale rejection of opposing viewpoints.
Webster defines ‘elitism’ as leadership or rule by an elite; the selectivity of the elite especially; SNOBBERY elitism in choosing new members; consciousness of being or belonging to an elite.
In the real world, we know it when we see it. Flyover America saw it front and center in President Barack Obama’s infamous (intended to be off-the-record) condemnation of the great unwashed between the coasts:
“They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”
“Webster defines ‘elitism’ as leadership or rule by an elite; the selectivity of the elite especially; SNOBBERY elitism in choosing new members; consciousness of being or belonging to an elite.”
Here, “professor” Obama covers all of the hot-button issues in one easy indictment: guns, religion, immigration, trade. Such a concise condemnation was no doubt enthusiastically received in faculty lounges and newspaper editorial boards throughout the land. The deplorables likewise received the message. Their distrust of the Washington elites only grew stronger.
Diagnosis, of course, leads to treatment. In this case, the hoped-for removal of Trump from office. Impeachment? Yep. Invoke the 25th Amendment? Why not! But leave it to our old friend, California Gov. Jerry Brown to capsulize the charge: “Something’s got to happen to this guy.”
The none-too-subtle point is impossible to miss: POTUS needs to go. He challenges our assumptions — he disrupts our values and conventions — he feeds the worst inclinations of those who are too simple minded to understand what is best for them. He gets in our way.
Brown and his progressive sycophants simply know better — just ask ‘em. Elitism, indeed.
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 2nd Congressional District. He is the author of “Bet You Didn’t See That One Coming: Obama, Trump and the End of Washington’s Regular Order.”