The morning after the Clinton Debacle appeared among us, I was walking somewhere in our little town. The sun was shining, and everything was bright and calm. Our little town is divided, but as the primaries here in Idaho showed, it was more of a Sanders/Cruz divide than it was a Clinton/Trump divide. In the run-up to the election, our town had scarcely any Clinton yard signs and the same for Trump signs. Bleh about sums it up.
Nevertheless the general election had our attention, as it had the attention of everyone else. So as I was walking the morning after, I went past a shopkeeper who was visiting with someone on the sidewalk outside, and she was worrying out loud about the size of her plate glass windows because of—perhaps you anticipated this—Kristallnacht.
Now it is not irrational to be concerned about possible unrest and rioting after an election, and it is not irrational to be concerned about that kind of thing after this election. What is irrational is to expect it from small town Republicans. There were riots in fact, there were smashed windows, there were cars set on fire, but they were all in progressive monkey houses like California.
And herein lies one of the central lessons of the election, for those willing to read it. Political correctness has been a device for the empowerment of crybullies, a gas-lighting trick that enables persecutors to wear the camo-gear of anointed victims. Given the fact that all public dissent on certain issues is routinely and savagely shut down, and this is done by tarring the dissenter as “racist, sexist, homophobic, etc.” it was not surprising that progressives, having created by means of overreach their very own cultural echo chamber, were then persuaded by it. They clubbed everyone into silence and then pretended to themselves that such silence must indicate agreement.
Now I don’t want to ignore the other issues at play in this election—of course there were other issues, big ones. There was the disaster on stilts that is Obamacare. There was an out-of-control immigration system. There were the EPA enviro-crats using climate lies in order to club baby coal miners. But a player in its own right, as well as a player in all these other issues, was political correctness.
Think of it this way. If you don’t want to shut down the coal mines, you are not someone who is opposed to closing the mines, you are a climate-denier. What is a denier? Why, that rhymes with Holocaust denier. If you point out, however mildly, that Obamacare can’t work Because Math, you hate the uninsured, and you clearly hate the black man who has proposed helping the uninsured. It is plain racism to think that goods and services cannot be delivered at a cost lower than the cost of producing those goods and services. And so on.
When everything is racist, I hope you can now see how nothing is. If racial micro-aggressions are to be treated as the equivalent of overt racism, I trust that you can see how overt racism has just been made the equivalent of acting like everyday folks. If everything is sexist, then nothing is. If simply being male is the equivalent of being a rapist, then I would encourage you to contemplate how you have just made rapists into ordinary, decent people. If you skew the scales of justice, which is precisely what political correctness has done, at some point you will break the scales. We are well past that point now. And when you are the one who busted the scales, don’t come complaining when you have to weigh something important.
During the election, neither Thabiti nor I supported the Donald. After the election, he tweeted, most honorably, “You did not have my vote support, but you now have my prayer support.” He also said, wonderfully, “I commit, with God’s help, to righteously support any godly and oppose any ungodly thing Mr. Trump attempts, w/o disparaging the office.” This is right where I am, and so a thousand amens.
But there is a difference between Thabiti and me on this, a difference born of disparate experiences. (In other words, this is not a criticism.) He said this to the white evangelicals who voted for Trump (and there were a lot of them who did so). “I don’t understand you.” I share Thabiti’s detestation of things Donald Trump has said and done, and the campaign showed me that he was willing to fight pretty dirty in that saloon brawl we call primary politics. That reminds me. One good thing about this election is that Ted Cruz’s father will finally be brought to justice for that JFK thing.
Unlike Thabiti, I think I do understand what was motivating white evangelicals. They are tired of being harangued by self-appointed superiors. Progressivism is like that woman in C.S. Lewis’s jab—“She’s the sort of woman who lives for others—you can tell the others by their hunted expression.” Keep in mind that heartland evangelicals have jobs, and those jobs include things like coal mining, farming, logging, and so on—vocations that their fathers once thought honorable. Usher in the global managerial elites who want to impose their version of free trade, and who follow that devastation up by mocking and abusing the heartland folks who are now a lot poorer than they were a couple decades ago—making fun of their music, religion, guns, politics, loyalties, heritage, and so on. What could go wrong? The shot was that progressives transformed America into a seething cauldron of identity politics, and the chaser was taunting white middle America into behaving like an identity group. Yes, you, you out-of-work coal miner. We want you to go back to your two-bedroom clapboard house and contemplate something edifying, like your white privilege.
And if you were offended by that illustration, or by the picture of the three coal miners above, I want to be the first to congratulate you on your successful campaign for Donald J. Trump.
Political correctness has been a toxin in our political discourse, and this has affected everything because discourse is how we talk about anything we need to talk about. Meanwhile the progressive calls for a “national conversation about ________” and you say “okay,” and so then he says “shut up.”
Not only is all this the case, but the behavior of progressives in the aftermath of this particular electoral slap down reminds me of Tallyrand’s comment about the Bourbons. “They had learned nothing and forgotten nothing.”
In the wreckage of progressive hopes for this election, the law school at the University of Michigan scheduled a therapeutic session where traumatized students could come and work out their post-election anxieties by working with Play-Doh. “And what are you working on, cupcake?” “I am not sure yet, but I am thinking of calling it ‘Trump’s second term.’”