The 2016 presidential election was only partially about the personality zeitgeists surrounding Mr. Trump and Ms. Clinton. The election was, at its heart, about returning American government to its more traditional approach to governance. Donald Trump’s victory signals a giant step backward for progressivism’s long jack-booted march over America’s constitutional republic. Most of the more radical elements of the authoritarian administrative state seem to have been rejected by the American voter. Mr. Obama, while cynically and destructively going back on his campaign promise to bring Americans together and build a post racial society, did indeed keep his promise to try to radically transform America’s government and culture. The radical transformations that Barack Obama and his administration sought to force upon the country through executive orders, agency rule-making, and condescending rhetoric were, in the end, not acceptable to the majority of American people.
The election seems to have also repudiated Barack Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s effort to radically divide the nation along racial lines and build tension between whites and blacks. Slicing and dicing the country into warring factions then leveraging those divisions for political advantage has been a successful political strategy for post 60’s Democrats for nearly fifty years. The end result has been to weaken the nation, negate racial advances, and pit American against American. Then a funny thing happened on the way to the polls in 2016.
The stoking of racial animosity turned out to be far less politically effective than in the past. This is probably because the reality that gave the slice-and-dice strategy its substance and credibility no longer exists. The Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, thirty-years of Affirmative Action and the heart-felt efforts of the vast majority of Americans, both right and left, both black and white, have gone a long way toward healing the nation’s race wound. The new 21st century Democratic Party and the American Left seek, it seems to me, to pull the scab off the healing wound and return our society to a state of racial tension and distrust. Democrats long ago decided that the reality that black and whites have come together in common acceptance and respect cannot be allowed to stand. That would mean that the Democratic Party would have to compete on a policy level and policy-based political competition would mean almost certain and total defeat for the Party. So, their divisiveness, race baiting and anger stoking continues unabated.
Free though we are now to speak admiringly about our country and its heritage, as unifying as our new President may try to be, the divisive hit-machine of the far Left continues to disrupt our civic peace. Our national institutions, from government to the academy to the media are still densely populated with angry postmodern progressives intent on upending the institutions embedded in traditional constitutional America. Democrats and the Left describe the Constitution not as fundamental law but as mere aspirational suggestions. Suggestions that are not binding on those who govern us. In this, they are the quintessential postmodern anti-Americans.
The Left’s street operatives and community organizers are in full bat-swinging mode. One need merely tune into the news (except of course ABC, NBC, CNN or CBS) to see the far Left and the radical factions of the Democratic Party going after our civil society bat-blow by bat-blow. This is evidence that leads rational people to conclude that the American Left and many in the Democratic Party intend to practice insurrection and violence, not democracy. Simply take a look at the streets today and listen to the character-assassinating rhetoric of the Left for the evidence. This angry refusal to respect democracy and accept the results of the election is led and inflamed by mainstream Leftist institutions, not just by a few street thugs.
One example of Left’s continuing institutional endorsement of civil violence is the reaction of the mainstream academy across the country. Several university administrators have declared an all-campus red-alert emergency as a result of the American people having elected Donald Trump President. One Yale economics professor made final exams optional given the severe emotional distress students are supposedly suffering as a result of the decision by the American voters. The University of Michigan has offered Play Dough and coloring books to distract infantile students from the results of the election. The President of Claremont Graduate University has, in an open email to all students, declared that the “results of the election” has created a level of dysfunctional emotion on campus so severe that special therapeutic intervention is being offered to character-weakened students who apparently can’t respond responsibly to the election results. The CGU Monsour Counseling & Psychological Centre has this week offered special on-the-spot counseling to students. Why? The Centre said in a recent email to all students they were offering the special counseling “because of the outcome of the election.” One might note that the Monsour Centre did not announce any special on-the-spot counseling services to the students who were for months taunted and ridiculed for supporting Mr. Trump. Monsour services seem to be for Hillary supporters but distinctly not for Donald supporters. Monsour’s compassionate therapeutic outreach, while probably well-intended in a narrow-minded sort of way, appears to be politically selective. All in all, this reaction by the academy seems to me to be a spectacle of clowns.
One might ask if citing the results and outcome of the election as setting-off a campus-wide emotional crisis and portraying a Republican victory as a tragedy equal to the end of humanity isn’t tantamount to the academy using university resources to publicly support one political party over the other. The answer is, of course it is. Large segments of the academy’s leadership have unfortunately devolved, in my view at least, into little more than a postmodern Leftist cult incapable of rationally integrating the views of the outside world into their cloistered lives. They for the most part simply emote, cherry pick anecdotes, and name-call. Most (though not all) academy leaders and the universities they inhabit seem, at least to me, to be a mere subsidiary of of the Democratic Party. Ample evidence supports the conclusion that true education, civil discourse, and open discussion were long ago abandoned by all but a hand-full of professors. These few brave teachers who educate through objective civil discussion rather than enforce Leftist propaganda are ironically often liberal democrats. They are true heroes and heroines regardless of political persuasion. They are the academy’s hope and our youth’s hope for the future.
However for now, would-be professors who embrace constitutionalism, traditional Madisonian republicanism, or allegiance to country are virtually disqualified from acceptance by the now fully politicized professorial class. Conservative Republicans account for less than 8% of all college professors. Therefore, the main thrust of the 21st century academy is (with notable and important exceptions) proselytizing for a far Left postmodern society and condoning the current bat-swinging street violence.
The academy’s comrades and kindred spirits in the media also stoke the fires of unrest and street violence. The New York Times and Washington Post have devolved into political versions of the National Enquirer. One expects to soon see a NYT headline screaming, “Trump Proven To Be Alien from Mars”. This taking to the street to intimidate, destroy, and create spectacle is the quintessential Saul Alinsky tactic of in-your-face insurrection and most of the media endorses it and loves to see it. The new American Left and the extreme factions of the Democratic Party now use paid professional street organizers as a standard political process. Examples can be found in the paid agitators that were present at Trump rallies during the campaign. The message from the Left seems to be that if they can’t rule through participation in representative democracy then they will destroy the winner and take over through street intimidation, violence, and the politics of fear.
Any commentary indicting the Left and certain factions of the Democratic Party for intimidation, violence, and insurrection is incomplete without mention of the more fanatical precincts of the right. There are tiny isolated encampments of radical actors on the right. A few are occasionally caught in action in the street or meeting in an abandoned warehouse somewhere. Trump’s intermittent crude comments, occasional sophomoric rhetoric, and his adolescent name-calling during the campaign have exposed him and his supporters to a certain level of legitimate criticism. Some portion of the Party’s infantile character assassination hurled at Mr. Trump are in-kind responses. However, in terms of numbers, materiality, and statistical thresholds, the more obscene members of the right are, I believe, quite small and insignificant when placed next to the anti-Trumpites who are currently breaking windows and starting fires in the street. Almost the entirety of the Democratic Party and the Progressive Left seem ready to set the country and Trump supporters aflame. This is the immediate danger facing our more peaceful law-abiding citizens.
The overarching dilemma facing the country now is how, if at all, will we unify the country. How do we tamp down our emotions and find common ground? Dutifully relinquishing power is painful. But it is required in a democracy. Unrestrained emoting is far more thrilling than self-control, self-containment, and self-discipline. But unrestrained emoting is also dangerous and debilitating, especially on a national scale.