The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


At last count, 36 Democrat Congress members have decided to boycott the inauguration of Donald Trump. Tens of thousands of women and an untold number of social justice warriors will be in Washington to express their displeasure. All of these people have the absolute right to peacefully protest in whatever manner they choose.

It is, however, quite ironic that this same cohort condemned Donald Trump before the election (you know, the election that Hillary Clinton was a lock to win) when he suggested that he might not accept the election result (if there were irregularities at polling places). Trump was "attacking the constitution," an "enemy of Democracy," a "sore loser," among the many epithets thrown at him at the time. The Democrats trained hamsters in the media spent hours discussing Trump's reticence to accept the results of his upcoming loss, parroting the aforementioned accusations. I guess those same accusations don't apply when you're a Democrat with social justice on your side.

Bobby Jindal, a conservative with who I disagree on a number of social issues, used the obvious "little league" metaphor to describe the reaction of Democrats to trump's victory:
Like so many parents, we want our kids to learn the value of hard work, striving, discipline, teamwork, and winning and losing graciously. I welcome the competition, and smiled inwardly when my kids kept score even when the adults tried to discourage them from doing so. My kids have shed tears in the face of hard defeats, and worn proudly their unwashed winning jerseys. Simple experiences, like learning not to blame the referees or make excuses, will serve our children well as they mature and enter the real world.

The growing sense of entitlement and victimization evident in our society makes me wonder if our political leaders ever learned these lessons. I am not simply condemning partisanship or suggesting we all holds hands and sing “Kumbaya.” While I would like to see less name-calling and more cooperation in the political arena, I also believe that substantive disagreements over consequential issues can and should arouse passionate debate. What worries me is that the Left seems determined not just to win, but to also delegitimize their opponents.
There's little question that some of Trump's problems are self-imposed—he is far too think-skinned, often coarse and overly simplistic, and certainly not presidential in the way most people have come to expect. He reacts to criticism when it might be best to let it pass, making a little story into a needlessly big one. He uses a communication medium (Twitter) that is not amenable to explication or subtlety, forcing people to overly interpret his tweets (usually to his disadvantage). He is different and not always in a good way.

But having said all of that, he deserves a chance to succeed, just like Barack Obama—an inexperienced back-bench politician with a collection of ideological associations that were questionable at best—was given in 2008. No Republican Congress member publicly boycotted Obama's inauguration although many had serious concerns about the man. No elected official at the federal level called his victory "illegitimate." There were no mass demonstrations on or immediately after inauguration day, even though millions of citizens were less than thrilled with Obama's world view.

Jindal comments further:
It is hard to find common ground, while recognizing real differences, if one is quick to condemn any who disagree as racists, sexists, or otherwise immoral. Those terms rightfully carry a powerful punch, but risk losing some of their impact if used promiscuously. I believe one of the reasons for the populist surge that powered Trump’s candidacy is the frustration many decent, middle class Americans feel as academic, political, and cultural elites sneer at their practices and experiences.

While conservatives have been busy running and building things in the market, liberals have done a good job at capturing the academic, entertainment, and media citadels that together define so much of our popular culture. (I am reminded of the students that once derided my classmates and me as “doers, not thinkers.” We regarded the epithet as a compliment.) University faculty, Hollywood stars, and reporters are so much more likely to be liberal, that it is noteworthy to find the conservative exceptions. However, supposedly conservative-leaning institutions, e.g. the military and the business world, do not exist entirely apart from the popular culture and are therefore not immune from these liberal influences.
And that may be at the crux of all of this. Conservatives cannot help but be exposed to liberal thought. Whether it's TV, the movies, most national publications (paper or digital), almost all celebrities who are given a national voice (think Meryl Streep). Progressives, on the other hand, can easily avoid being confronted with conservative thought or argument by simply avoiding the relatively few national media outlets that offer a conservative view. Maybe that's why many progressives have reacted so emotionally to the Trump win.

Even more interesting, Donald Trump is hardly a classic conservative. He's a coarse man, but a moderate politician. In that moderation, he just might be able to accomplish a few things that will benefit the country—improved health care, a more robust economy, far-better border control, less intrusive and job-killing regulation, and just possibly, a more competent and efficient government. He deserves a chance to try.

Many Democrats talk about a climate of "fear" that has pervaded the land now that Trump will be president. At first, I thought that talk was overwrought, but in thinking about it, it might just be accurate. After all of the demonization, all of the protest, all of the talk of illegitimacy, the real "fear" among Democrats is that Trump might just succeed at accomplishing a few things that make our lives a little better.