What do we do now?
What a weird convergence of media reports. On the one hand, we are told to follow an unfolding Biden transition, no questions asked. And if you dare engage serious concerns about the legitimacy of what went down on Nov. 3 — especially if you refuse to recognize the former vice president as president-elect — well, you are a certified right-wing nutcase.
You are further admonished to shut up and deal with the demise of Donald J. Trump and the era of hate. “Love” won, dontcha know?
On the other hand were the discoveries concerning software “glitches,” newly “found” votes, mismatched signature lines and a big-time lack of transparency in big-city vote counting. Each lawsuit brought a media rejoinder that such attempts to usurp democracy are immoral and nothing more than a waste of time.
Here, then, are four serious obstacles as we seek to achieve a positive outlook on life at the very beginning of a likely Biden era.
Right-wingers regularly suggest rereadings of “1984” and “Animal Farm” — and for good reason.
It was not so long ago that censorship of political opinion was condemned by both political parties, especially the left.
But that was the ’60s, when the ACLU had credibility and dissidents of different stripes employed First Amendment freedoms to build historic movements: civil rights, the women’s movement, the anti-war movement. It would have been unfathomable for that era’s rebel-lefties to indulge censorship in any way, shape or form.
Fast forward to today, and a new progressive left is all in for heavy-handed censorship and thought control.
On campus? Of course — how else to control “hate speech” and all those riotous College Republicans?
On social media platforms? You betcha – how else to contain those millions of white supremacists who watch Tucker Carlson nightly while planting voter fraud conspiracy theories on the internet.
In public? Sure — just confront any suspected Trump supporter in the public square and then intimidate him or her.
In the courtroom? Why not — seems NeverTrumpers have taken to “outing” attorneys who dare represent the Trump campaign in court. No freedom of association for you, Sidney Powell!
Beware the Reset
Former Obama aide and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel is credited with the original quote, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste,” but the latest inclination is more akin to “Let’s use coronavirus to achieve a cultural reset.”
Just about every Democratic leader who counts has uttered the “R” word in recent months. You should accordingly expect the Biden administration will attempt to institute a steady diet of transformative policies commencing in approximately eight weeks.
Of course, there is no one definition for the promised cultural changes. But they are likely to include draconian mask mandates and/or a national lockdown.
The Davos crowd and other really smart people will also press their latest pet initiative: a turn away from market capitalism toward allegedly more equitable economic systems. Here, a reset to Obama-style multilateralism (rejoining the Paris climate accords, the Iranian nuclear deal and UNESCO) is clearly in the cards.
Engagement on mega trade deals and rapprochement with Beijing are other important priorities. Indeed, there is no more tangible repudiation of Trump-style nationalism than the latter. Both party establishments (and especially the NBA) will breathe a sigh of relief — and who really cares about a couple million Uighurs or those problematic dissidents in Hong Kong?
An Educational Nightmare
Educational freedom was on the November ballot — and it lost. Per Mr. Biden’s promise, national teachers unions will now be firmly in control of public education. And the damage doesn’t stop there. Wholesale forgiveness of student debt is now on the agenda. As is wholesale revisionism in K-12 curricula.
The losers (in chronological order): poor, mostly minority kids in successful charter schools; hardworking students who scraped and clawed their way to paying off their school debt; and truth in American history (you can forget about “The 1776 Project” replacing “The 1619 Project.”)
I have long envisioned parental choice as the logical next chapter in the civil rights movement.
After all, African-American women started the charter school experiment in Wisconsin in the 1980s. But I now have my doubts. School choice might poll well in minority communities, but relatively few minority legislators are willing to adopt the cause. Just too much political payback involved.
I saw it play out in Maryland fifteen years ago. Things just don’t change much for kids stuck in poor-performing schools. The bottom line: Structural dysfunction is a multi-generational fact of life for far too many disadvantaged kids.
It’s the shiny new word on the left — and it has 73 million targets.
You know the surrounding buzz phrases: “He’s not us;” “We can do so much better;” and, of course, “Shame on you [for supporting Trump].”
As a matter of rhetoric, it is effective: The target is placed on defense straightaway. Recall the old rule: “When you’re explaining, you’re losing.”
The downside is its one-sidedness. The shamed Trump supporter is somehow not supposed to examine the alternative.
In this case, a rather weak, sometimes confused 78-year-old coming to grips with the ascendant progressives in his coalition and party. Equally irrelevant are the tangible policy successes of the Trump administration — from Middle East peace to border security to a warp-speed-produced COVID vaccine. Alas, even major policy breakthroughs don’t count when shaming is on the agenda.
There you have it. Four challenges for the right side of the aisle. Are you up for ‘em?
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