The year 2021 began much the way 2020 ended: with too many Americans staring into the dark chasm of nihilism as the nation’s politics yielded to a great political cleavage between left and right, liberal and conservative. The United States is on the very precipice of anarchy, perhaps even civil war, as respect, belief, and, yes, faith in the political efficacy of democracy is dwindling. The previous year has been a dire warning about what that anarchy looks like: riots, looting, violence, police forces appearing powerless to enforce law and order, and politicians afraid to demand it.
[T]he anarchic urge began with the election of Donald Trump and the left’s refusal to accept that decision.
America’s delicate political equilibrium did not begin to teeter with a 2020 Presidential Election that many Republicans feel was rife with fraud; nor did it commence with President Donald Trump’s refusal to accept the disputed results of that election. It did not even begin with the protests and violence that erupted after the death of George Floyd while in the custody of the Minneapolis police. The subsequent disruption of society merely confirmed that too many people believed problems could be solved on the streets and not in the legislatures and courts of the nation.
No, the anarchic urge began with the election of Donald Trump and the left’s refusal to accept that decision. While Democrats now talk about it being sedition to question the results of a presidential election, many of them could never embrace Trump as their president. Instead, in 2016, these same unity-minded Democrats insisted upon becoming part of something called “the resistance,” as though America was under the control of a foreign power.
This urge to undermine an elected president, and to initiate (or threaten to initiate) impeachment proceedings on the most pusillanimous evidence, created a lack of confidence in democracy itself that began to infect the very fabric of the nation. That deterioration continued to manifest itself in multiple arenas but was most salient in the destruction of historical monuments that began with the toppling of Confederate generals and devolved into the destruction of all historical figures, including George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. This destruction of property and history now continues, unabated, with the often legal removal of monuments that many fear will remind Americans of its complicated but triumphant past.
By enabling and often legitimizing the anarchy in the streets, Democrats began the erosion of governance in America. Because what the nation confronts today is far more dangerous and far more pervasive than the counterculture that threatened mainstream America from the late 1960s to the early 1970s. In today’s phenomenon, the Democrats have become part of that counterculture, and that has had devastating effects for the country.
The Democrats found themselves aligned with anti-democratic elements when they undermined democracy in 2016. It’s imperative that—contested election or not—Republicans don’t forget that.
ESCALATING VIOLENCE AND VANDALISM
There could be no more symbolic act of our current political malaise than the twin acts of vandalism that occurred late last week against the homes of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Pelosi had her San Francisco home defaced with graffiti that appeared to come from disaffected left-wing critics who seemingly think the aging progressive is not in sync with the radical political trends awash in her party. One message read, “Cancel Rent?” “We want everything!” There was also a reference to “UBI!” which was likely a demand for universal basic income. There was also reportedly fake blood and a pig’s head on the scene.
Perhaps most disturbing about the incidents is that they have almost come to be expected in the weekly news cycle…
Vandals had also spray-painted “2K” with a line through it, likely a reference to the recent coronavirus stimulus bill that failed to contain the $2000 payment to most Americans, but a measly $600 stipend that President Donald Trump criticized as inadequate. That criticism could have come from either liberals or conservatives, Democrats or Republicans.
McConnell’s Louisville, Kentucky home was also hit on Saturday, with graffiti that similarly referenced the stimulus package: “where’s my money,” “Mitch kills poor,” and other accompanying expletives. “I’ve spent my career fighting for the First Amendment and defending peaceful protest. I appreciate every Kentuckian who has engaged in the democratic process whether they agree with me or not. This is different. Vandalism and the politics of fear have no place in our society.” McConnell said in a statement. Perhaps most disturbing about these incidents is that they have come to be expected in the weekly news cycle—such as when vandals went on a destruction bender in Portland over the Thanksgiving long weekend.
But this rejection of order, this dismissal of authority, began four years ago when 52 members of Congress refused to attend Donald Trump’s inauguration because they deemed him an illegitimate president. Meanwhile, failed 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton rarely missed an opportunity to call Trump’s presidency “illegitimate,” and began doing so early in his presidency when she suggested—without so much as a grain of evidence—that Russia had somehow helped Trump to win the election.
When asked if she was bothered by Trump supporters chanting “Lock her up,” Clinton commented: “No, it doesn’t kill me, because I know he’s an illegitimate president,” Clinton said. “I believe he understands that the many varying tactics they used, from voter suppression and voter purging to hacking to the false stories … there were just a bunch of different reasons why the election turned out like it did.”
When they weren’t propagating outrageous lies about Russia collusion or voter suppression, a lot of Trump’s opposition centered upon his having won the election on the basis of the electoral college, something they then argued should be abolished, and not the popular vote. But that dissension merely demonstrated that President Trump’s critics quickly became America’s critics: in this kind of thinking, there was something terribly wrong with American democracy itself. It wasn’t just Trump who was illegitimate, it was the whole itself, the dissidents argued.
Once you profess that the system is inherently flawed and systemically corrupt, there is no need to recognize government or the rule of law, and nothing really that prevents you from taking governance to the streets and taking that law into your own hands. And that is precisely what happened.
WHEN THE LEADING DEMOCRATS FLIRT WITH ANARCHY, THEIR BASE CAN ONLY FOLLOW
After the charade of impeachment, where the Democrats unsuccessfully tried to fire a president over a phone call with a foreign leader, it was as if Democrats looked for any excuse, any reason, and any means to overthrow President Trump. A few months after their failed impeachment bid, the death of George Floyd provided that impetus.
Despite the anarchy threatening America, top Democrats—like Rep. Jerry Nadler—peddled outright lies…
Whether or not you believe Floyd died as a result of systemic racism in America’s police forces, there was never any excuse for the subsequent lawlessness and destruction that followed his death—let alone to have such actions be designated as “peaceful protest” or justified as appropriate means of making a political point. But Democrats routinely ignored or denied that far-left groups like Black Lives Matter and Antifa were using the political turmoil to extort radical political change in America. Entire cities became platforms for anarchism; Portland endured months of nightly rioting, which returned on New Year’s Eve. Chicago saw its murder rate spike by 50% from the previous year, with 774 people killed. New York City saw a 97% increase in shootings. All three cities were governed by Democratic and lockdown-happy mayors.
Speaking of lockdowns, ironically, all of this mayhem was occurring in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, a time when many Democratic-controlled cities had instituted severe lockdowns that were supposed to preclude the sort of mass social mingling that protests—peaceful or otherwise. It was clear that the lockdowns, at best, had a dual purpose of containing a virus and restricting individual freedom. At worst, they had little to do with clamping down on a contagious outbreak, and everything to do with keeping the people in line—why else would Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen ban the purchase of gardening supplies but make abortion an essential service during her state lockdown?
Despite the anarchy threatening America, top Democrats—like Rep. Jerry Nadler—continued to peddle outright lies, like insisting that Antifa was “a myth,” or that these protests were all peaceful, and that it was President Trump that was somehow the cause of all the division in the nation. The anarchists weren’t necessarily in control, but they certainly weren’t being opposed with the bipartisan force that is necessary for a democracy to be healthy, or even survive.
It’s interesting that the desecration and erasure of America’s history came first at the demand of street thugs, but is now occurring at the behest of its elected officials. It is perhaps most dangerous when governments, and not rioters, decide to abolish the past because the established order has then decided to commit political suicide. After beginning with statues of Confederates, vandals quickly moved to any American leader from the past who did not measure up to today’s standards of political correctness. Statues of Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant began to come down—all because they were supposedly white supremacists.
When the mob moved against a statue of Andrew Jackson’s in front of the White House, President Trump intervened and announced legal ramifications for the unlawful removal of federal memorials. That was a turning point—not for the removal of statues but for legal authorities to begin taking them down. Just days ago, a statue depicting Abraham Lincoln as the great emancipator was removed from Boston. The statue is identical to one that may be found in Washington, D.C., and was paid for by the donations of former slaves.
You can’t make up this kind of material.
What began with the destruction of statues quickly turned into the desecration of houses. Will they move next to direct attacks on people? Will it next become an acceptable form of public protest to physically threaten, intimidate, and perhaps harm political leaders that have aroused opposition against their views.
On the cusp of President-Elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, America is a powder keg of conflicting ideology and political resentment. Republican senators are now refusing to recognize the Electoral College’s certification of Biden as President, and Republicans believe they had a presidential election stolen from them. Biden is just as illegitimate to them as Trump was to Democrats. But no matter how unjust things look, Republicans cannot forget our core values.
It behooves us to remember that we did not get here overnight. Nor did we wake up to a disputed 2020 Presidential Election. We arrived here gradually, incrementally, and resolutely as Democrats first renounced the legitimacy of American democracy and the necessity of the rule of law. And as we approach an inauguration day that might well be blemished by violence and revolt, it is well to remember that Democrats sowed the wind but are now reaping the whirlwind.