child-screaming-outdoors

Hey America, Can We Talk About Our Feelings?

February 3, 2017

by Jon Schweppe


As you may know, I write about Facebook often.

Yes, social media is great for connecting with friends, but it tends to bring out the worst in people when it comes to politics, religion, or any controversial issue. That has certainly been true the last several weeks as the Left has gone absolutely bonkers in their 24/7 opposition to President Trump, and the Right has gone absolutely bonkers in their 24/7 opposition to the Left’s 24/7 opposition to President Trump.

But, speaking as a conservative, our defensive posture is totally understandable. In the minds of too many progressives, support for Donald Trump is akin to supporting Adolf Hitler. If you express any support for the man, you are regarded as the moral equivalent of a Nazi — there is simply nothing redeemable about you. Even those who outwardly criticize Trump, should they choose to praise him for an impressive Supreme Court nominee or a strong executive order, are castigated for aligning themselves with “America’s Führer”.

All of this demonizing and otherizing is, quite simply, exhausting. It’s not healthy for political discourse. It’s not based in any sort of objective reality. But unfortunately, in a post-Trump America, this has become standard fare for the progressive Left when interacting with those who think differently from them.

And with each passing news cycle, the attacks get nastier and nastier. Consider these three mundane news events:

Mexico City Policy

On January 23rd, President Trump signed an executive order blocking funding to international organizations that directly fund or materially support abortion. This policy, known as the Mexico City policy, was initiated by President Reagan, rescinded by President Clinton, reinstated by President Bush, again rescinded by President Obama, and then reinstated once more by President Trump — i.e. it serves as a partisan football that gets passed back and forth between Republican and Democratic administrations. This order should have surprised no one.

Progressives responded as if this order was unprecedented and, Lena Dunham forbid, if you somehow thought the idea of ending U.S. taxpayer funding for abortion overseas was a good thing, you hate women and are guilty of misogyny and OMG you support Hitler!!!

Attorney General Sally Yates

On Monday, acting Attorney General Sally Yates — who was only in the position because Senate Democrats are dragging their feet on the confirmation of Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions — announced that she would not defend President Trump’s travel ban on immigrants coming from seven foreign nations where vetting procedures were not up to par. This amounts to a direct dereliction of duty and a defiance of the President, a man who Yates serves at the pleasure of. Trump responded swiftly by firing Yates from her post.

Progressives were outraged and rushed to defend Yates, calling her a hero to the resistance movement, defending her right to conscience. These same progressives destroyed Kim Davis for doing the same exact thing. Yet the firing of Yates, who, again, served at the pleasure of the President and disobeyed a direct order, proved, apparently, that Trump is a fascist Nazi who must be stopped!!!

Progressives responded as if this order was unprecedented and, Lena Dunham forbid, if you somehow thought the idea of ending U.S. taxpayer funding for abortion overseas was a good thing, you hate women and are guilty of misogyny and OMG you support Hitler!!!

Judge Neil Gorsuch

On Tuesday night, President Trump announced that Judge Neil Gorsuch would be his nominee to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. Gorsuch has been universally praised by respected voices throughout the legal field, including by some on the Left.

Gorsuch was confirmed to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2006 by a unanimous voice vote in the Senate, which included a yes vote from now-Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

But the progressive outrage machine cannot be satisfied in the era of Trump. Activists are predictably freaking out. He wants to overturn women’s rights! He hates minorities and, um, probably gay people, too! He’s NOT MERRICK GARLAND!!!

I keep seeing progressives repeating the refrain: “This. Is. Not. Normal.” Actually, this is very normal. It’s so normal it’s almost boring. Maybe I’m getting tired of winning.

But this is what happens when there is a peaceful transfer of power in the United States. One side wins, and tends to get some of what it wants. The other side loses and fights to maintain its ground, which, by the way, the Left is already doing successfully; exhibit A.) Trump announced on Monday that he would be keeping President Obama’s radical LGBTQ executive order, and exhibit B.) A full Obamacare repeal is looking more and more unlikely.

In some ways, this is an institutional problem. Much of the Left’s hysteria has been amplified by #FakeNews promulgated by reporters unwilling to check their own confirmation biases. Journalism in 2017 has become “tweet first, ask questions later,” and this leads to factually inaccurate #FakeNews stories that drive the Trump is HITLER!!! nonsense, like Time reporting that Trump removed the Martin Luther King, Jr. bust from the Oval Office, which was proven false, but only after the initial tweet received tens of thousands of retweets, including hundreds from political reporters! And this is just one example of many #FakeNews stories that the Left has inadvertently embraced.

Folks, we need to calm down. The problem with panicking over every move Donald Trump makes is the classic Boy Who Cried Wolf phenomenon. I simply don’t believe you, and neither does anybody else. You post that Steven Mnuchin foreclosed on a 90 year old lady over a late payment of 27 cents, and after that story goes viral, it later turns out to be false. So why would I believe your next anti-Trump post?

There are going to be times over the next four years when President Trump screws up and does something worth criticizing. That time may have already happened with the immigration order. But because of your 24/7 hysteria, no one is listening to you outside your bubble. No one believes your criticism is coming from a place of objectivity. It doesn’t help you. It doesn’t help your political cause. And it’s frankly just not worth the effort.

And at a certain point, doesn’t this just get exhausting for all of us?

I’m just as bad. I post about politics way too much on social media. I attack the Left way too often because they deserve it for being baby-killing, Christian-hating, gun-grabbing… ahem, sorry. See? It’s reflexive. Like many conservatives, and like many progressives, I’m in 24/7 “let’s fight” mode. So are we really going to waste all that energy fighting over procedure? Are we going to exhaust ourselves discussing the firing of a bureaucrat who refused to do her job or a minor executive order that won’t impact you in any way?

I’m asking for all of us — conservatives, progressives, and people who log on Facebook for cat pictures — please, can we limit the outrage to times that warrant it? Can we calm down so, when it’s time to actually debate issues that matter, we can discuss them as adults rather than frothing-at-the-mouth misanthropes?

I’m going to pull back a bit in February. I hope you do, too.

Jon Schweppe is the Communications Director for American Principles Project. Follow him on Twitter @JonSchweppe.

Photo credit: Mindaugas Danys via Flickr, CC BY 2.0


Jon Schweppe is the Communications Director for American Principles Project. Follow him on Twitter @JonSchweppe

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