Justice Ginsburg’s unfortunately timed death serves as another depressing reminder how despicably polarized our body politic has become. In a period of just four hours it became obvious that few, if any, are even concerned with the Justice’s legacy anymore. Instead, the focus was immediately shifted to the seat she left vacant on the Supreme Court, with Senate leaders Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer each digging in their heels over the question whether the nomination and confirmation of her replacement should take place before or after the election.
So quickly was the temperature turned up that religious ‘scholar’ and TV honcho Reza Aslan tweeted on the very same night the news broke that “If they even TRY to replace RBG we burn the entire fucking thing down.” (Mr. Aslan’s conversion from Evangelical Christianity to Islam seems to have been an appropriate move.) And he was far from the only one. Just imagine the outrage on CNN if the parties had been reversed here.
That respected minds should be spewing this kind of rhetoric, while the country has yet to turn the corner on months-long street riots at the hands of Antifa and BLM, would have been unimaginable just a decade ago. Decent people are beginning to wonder whether it’s even possible any longer for our society to steer clear of the abyss.
It is hardly a revolutionary observation that behavior of any nature tends to persist when it is rewarded, with power, monetary gains, or even mere recognition. This is how terrorism works: It sows fear in the hearts of the people targeted while at the same time planting doubt in their minds: Surely there must be a legitimate grievance on the part of the perpetrators if they’re desperate enough to kill innocent people and even themselves to further their cause?
Perhaps the individual terrorist may believe his actions to be morally legitimate, having been indoctrinated by others to the point of self-detonation. But from a strategic viewpoint, terrorism is pure manipulation warfare in order to achieve a political goal. For al-Qaeda that was the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the Arabian Peninsula and the overthrow of the ‘apostate’ regimes supported by the United States–the desired end result being an Islamic caliphate throughout the Middle East.
Something similar is at work in the U.S. today. Steeped in an anti-human narrative of victimhood and grievance which puts every social issue in the worst possible light, the mob perceives that those in positions of power are warming up to their cause as the unrest spreads. The masses may be hostile, but the Democratic Party is pandering to the rioters as the media are downplaying the extent of the destruction.
In the meanwhile, our culture has taken a decided shift to the left in recent years. Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility made it to the top of the bestseller lists after the death of George Floyd, and the highly flawed 1619 Project is now taught across the nation in high schools which have swallowed its findings like the Gospel. All of a sudden, all the right people are talking about racism.
It’s not surprising that the BLM and Antifa types would observe all this and conclude that their strategy is working. To be sure, like any movement these groups are permeated with a heavy dose of useful idiots, but their organizers are hardly flying by the seat of their pants.
Does this sound preposterous to you? Then consider what BLM leader Hawk Newsome said in his now infamous interview with Fox News in late June: “The moment people start destroying property, now cops can be fired automatically. What is this country rewarding? What behavior is it listening to? Obviously not marching.” This was only moments after he threatened to “burn down this system and replace it” if his organization wouldn’t get its way.
Of course, the continuing (threat of) violence is the logical next step from the Democratic and media establishment’s unwillingness to acknowledge the very legitimacy of the Donald Trump presidency. For four years they pushed the narrative that Trump stole the election with the aid of Russia, and then they tried to impeach him over his phone call with the Ukrainian president. Neither allegation stuck. Nor did they resonate with the public. Ultimately it took the coronavirus hitting our country midships to put the president in hot water.
But even amidst a tumbling economy the Democrats haven’t abandoned their distasteful tactics, desperate as they are to pull a lethargic Joe Biden over the finish line ahead of Trump. Nancy Pelosi publicly cautioned Biden against debating Trump, stating “I wouldn’t legitimize a conversation with him,” and Hillary Clinton advised Biden not to concede the election “under any circumstances.”
All the while, Democrats across the country are all but ensuring election night chaos by pushing a fraud-prone mail-in ballot initiative, with the three key battleground states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan already having extended their mail-in deadline. This means it could take weeks for the election result to become final, and legal challenges from both sides would mount while we were waiting.
And now AOC and Pelosi are hinting that they might be firing up another impeachment circus to stop the Republicans from exercising their Constitutional authority to first nominate and then confirm RBG’s replacement.
A perfect storm is brewing, and the chaos will be complete if all its ingredients — uncertainty about the outcome of the election, legal challenges to its results, impeachment, rage over the Supreme Court vacancy, more violence on the street — do materialize. Make no mistake: This has the potential to torpedo our body politic altogether.
A peculiar fantasy has been rampant on the Left in which the Trump administration is stealthily plotting to overthrow the Constitution. (Versions of it can be found all over Medium.) But one takes note of all of the above and wonders how it is possible for presumably intelligent people to reach this level of hysteria over so few facts and so much innuendo when it comes to Trump, while altogether failing to acknowledge the culpability of the radicals within their own ranks. For it cannot be emphasized enough that it’s the social justice grievance politics on the Left which have brought us to this point. And it is the social justice grievance politics on the Left which will push us into the abyss if it indeed comes that far.
There is only one way for decent folks to remove the incentive for these Woke extremists and their enablers to continue their behavior, and that is to not reward it.
A major step in this direction would be to overwhelmingly re-elect President Trump in November. It would be a knock-out blow to the left-wing radicals swallowing up the Democratic Party. It would signal to the party that the time has come to disavow these people if it wishes to stay relevant in the long run, and that it cannot afford another four years of utter denial about the election.
In contrast, a Biden victory would embolden the radical Left and signal to them that their violence and threats pay off. It would give them carte blanche to target for ‘cancellation’ ever more people with whom they disagree, and the bandwidth of speech tolerated by the Woke would grow ever narrower. It truly is a frightening prospect.
Of course, all bets are off in 2020, the year of COVID. It’s very conceivable that Biden, aided by an insufferably sycophantic media, will pull off a win against a president battered over his mediocre response to the coronavirus. But it wouldn’t stall our slide into ochlocracy. Quite the opposite in fact.