June 24, 2015
National Review: by KEVIN D. WILLIAMSON
A progressive panic attack begins as the Obama era wanes. If it seems to you that the Left has, collectively, lost its damned mind as the curtain rises on the last act of the Obama administration, you are not imagining things. Barack Obama has been extraordinarily successful in his desire to — what was that phrase? — fundamentally transform the country, but the metamorphosis is nonetheless a good deal less than his congregation wanted and expected. We may have gone from being up to our knees in welfare-statism to being up to our hips in it, and from having a bushel of banana-republic corruption and incompetence to having a bushel and a peck of it, but the United States of America remains, to the Left’s dismay, plainly recognizable as herself beneath the muck. Ergo, madness and rage.
We have seen an extraordinary outburst of genuine extremism — and genuine authoritarianism — in the past several months, and it will no doubt grow more intense as we approach the constitutional dethroning of the mock messiah to whom our progressive friends literally sang hymns of praise and swore oaths of allegiance. (“I pledge to be a servant to our president” — recall all that sieg heil creepiness.) There is an unmistakable stink of desperation about this, as though the Left intuits what the Right dares not hope: that the coming few months may in fact see progressivism’s cultural high-water mark for this generation.
If there is desperation, it probably is because the Left is starting to suspect that the permanent Democratic majority it keeps promising itself may yet fail to materialize. The Democrats won two resounding White House victories but can hardly win a majority in a state legislature (seven out of ten today are Republican-controlled) or a governorship (the Democrats are down to 18) to save their lives, while Republicans are holding their strongest position in Congress since the days of Herbert Hoover. The Democrats have calculated that their best bet in 2016 is Hillary Rodham Clinton, that tragic bag of appetites who couldn’t close the deal in the primary last time around. “Vote for me, I’m a lady” isn’t what they thought it was: Wendy Davis, running for governor of Texas, made all the proper ceremonial incantations and appeared in heroic postures on all the right magazine covers, but finished in the 30s on Election Day. With young people trending pro-life, that old black magic ain’t what it used to be.
For the Left, it feels like time is running out. So it isn’t sufficient that same-sex marriages be legalized; bakers and florists must be locked in prison if they decline to participate in a gay couple’s ceremony. It isn’t sufficient that those wishing to undergo sex-change surgery be permitted to go their own way; the public must pay for it, and if Bruce Jenner is still “Bruce” to you, you must be driven from polite society. It isn’t enough that the Left dominate the media and pop culture; any attempt to compete with it must be criminalized in the name of “getting big money out of politics.” Not the New York Times’s money, or Hollywood’s money, or the CEO of Goldman Sachs’s money — just the wrong sort of people’s money. Every major Democratic presidential candidate and every Democratic senator is on record supporting the repeal of the First Amendment’s free-speech protections — i.e., carving the heart out of the Bill of Rights — to clear the way for putting all public debate under political discipline.
Like it or not, you will be shackled to hope and change.
The hysterical shrieking about the fictitious rape epidemic on college campuses, the attempts to fan the unhappy events in Ferguson and Baltimore into a national racial conflagration, the silly and shallow “inequality” talk — these are signs of progressivism in decadence.
So is the brouhaha over the Confederate flag in South Carolina in the wake of the horrific massacre at Emanuel AME Church. For about 30 seconds, the political ghouls of the Left were looking to pick another gun-control fight, swooping in, in their habitually indecent fashion, before the bodies had even grown cold. But that turned out to be a dead end, since the killer acquired his gun after passing precisely the sort of background check that the Left generally hawks after a high-profile crime, regardless of whether it is relevant to the crime. We might have spent some time thinking about whether law enforcement was too lax in the matter of the murderer’s earlier encounters with them — the South Carolina killer had a drug arrest on his record but was able to buy a gun because he had been charged only with a misdemeanor. But the Left isn’t in any mood to talk about whether the cops aren’t being hard-assed enough. So, instead, we had a fight over a completely unrelated issue: the Confederate flag flying at the state capitol in Columbia.
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Disclaimer: This Article was not written by Lorra B.