Amici, forgive the light posting. I’m still really sick. Have been sleeping all day, and am about to have to go back to bed. Useless! Can’t remember the last time I was so sick for so long. But the world keeps turning, somehow, and that means Donald Trump keeps on doing that hoo doo that he do so well.
Comes the news that Black Lives Matter and other progressive activist groups are meeting to figure out how to demonstrate effectively against Trump, and are frustrated that invading his events and being socked by his supporters isn’t effective in turning people against him. Excerpt:
One of the key issues discussed was the effectiveness of direct action protests at Trump events. Although the actions draw media coverage, two sources on the call said organizers worry that because Trump seems to be immune to shame, these protests simply put black activists in harm’s way but have little effect on Trump.
“It was tough to think about this idea that a black person goes to do an action at a Trump rally and gets beat up, and then it wasn’t exactly forcing a shift in the discussion about Trump we desired,” said one organizer, who asked BuzzFeed News to withhold their name from this story because they were still reaching out to groups. “It was almost annoying to watch.”
Ben Wickler, the Washington director of MoveOn.org, which circulated an onlinepetition before the fracas at a Trump rally in Chicago, said Trump is a “five-alarm fire for Democracy,” which is why his group has committed to coordinating marches, calling on people to denounce him and mobilizing voters to cast votes against him. Wickler said a key part of the organizing is coalition building: MoveOn.org will engage immigrants, Muslims, undocumented people, and blacks. “Really, anyone in Trump’s crosshairs,” he said.
“It’s an early moment in the national progressive movement, but I think there’s a sense in the progressive world that has been watching in horror but hasn’t yet jumped in the fray that it’s time now to jump in with both feet.”
Oh, that’ll be great. Why don’t y’all reach out to the Board of Education nitwits in New Jersey who punished a little kid for criticizing vegetarianism to a vegetarian classmate, because expressing disapproval of vegetarianism constitutes bullying. Microaggressions! And why don’t you pull in the aggrieved snowflakes of UC Davis who had to check themselves in to the psych ward after seeing two sumo wrestler balloons on campus:
Students accused the Associated Students of the University of California-Davis (ASUCD) of fat shaming, and culturally appropriating the traditions of the Japanese people.
“My overall impression is that this conversation is in itself an expression of white-supremacist anti-Asian structural racism,” student Scott Tsuchitani told The California Aggie. “Asian Americans are treated as mute, hapless victims, devoid of agency, a.k.a. the ‘model minority’ stereotype. That is what is being re-inscribed by this conversation.”
Another student, Phil Jones, was shocked at ASUCD’s insensitivity towards overweight students on campus, even demanding financial reimbursement for the emotional distress.
“To be honest, I was shocked. February 19th was Remembrance Day for Japanese internment during WWII, and some of my Japanese friends were heavily traumatized by seeing their culture mocked in such a clearly racist fashion,” Jones wrote in a Facebook post on the event’s page. “Not to mention, as a heavy-American, I don’t appreciate the blatant Fat-Shaming involved with caricaturing one of the few sports traditionally enjoyed by Heavy individuals.”
Jones went on to demand “reparations payments” for “affected individuals” and asked for the resignation of all senators responsible for hosting the event.
The joy of Trump is that he doesn’t care what trolls like that think. And he doesn’t give a rip about BLM and other protesters who come to try to derail his rallies, and get roughed up. To be clear, I think Trump is wrong to encourage violence against protesters — and he does do that. If he were president, we would be looking back with fond nostalgia on the days of Nixon’s Enemies List. Let’s be clear about that. Trump calls out what is worst in us.
Still, it is hard to get all that worked up about it when somebody finally stands up to bullies like these demonstrators and says no, you’re not going to get your way. When somebody actually refuses to be intimidated by the illiberal tactics of BLM and other SJWs, because he doesn’t see them as holy warriors, it’s a good thing — precisely because those SJWs also bring out what is worst in us.
Ross Douthat suggests that indeed, as I predicted it would the night it happened, the Chicago agents provocateurs may have helped Trump break through what Ross and others had previously considered his ceiling. Excerpt:
The way events in Chicago fell out is a case study in the way that a figure like Trump is dangerous to the body politic, not just to one party or faction: He’s a walking, talking radicalizer, whose demagoguery doesn’t just encourage the extremists who love him but also feeds the no-platforming instincts of an increasingly illiberal left. But it’s also a case study in why demagoguery can be so effective: It encourages precisely the kind of reaction from its enemies that it claims as justification for its own excesses, creating a feedback loop of anger, fear and hatred that tugs moderates toward the extreme. And since Trump didn’t need to persuade that many Republicans — just an extra five or ten percent — that they’re either with him or with the left-wing protesters, what he got out of Chicago was probably exactly what he wanted: A sense of chaos, of things slipping out of control, that sharpens the authoritarian temptation.
He can still be stopped. He may will still be stopped. But the remarkable good fortune that he’s depended on so far came through for him last week, and I fear that he’ll need less of it hereafter.
I have been saying in this space for some time that the illiberalism of the Social Justice Warrior left is going to call forth and legitimize a backlash. Trump is that backlash. Douthat is right that Trump’s authoritarianism is a temptation, but I think it’s important to recognize, as Douthat does, that the militant left plays a key role in giving Trump fuel for his fire. And not just the militant left that turns up to no-platform conservative speakers. I’m talking the militant left that makes normal, everyday life impossible because it is forever finding a new reason to be offended and demand satisfaction.
A fat college kid demands reparations because he saw a sumo wrestler balloon on his campus. What he deserves is for Camille Paglia to show up at his dorm room, slap him hard across the cheek, and tell him to quit being such a baby. When many viewers see left-wing protesters trying to shut Trump’s speech down, they don’t think of those protesters sympathetically. They think of them as privileged brats who are stomping and screaming and demanding their way. They become extremely unsympathetic except to those who already agree with them. MacIntyre said that this is the problem with protest today: they only ever communicate persuasively to those who don’t need persuading because they are already on the protesters’ side.
If the anti-Trump leftists want to stage effective protests against him, they should make them peaceful, not militant and confrontational. Confrontational protest doesn’t weaken Trump; it only makes him stronger.