A reader who comments as “Andrew” left this comment. It describes the way a lot of people I know feel:
As a 46 year old white male, I’d like to give my perspective for the various liberals and leftists who comment here (and I’m truly glad you are here).
By your definition, I’m a racist, and I just don’t care anymore. I don’t believe I’m actually a racist, but you’re going to label me that way anyway, so I’ll just accept it. I’m a racist based on your definition. Fine. I won’t argue, I’ll just acknowledge you are right. I’m guilty of racism. Frankly, I’ve given up trying to prove you’re wrong. Hell, you’ll call me a racist for thinking algebra should be taught in school, and gifted programs should be kept even if they “lack diversity.”
And so now, if I can be so bold, here’s my response: “So what? I get it. I’m a racist. Do you have anything else to say? Now that you’ve defined me as a racist, should I just disappear? Should I just admit that you are right, and come around to your way of thinking? What, exactly, do you want me to do? Because I still think about the issues affecting this country in the exact same way.”
In my work place a few years ago, I was talking to a colleague of mine. Very nice person, intelligent, considerate, and an open liberal. Somehow the topic of immigration came up. I said, very politely, that I believed immigration laws should be enforced. He stood up, veins popping from his neck, and shouted, “You’re a racist!” So that was the end of our conversation.
I’m naming one example out of a thousand. I’ve experienced this time and time again, as have many people I know. (Incidentally, I’m the only non-liberal in my family.) On one issue after another, the response to my opinion is some variation of “You’re a racist!” (Or sexist, or homophobic, or bigoted, or guilty of white privilege – the whole litany.) I get it. My opinions are not to be valued, or even considered. I’m a bad person! If only I were educated (but I am). If only I was enlightened.
Someone above mentioned the Willie Horton ad. Such a racist ad. Here is the name of Willie Horton’s first victim: Joseph Fournier. Mr. Fournier was 17 years old when Horton stabbed him to death. Horton then stuffed Fournier into a trash can, where he bled out from his wounds. After Gov. Dukakis granted Horton a furlough from prison, Horton raped a woman twice, in front of her fiance (who he beat up and knifed). Do liberals care about Mr. Fournier, or his family? Do they care about the woman and her fiance that were traumatized? I don’t see any evidence that they do. You know what they care about? You know what will make them angry? If I use the word “thug” to describe Mr. Horton. Well that’s just not acceptable in polite society. It’s a racist code-word.
My question for all you dear liberals and progressives: Is there a way people like myself can talk about Willie Horton honestly without being accused of racism? Would there have been any way for Bush Sr.’s campaign to discuss the issue of weekend furloughs, and their innocent victims, without being written off as racist? “There goes the GOP again, stirring up white voters.” The Horton ad is considered prima facie evidence that Republicans are racists. But what about Mr. Fournier? How many Democrats know his name?
(A brief aside to my liberal friends. Do you want to reduce white racism? If there’s one issue that perpetuates hostile attitudes of whites towards blacks, it’s black crime. So take that on, why don’t you? But white people only talk about that under the radar, after the equivalent of a secret handshake ensures that they won’t be turned in to the thought police.)
With all of his faults and weaknesses, Trump gave a voice to one group of people who were ignored by both the Democrats and the mainstream press: victims of crime, and their family members. But since the criminals – the murderers and rapists and drug dealers – were illegal immigrants, of course, Trump was racist to do so. And all of us who appreciated him talking about this issue were reacting to “dog whistles.”
Do you want to know why sites like Breitbart are popular? Because they cover stories and issues that the mainstream press won’t touch, or will cover for as brief a period as possible. For example, the woman in Massachusetts who was kidnapped, beaten and gang raped by four Guatemalan illegal immigrants. One of those immigrants had a criminal record, and another had been deported before. Why wasn’t that front page news? What do the Democrats have to say to that woman? Trump at least spoke to the issue. But of course he’s a racist.
Do a Google search for “off duty patrol agent gets killed.” The first two results are from Breitbart, and Fox news. I wish that wasn’t the case, but there you go. The man who was murdered: Javier Vega, Jr. He was a Latino victim, so surely his name will be covered by the press? Killed in front of his wife and children – surely that will be front page news? But no. The two men who killed him were illegal immigrants from Mexico who had been arrested and deported numerous times. So no one knows Vega’s name except “right-wingers” like myself who occasionally read sites like Breitbart.
(But a story like Trayvon Martin or Michael Brown – well that gets non-stop coverage for months. And there are many educated people who still don’t know “hands up don’t shoot” was a complete lie.)
Dear Liberals, Democrats, progressives, leftists: Your use of the word “racist” doesn’t work anymore. We get it. You’re superior. You’re enlightened and we’re not. You care about diversity and we don’t. We only listen to dog whistles. We have given up trying to talk you out of your presumptions, or trying to earn your approval. We no longer consider it worth our while to reassure you that we’re not “that kind” of Republican.
But the fact is, we’re not as stupid as you think we are, and we see right through you. And if there’s one thing Trump has done, he’s given us some backbone to make our voices heard. Of course, that means “expressions of racism” will increase. (OMG!) And every child who behaves like a bully will be blamed on Trump. The fact is, we just won’t care about your freak-outs. Go ahead and caterwaul. You lost, and you deserved to lose.
I cast my vote for Trump reluctantly. Now, I couldn’t be prouder.
UPDATE: Andrew writes:
I do have an addendum to suggest, if you wouldn’t mind. The sentence in my comment that refers to Gov. Dukakis wasn’t accurate. Another commenter pointed this out on the original thread. Dukakis wasn’t directly responsible for Horton’s furlough. He didn’t make any personal decision. It was the penal administration that granted Horton’s furlough. But as governor, Dukakis vetoed the bill that would have stopped furloughs for first-degree murderers. So the state legislature wanted to make that change, and Dukakis prevented it.
I’m making the correction so that people don’t get sidetracked from the main point because of my inaccuracy.
Done. I would like to add my own thought. I understand where Andrew is coming from in this e-mail, and I highlight it here to point out that a country in which people do not feel shame over racist thoughts, beliefs, and actions is a morally diminished country. I take Andrew’s point to mean that the left has accused him and people like him of racism for so many things, no matter how trivial, that the accusation doesn’t faze him anymore. I have been saying for some time now that if the alt-right grows in power and influence, it will be because ordinary people get tired of being bullied by these kinds of accusations, and choose to ally with people who might actually be bona fide racists, but who aren’t bothered by the attacks from the left.
I think Trump’s not giving a rip about political correctness was a big factor in his rise. If you’ve been reading me all year, you know that I’ve objected to his vulgarity and coarseness on many occasions. Trump lowers our discourse, and normalizes ways of talking in public that ought not be normalized. Having said that, it is undeniably true that the willingness of many on the left to demonize as bigots (racists, sexists, homophobes, Islamophobes, etc.) white people who don’t live up to strict progressive blasphemy codes has called forth contempt for the (necessary and important) taboo against racism itself.
Think of it like this: Prohibition encouraged contempt for the law. If you pass so many “laws” around normal discourse, saying to transgress them makes you an “outlaw” (= bigot), then you should not be surprised when people go full Uncle Chuckie, and cease caring.
This is not a good thing, to culture people into contempt for law! But this is the effect that smug SJW liberalism is having. As the young left-wing writer Emmitt Rensin wrote earlier this year, “The wages of smug is Trump.” I blogged on that Rensin column when it first appeared in Vox back in April, and revisited it tonight after a liberal reader of this blog e-mailed it with his approval. It’s fascinating to read it now. In it, Rensin gives his own side a merciless hiding, saying at one point:
Trump capturing the nomination will not dispel the smug style; if anything, it will redouble it. Faced with the prospect of an election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the smug will reach a fever pitch: six straight months of a sure thing, an opportunity to mock and scoff and ask, How could anybody vote for this guy? until a morning in November when they ask, What the f**k happened?
That morning came a week and a half ago. Here’s more Rensin, from that April piece:
Make no mistake: I am not suggesting that liberals adopt a fuzzy, gentler version of their politics. I am not suggesting they compromise their issues for the sake of playing nice. What I am suggesting is that the battles waged by liberalism have drifted far away from their old egalitarian intentions.
I am suggesting that open disdain for the people they say they want to help has led them to stop helping those people, too.
I am suggesting that in the case of a Kim Davis, liberalism resist the impulse to go beyond the necessary legal fight and explicitly delight in punishing an old foe.
I am suggesting that they instead wonder what it might be like to have little left but one’s values; to wake up one day to find your whole moral order destroyed; to look around and see the representatives of a new order call you a stupid, hypocritical hick without bothering, even, to wonder how your corner of your poor state found itself so alienated from them in the first place. To work with people who do not share their values or their tastes, who do not live where they live or like what they like or know their Good Facts or their jokes.
This is not a call for civility. Manners are not enough. The smug style did not arise by accident, and it cannot be abolished with a little self-reproach. So long as liberals cannot find common cause with the larger section of the American working class, they will search for reasons to justify that failure. They will resent them. They will find, over and over, how easy it is to justify abandoning them further. They will choose the smug style.
Maybe the cycle is too deeply set already. Perhaps the divide, the disdain, the whole crack-up are inevitable. But if liberal good intentions are to make a play for a better future, they cannot merely recognize the ways they’ve come to hate their former allies. They must begin to mend the ways they lost them in the first place.
Reader Andrew, and the place where liberal hectoring and condemnation has driven him to, is exactly what Emmitt Rensin was talking about.