Dear Friend on the Left: You’re Asking for Mercy You Don’t Deserve
January 1, 2017 | Politics/Current Events
Dear Friend on the Left,
I know November 8th turned your world upside down. You are depressed and dispirited, wondering what will happen next. You demand that the winners show “understanding” and “empathy” towards you. But here is the problem. Those are exactly the qualities of mercy you did not display towards your opponents when your side was in control. Let’s take a look.
1. We need to find common ground. When the Left calls for “finding common ground,” or “finding unity,” what they really mean is they want the other side to surrender to the Left’s demands. Maybe you, my dear friend, are the exception. If so, why didn’t you speak up when the Affordable Care Act was passed without a single vote from Republicans? Instead, your side smeared and condemned anyone who opposed it. Did you “reach out to understand the other side” then? No? Then don’t expect your opponents to do this now that they've won.
2. Violent protests are justified because the issues are so important. The Left romanticizes violence when it furthers their ends. But they will not tolerate peaceful dissent when it goes against their agenda. So, when Black Lives Matter rioted and destroyed property, when paid operatives disrupted rallies and bird-dogged Trump supporters, when angry progressives illegally shut down freeway traffic and obstructed emergency vehicles, set fires and broke windows, your side told the rest of us to accept all this as legitimate political expression. But when anyone questions your side’s policies -- or if they peacefully protest, as Tea Party has been doing for over a decade -- your side calls them racist, sexist, xenophobic, and bigoted, and wants them censored and punished. You, my dear friend on the Left, need to speak up and remind your out-of-control comrades that there is a difference between unlawful, violent protest and lawful, peaceful protest. You need to apply that standard equally to all political viewpoints, and not enable your side’s unlawful behavior while shutting down my side’s peaceful behavior.
3. There’s more at stake for us Leftists this in election than there was for you in past elections. This is your explanation for why there is no Right-wing equivalent to Black Lives Matter or Occupy Wall Street (or any of the other flash-mobs that sprung up across the country after Trump was elected), or why there was no Electoral College activism in 2008 or 2012 to get Democrat electors to flip Republican.
Your side always moves the goalposts with the excuse that “too much is at stake.”
I could tell you about high stakes on my side these past eight years: people who have lost jobs, businesses, and health insurance, all as a direct result of increased regulation and taxes. But you’ll dismiss it all as “anecdotal” (even though you’ll eagerly point a finger at a single bad cop as proof there is widespread racism in our society). Those of us who fear the expansion of government have kept quiet about protecting ourselves, as people do when a very real threat looms -- unlike the celebrities who loudly declare they’ll to move to Canada when a Republican president is elected, but never do.
I mentioned before that there is no Right-wing equivalent to the violent groups on your side. You take this as proof that we’re not serious about our opposition to your policies. You think that deep down, we really accept them, or at least we’re willing to go along and not oppose you. But if we were to get as violent and disruptive as your side is, we’d be called white-supremacist-fascist-hate-filled-anti-Semitic-homophobe-bigots who need to be discredited and shut down right away.
Oh, wait. We’re already being called these names. And we’re being smeared and shut down by your side at every turn: In the streets, on campuses, on social media, in the mainstream media, and by politicians who blather on about “fake news” and call for censorship. You, my Left-wing friend, have an obligation to admit that our opposition to your policies is as legitimate and sincere as your opposition to ours. More important, you need to defend everyone’s First Amendment rights – especially those whose views you deem unacceptable. If you don’t, and if you instead reserve privileges for your side that you deny to mine, then have the honesty to admit you’re rigging the system for your own advantage and that you really don’t give a damn about equal rights for all.
4. We Leftists didn’t take the time to understand ordinary Americans like you – we promise to do that from now on. Will Rahn of CBS wrote about the “unbearable smugness of press” less than 48 hours after Trump won. In a recent NPR interview, Dean Baquet, Executive Editor of the New York Times, said that media types like him don’t “get” religion or the level of “anxiety” that got Trump elected.
This comes off with the same snobbery as European colonialists who are shocked that the primitives they’ve been trying to subjugate were able to rout them with some bows and arrows. Look, even we deplorables were shocked by our own victory on November 8th, but we’ll be damned if we’re going to give up hard-won ground just because guys like Rahn and Baquet are now promising to temporarily stop the name-calling and do some field work in flyover country. They’ve had plenty of time to study the bitter clingers. But they didn’t because they thought the Left's political victories were so inevitable that the bitter clingers didn't matter, would never matter, and could safely be ignored.
If you’re serious about understanding people whose political views are different from your own, what have you done to achieve this goal? Sending emails to your fellow Leftists declaring how much you want to understand the other side doesn’t count, nor does posting self-soothing comments on social media. Have you actually talked to real people from the other side, and not just cherry-picked the worst comments you can find? Have you tried to understand your opponent's actions from his or her perspective?
Maybe you, my dear Leftist friend, are the exception to the all the unflattering things I’ve said about your side. Fair enough. But please understand that I’m not going to cede any ground. The stakes are too high, and the issues are too vital. I am going to keep urging my side -- that is, the side of limited Constitutional government, individual liberty, and free markets -- to press every advantage this election has afforded us. This strategy should be easy for you to understand, because this has been the strategy of the Left all along. Take comfort in the fact that, unlike your side, my side recognizes and defends your Constitutional rights, including your First- and Second Amendment rights. Those rights were designed to serve as a defense against the abuse of power from a leviathan state – that is, from a too-big government that you say you now fear once January 20th rolls around.
Eureka! I think we finally found some genuine common ground between us: Fear of big government. Will you now unify with my side to correct that?