A political riptide is carrying Leftists and NeverTrumpers further from reality on myriad important issues — and Trump is holding the only life preserver.
How much do you know about riptides? For those who don’t know anything about them, they’re currents that run in narrow channels perpendicularly away from the shoreline. There you are, just swimming along happily in the ocean when you realize that you’ve been pushed dangerously far from the shore. If you panic, you start pushing back against the riptide, exhausting yourself.
The way to save yourself — assuming that’s still possible — is to swim perpendicularly to the riptide. That is, instead of swimming towards the shore, which is an impossibility if the riptide is strong, you have to swim parallel to the shore, breaking out of the rip tide. Only then, if you have strength left, can you head back to the land. But as I said, the real danger is the fact that riptides can be subtle things that gently, relentlessly, and imperceptibly leave you in tremendous danger.
The Democrats and NeverTrumpers in my world are finding themselves caught in the riptide of Leftist politics. I need a little personal history here to explain.
I grew up in a completely Democrat world. My family, most of their friends, my educational institutions, the communities in which I lived as a lawyer and a parent — all Democrat. I ought to have drifted along in those waters endlessly, without ever realizing that they were getting dangerously polluted.
What saved me was that I knew Israel. I knew Israel because my parents lived there during the British mandate period, during the Israeli War of Independence (in which they participated), and after Israel gained her independence. I knew it because I’d visited Israel. And I knew it because I knew lots and lots of Sabras — that is, native Israelis, whether blood relatives or friends. Moreover, growing up in a less heated time, I also knew lots of Arabs, both Christian and Muslim, all of whom were lovely people and good friends. Add to that the fact that I’m a history major and had a very solid foundation in both Western and Middle Eastern history, going back to the Biblical era, and it was the one subject about which you could not lie to me.
What this knowledge meant was that I realized fairly early on, back in the 1990s, that the American Democrat party was embracing one of Marxism’s core principles — anti-Semitism. I was too ignorant in then to know that anti-Semitism has its roots in Marxism, but I sure understood that it was slowly oozing out of all the “best,” most intellectual media that informed my world back in the day: NPR, The New Yorker, The New Republic, The New York Times, etc. Significantly, these were the main news sources for all the Yuppies, both Jewish and non-Jewish, who made up my world. Sadly, these outlets (maybe not The New Republic), are still what these old friends consume.
Back in the day, those media outlets could tell me anything they wanted about the Clintons, the Gores, the Bushes, Clarence Thomas, the banks, the federal reserve, foreign policy, etc., and I’d believe it. Well, almost anything. Having lived in England during the early 1980s and seen the miserable quality of medical care people received under the National Health Service, Hillary’s attempt at socializing American medicine didn’t impress me. Still, I was young and would live forever, so I simply didn’t care that much that the Clintons wanted to nationalize American healthcare.
The one thing, though, that the “high-end, intellectual” media had to be truthful about if it wanted to keep me was Israel — and increasingly, it was not being truthful. The anti-Israel animus permeating my media outlets was becoming too much to bear. One day, I realized that I was caught in a riptide of lies and was floating further and further from facts — not Bidenesque-truthiness unrelated to facts — but actual facts.
At that moment, I stopped dead, sighted the shore, and started swimming parallel to it — and perpendicular to that lying riptide. This meant discovering alternative outlets such as *gasp* Fox News and National Review, as well as conservative blogs. Even more than that, it meant using YouTube and other outlets (when they were still honest) to find original content without having it first run through any media, Left or Right.
When I figured out what was going on — that the modern Democrat party was completely unrelated to the Kennedy-style Democrat Party in which I was raised and was becoming a harder Left party with a decidedly anti-Semitic edge — I tried to sound the warning to friends and family. “Riptide!” I hollered. They laughed at me or found me paranoid and irritating. “The water’s fine. Times change. You have to change with them. There’s no danger here.”
But there was danger, of course. There was the danger that honoring different races and cultures in America, a laudable thing, would be used to fuel an identity politics that turns Americans against each other and invites everyone to join the race to the bottom of victimhood.
There was the danger that acknowledging same sex relationships, which are private and should be none of my business, would be used as a wedge to destroy the nuclear family, begin an attack on the First Amendment’s protection of freedom of worship, and eventually deny biological reality altogether.
There was the danger that the Democrats’ long-standing love affair with Europe’s alleged “sophistication” and disdain for America’s small town naivete would be used to attack American sovereignty in favor of UN guidance for American policies.
And there was the danger that America’s borders, which are what most fundamentally define a country, would eventually be seen as a hindrance to getting a very specific kind of voter: That is, voters who (sadly) have long been accustomed to Marxist-style socialism and corruption and will vote for it provided that the politicians promise them something for nothing. This is not a racist comment, it’s a comment about culture and, more specifically, the culture in Latin America. We could say the same about the European culture, but they’re not yet streaming over our border. With this newly imported citizenry, freedom becomes less and less of an option.
And all along there was that riptide. It was so subtle. For those people who wanted to be “good,” as defined in the media I once listened to and read, standing against gay marriage wasn’t showing concern for traditional institutions or for religious liberty, but was “hate.” Believing in American sovereignty through strong borders and functioning immigration laws wasn’t a common sense way to maintain a nation’s integrity but was racism. Being suspicious of countries that exported murderous terrorists wasn’t a matter of national security, it was “Islamophobia.”
And then, as people got further from the shore of common sense, the riptide grew stronger. Suddenly, it’s hate to believe that there a sex differences. It’s racism to believe in any borders, let alone strong ones, because children will cry — or at least, Latin American children will cry. And it’s Islamophobia to point out that two Muslim congresswomen routinely malign America and seem more concerned with countries overseas than with the one they purportedly represent. The riptide keeps pushing people further and further away from any ability at all to swim back to shore.
Some of the saddest people caught in the riptide are the NeverTrumpers. They’re the ones whose hatred for Trump’s personal style (a style I’ve learned to enjoy tremendously) has not only seen them pushed seaward by the riptide, but has actually seen them embrace the tide and swim away from the shore as hard and fast as they can. They’d rather drown than acknowledge that, right now, the only one holding a life preserver is Donald Trump.
I see this, of course, in well known NeverTrumpers such as Jennifer Rubin, Max Boot, or David French. I also see it closer to home with people on my Facebook page. One man whom I’ve known for thirty years morphed from a conservative born-again Christian to a flagrant Leftist based solely upon his Trump hatred.
Today, he’s incensed that, when the Trump family travels, it likes to stay at Trump properties — which means that the Secret Service stays at Trump properties too. The horror! The corruption! Some small percentage of the money paid for those hotel stays goes into Trump’s bank account. As an example, the Politico article my friend cites says that in August 2017, of the $16,600 the Secret Service spent on a trip, $5,700 went to a Trump hotel. That’s not $5,700 to Trump — that’s to the hotel, which was charging for rooms and service. Trump was therefore probably enriched to the tune of $100 or $200. I’m shocked!
My friend also accepts uncritically any headline that savages Trump or his administration. The latest outrage is the claim that Ken Cuccinelli, an immigration official, is rewriting the verses on the Statue of Liberty to say that they mean that America will only welcome white European immigrants. Were my friend less in thrall to TDS, and a more discriminating consumer of information, he would actually read what happened. For example, Matt Walsh, of the Daily Wire, has a good article explaining the media’s gross and grotesque dishonesty.
It began when the Trump administration made the logical announcement that Americans shouldn’t be paying for welfare for new immigrants. When my parents came to this country in the 1950s, they had to promise and prove that they wouldn’t become a “public charge,” a concept going back to 1882 — and they never did. Recent administrations have ignored this law, but Trump seeks to give it meaning again.
So what does the media do? NPR asks Cuccinelli how he can betray the promise on the Statue of Liberty?
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
Were I Cuccinelli, I would have pointed out that this is poetry on a giant sculpture, not legislation, and it therefore has no affect whatsoever on public policy. He, however, said that you can be “tired” and “poor,” and still not be a public charge. The media immediately came out with the headlines that horrified my friend. Walsh quotes a few:
As Walsh explains:
These are all absurd lies. Cuccinelli never rewrote, or suggested that we rewrite, or even said anything about rewriting the poem on the Statue of Liberty. He also isn’t the one who brought up the poem. He was asked a question about whether the policy is consistent with the poem — which, again, doesn’t matter anyway — and he provided an answer. But this is a trick that the media loves to pull. They ask you a weird and irrelevant question, you answer it, and they report your answer as if you were the one who brought up the subject. A petty and disingenuous little ploy. And they weren’t done with Cuccinelli just yet.
How true that the media was not done with Cuccinelli. The next strike occurred when he tried to explain that the language “wretched refuse” was a reference to Europe’s class system, which treated its lower class like . . . well, refuse. Back to Walsh:
[H]e was giving necessary context to the poem in an effort to explain who the “wretched refuse” were, and why that language was used. His point, obviously, was that accepting “wretched refuse” doesn’t mean accepting non-contributors who only want to exploit America’s welfare system. Rather, it means accepting contributing and self-sufficient people from lower classes in society. But, again, Cuccinelli isn’t the one harping on the damn poem. It is the media that has decided to focus this entire conversation around the words on a plaque affixed to the Statue of Liberty.
To rational people free of the riptide, Cuccinelli’s point was obvious. But to the media, which is neither rational nor honest, Cuccinelli proved that the entire Trump administration is permeated with white supremacist thinking. Once again, Walsh collects some headlines:
The lack of logic behind the first and second batch of headlines is striking. In the first round, Cuccinelli is lambasted for rejecting the Statute of Liberty’s promise. In the second round, he’s lambasted for imposing a white supremacist worldview on the Statute of Liberty. How he can simultaneously reject it entirely and then embrace it as a white supremacist doctrine is never explained.
In a sane world, we’d see Leftists and NeverTrumpers look at the receding shore and thinking, “Wow, we might be in deeper waters than we realize.” In a heated partisan world driven by an increasingly dishonest (and possibly) insane media, these same Leftists and NeverTrumpers are either drifting along mindlessly or worse, swimming ever harder away from the shore.
This is a very dangerous time in American politics. My hope is that, as elections near and ordinary people start paying attention, they look at these crazed political die-hards and think “Whoa! Those people are drowning. I’m not going to let them take me down too.”
With that last thought in mind, I’ll end this on a happy note. I follow on Facebook a Jewish man who is, as I once was, a lifelong Democrat. He is also, as I always have been, a strong Israel supporter. I’ve been watching him struggle for months with the fact that one of the defining characteristics of the new Democrat party is its hostility to Israel. Just today, he put up a post about the fact that Tulsi Gabbard is now co-sponsoring Ilhan Omar’s pro-BDS bill. The comment he included? “And you’re out!” I suspect that he’s figuring out that he’s caught in a riptide and that, if you love Israel, the only free, pluralist democracy in the Middle East, there is no room for you any more in today’s Democrat party.
My hope is that, with every passing day, as the political crazies swim and float closer to the drowning point, other people grab for the life preservers.
Photo credit: Travel Photography from PhotoEverywhere