Arnold Ahlert / August 31, 2017

Rediscovering Courage

Today, there is little doubt that cowardice is not only respectable, but very much in fashion.

“When cowardice is made respectable, its followers are without number both from among the weak and the strong; it easily becomes a fashion.” —Eric Hoffer

Today, there is little doubt that cowardice — more often than not couched as a “reasonable” response to the demands of hateful, hysterical leftists — is not only respectable but very much in fashion.

In Memphis, the Orpheum Theater announced it will end a 34-year-old tradition of “Gone With the Wind” summertime screenings due to “specific inquiries from patrons.” In a statement, the theater company explained, “As an organization whose stated mission is to ‘entertain, educate and enlighten the communities it serves’, the Orpheum cannot show a film that is insensitive to a large segment of its local population.”

The hyper-sensitive local population to which the theater refers are ostensibly black Americans, who comprise approximately 64% of Memphis’ total population. Yet like most things progressive, the narrative doesn’t align with reality: A 2014 YouGov survey taken on the 75th anniversary of the picture revealed that 73% of black Americans rated the movie as great, very good or good. Nonetheless, Orpheum Theatre Group president Brett Batterson insisted the move was “about the Orpheum wanting to be inclusive and welcoming to all of Memphis.”

Both Batterson and a large majority of the theater’s board members are white, and all of them apparently miss the searing irony: Their insufferably paternalistic presumption that they know what’s best for black Americans resembles that of antebellum slave masters. Moreover their exhortations of inclusivity and welcomeness are nothing more than fashionable cowardice.

They are joined — or is that topped — by the cowards at California’s San Domenico School, who have decided their 167-year-old existence as a Dominican Catholic institution needed an “update” requiring the removal of approximately 162 Catholic icons and statues. The head of San Domenico’s board of trustees, Amy Skewes-Cox, again issued boilerplate progressive bromides to justify censorship. “If you walk on the campus and the first thing you confront is three or four statues of St. Dominic or St. Francis, it could be alienating for that other religion, and we didn’t want to further that feeling.”

She further stated the removals had nothing to do with the frenzy surrounding the removal of Confederate statues, or the rioting in Charlottesville, insisting the issues are “totally different” and have “absolutely no connection other than it is change, and people have a hard time with change.”

Change? Capitulation to political correctness is more like it. “In our time here,” explains the mother of one of the school’s students, “the word ‘Catholic’ has been removed from the mission statement, sacraments were removed from the curriculum, the lower school curriculum was changed to world religions, the logo and colors were changed to be ‘less Catholic,’ and the uniform was changed to be less Catholic.”

Instead, the progressive agenda reigns supreme. “We welcome and embrace students, families, and staff who both enrich and promote diversity,” the school’s Inclusivity and Non-Discrimination statement declares. “We value the representation and full engagement of individuals whose differences include, but are not limited to, age, ethnicity, family makeup, gender, learning style, physical ability, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status.”

The statues? “Pitched in the basement,” according to the parent of a former student. Catholic values clearly expressed in the Apostle’s Creed? Pitched into oblivion by people too cowardly to stand up for their own faith.

Another group of cowards familiar to most Americans is the collection of self-aggrandizing Hollywood hacks who remained at last Sunday’s 2017 MTV Video Music Awards despite rapper YG’s song “FDT” (F—k Donald Trump) being played during the commercial breaks. One need only imagine the stampede that would have ensued had Barack Obama been subjected to anything remotely resembling the same treatment. Cowards are people who only respect the presidency — or the county itself — when “one of theirs” occupies the Oval Office.

Sadly, there is also the cowardice best described by the adage often attributed to Irish statesman Edmund Burke: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Or perhaps when ordered to do nothing, as it appears police in Charlottesville and most recently in Berkeleyagain — allowed rioting thugs to attack each other and innocent bystanders.

In Charlottesville, Police Chief Al Thomas insisted his force “had a very large footprint during this entire endeavor,” despite numerous assertions to the contrary, including one from New York Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg, who ruined the progressive narrative of only one side engaging in violence.

Berkeley Police Chief Andrew Greenwood was even more pathetic, insisting the “potential use of force became very problematic” — despite the reality that antifa thugs broke through police barricades and checkpoints and began beating and pepper-spraying people.

Cowardly Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin is equally willing to capitulate to the mob, asking UC Berkeley to cancel conservatives’ plans for a Free Speech Week to prevent his city from “being used as a punching bag.”

“A government that cannot maintain order in the streets — that has lost the will to even try and do so — signals to extremists that it has rotted,” asserts the editor of the Fabius Maximus website.

That goes double for a society so afraid it won’t even prevent its children from being indoctrinated. Thus when a teacher at Sacramento’s Rocklin Academy Gateway staged a “transition ceremony” for a student in her kindergarten class — one that consisted of initially introducing him to his fellow kindergarteners as a boy, and then having him change into a dress and calling him by his new female name — it becomes infuriating when parents who contacted Fox News “asked that their identities remain anonymous in fear of retribution by folks in the community who disagree with them,” Fox reported.

“What’s happening at Rocklin Academy is an example of how schools have become indoctrination grounds for the LGBT agenda,” writes Todd Starnes. “And the only way to stop the indoctrination is for moms and dads to take a stand.”

Not just moms and dads. Every American who’s sick and tired of having the progressive agenda rammed down their throats while they quietly acquiesce, ever fearful of consequences that only invite more boldness by those more than willing to destroy the nation itself, as long as they get to rule over what remains.

Even some conservatives miss the point. “Maybe if we grasp that, instead of getting hysterical over it, we can see why the loss of Robert E. Lee shouldn’t threaten Thomas Jefferson,” asserts National Review’s Andrew McCarthy.

But it does, and one is left to wonder how many outrages must be endured before such conservatives realize an incrementalist Left’s appetite for power and control is never satiated?

It’s time for decent Americans to fight back, using that same kind of incrementalism. Skip a Hollywood movie or concert. Pass on an NFL game, or stop patronizing progressive corporations that consider themselves the nation’s moral arbiters. Cancel a newspaper or cable company subscription.

No one has to do everything. But Americans should understand that small individual efforts make a collectively big difference. As progressives like to say, it’s time to live “woke.”

Let’s make courage fashionable again.

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