Beating the Left at Its Own Game
Singlehandedly, Trump has managed to do the one thing that both enrages and terrifies American leftists.
For a variety of reasons, President Donald Trump is a problematic individual. Yet singlehandedly, he has managed to do the one thing that both enrages and terrifies American leftists and their corrupt enablers:
Last Friday during a speech in Alabama, Trump changed The Narrative.
For a year, the NFL took its cues from an addle-brained Pied Piper known as Colin Kaepernick, who initiated taking a knee to protest what he called the “systematic oppression” of minorities. During an Aug. 28, 2016 press conference Kaepernick went even further. “There’s a lot of things that need to change,” he lectured. “One specifically? Police brutality. There’s people being murdered unjustly and [police are] not being held accountable. People are being given paid leave for killing people.”
What was the genesis of that assertion? The media-driven Narrative emerging from Ferguson that an innocent Michael Brown, holding his hands in the air, was murdered by police officer Darren Wilson. And despite all evidence to the contrary, “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” gave the American Left the slogan it needed to fuel the divide-and-conquer identity politics that forms the heart of progressive ideology.
That Kaepernick showed up at another interview wearing a T-shirt replete with photos from a 1960 meeting between Malcolm X and Fidel Castro, and expressed support for one of the 20th century’s foremost oppressors? Or that he showed up for practice wearing socks with pictures of pigs dressed like police officers?
None of it mattered to the social justice warriors any more than the inconvenient reality that police officers were not killing black Americans at a rate any higher than whites. Harvard Professor Roland Fryer, a black American who was sure his 2016 study would reveal otherwise, called it “the most surprising result of my career.”
Far less surprising? In 2016, police fatally shot 233 blacks, the vast majority of whom were armed and dangerous. That same year, a staggering 7,881 black Americans were murdered — mostly by their fellow black Americans. Police brutality? In 2015, a police officer was 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male killed by a police officer. And in the last 10 years, black males have comprised 42% of all cop-killers, despite representing only 6% of the nation’s population.
None of it matters. The Left has its agenda, the centerpiece of which is that America is an inherently racist and oppressive nation in need of “fundamental change.” Change that now requires a steady barrage of reminders in every aspect of life, even those that ought to be sanctuaries from politics.
As night follows day, hypocrisy abounds. The same NFL Commissioner Roger Goodall that now champions thoughtful dissent is the one who refused to allow Dallas Cowboy players to wear a decal on their helmets commemorating the murder of five Dallas police officers, killed while working to protect people at an organized protest of police brutality. Thirteen years ago the league forced Denver Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer to remove a “40” decal on the back of his helmet that was a tribute to Pat Tillman, an NFLer who quit in his prime to join the Army Rangers and gave his life defending our country. The league even threatened to fine players who commemorated the victims of 9/11 before backing down. And as William Jacobson further reminds us, Tim Tebow “was viciously attacked and mocked by the professional media when he took a knee for prayer, yet NFL players are lionized in that same media for taking a knee while the National Anthem is played.”
In other words, some “principled” stands are more equal than others.
That goes double for the media. Outlets comfortable with branding Trump as a racist were equally comfortable colluding to suppress stories about Barack Obama’s 20-year relationship with the racist Rev. Jeremiah Wright. The media were also comfortable downplaying or ignoring the reality most Americans believe race relations worsened in the eight years Obama was president.
And in a genuine Ministry of Truth effort, networks that decided to air the anthem protests left out crowd shots of angry fans.
Unlike most Republicans, Trump has the ability to flip the script, much like Ronald Reagan did when he reminded Americans the Soviet Union was an “evil empire” and America was a “shining city on a hill.” Reagan eviscerated the American Left’s Narrative that communist thugs must be accommodated. In doing so he brought the Soviet empire, well, to its knees.
And just like progressives, Trump understands that repetition is key. Thus he has followed his speech with a series of tweets reminding millions of Americans that the progressive worldview does not have to be considered sacrosanct. In short, if Americans cannot be browbeaten into silent acquiescence, or made to feel guilty — and more important, if Trump cannot be successfully painted as the nation’s divider in chief — the Left is staring at the edge of the abyss.
That’s the real reason the overwhelming majority of anger has been directed at Trump, not his supporters. The Left is keenly aware he is the most forceful anti-Narrative champion a long-suffering Middle America has seen in decades. And not just with regard to football and other sports. Trump has flipped a plethora of progressive Narratives, including the ideas that Hillary was a shoo-in, half of America are “deplorables” who “cling to guns God and religion,” the mainstream media is unbiased, and progressives are the most open-minded and tolerant people in the nation.
And the more celebrity players who make millions for playing a game, and owners who often get taxpayer-subsidized stadiums to play them in, choose to pretend they are victims of an unwarranted assault on their constitutional rights, the more Middle America will begin to realize what this fight is really all about:
“It no longer is about kneeling at the start of football games,” explains columnist Dov Fischer. “Rather, it is about the soul of America.”
It is a soul long-stained by “the progressive attempt to undermine all shared public institutions by turning them into left-wing megaphones and in the process condoning the use of violence, obscenity, and racialism,” as historian Victor Davis Hanson aptly describes it.
A Remington Research Group survey reveals that 64% of Americans believe NFL players should stand and respect the National Anthem. And ratings are down another 11% compared to 2016. Thus, despite every effort by the media to frame the argument as one of racism and police brutality, Trump has successfully reframed the argument as one of respect and patriotism. In doing so, he has revealed that the decades-long progressive assumption they could always frame The Narrative to their advantage is no longer a given.
Nothing terrifies the American Left more than that.