A future Republican president invites tea-party leaders to the White House. Some of them have themselves photographed standing in front of a portrait of President Barack Obama with their middle fingers extended. They then posted these photos on Facebook with the caption “F**k Obama.” (Needless to say, the F-word was spelled out.)
1. How much coverage do you think the national press would give to this?
2. How would Democratic — and Republican — leaders react?
3. How would tea-party activists react?
1. The mainstream media across America would widely report what had happened and repeatedly show these photos. The New York Times would editorialize about the racism of the Tea Party. Liberal columnists would be relentless in their condemnations of the Tea Party as a low-life movement of yahoos.
2. Democrats and Republicans alike would condemn these leaders and demand their resignation.
3. Tea-party activists would feel embarrassed by these people who represented them, and they would be deeply concerned that their movement’s good name had been permanently tarnished.
Now let’s explore a real-life situation from this past week.
President Barack Obama invited activists to the White House’s 2012 LGBT-pride reception. Two of them, Matthew “Marty” Hart, a director of the leftist organization Solutions for Progress, and an activist photographer, Zoe Strauss, posed for a photo in front of a portrait of President Ronald Reagan with both their middle fingers extended. They then posted the photo on Facebook with the caption “F**k Reagan” (the F-word was spelled out).
Now let’s answer our questions again:
First, the liberal, or “mainstream,” media never mentioned the incident. Not a word about it appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, or on NPR (which had given Zoe Strauss extensive and laudatory attention just a few weeks earlier). There was no coverage on ABC News, NBC News, or CBS News. The Huffington Post reported the incident in this way: “If several raised fingers are any indication, some LGBT activists who visited the White House last week are fully evolved on what they think of President Ronald Reagan.”
It was reported by Fox News, on conservative talk radio shows, by the Weekly Standard, by National Review, and by other conservative journals and websites.
Second, aside from one tepid rebuke from a man named Shin Inouye, the “Director of Specialty Media in the White House Office of Communications,” the Democratic party and other left-wing organizations said nothing.
And, of course, not a word of condemnation from the world of gay activism, other than the conservative gay organization, Log Cabin Republicans.
What are the lessons?
One is that without Fox News, talk radio, conservative journals, and conservative websites one gets an utterly skewed view of the world. If you want to know how the Left wins so many elections despite the fact that many more Americans consider themselves conservative rather than liberal, the filtered news they receive is a major reason — in America and even more so around the world. (I cover this is in detail in my just-published book, Still the Best Hope.)
The other lesson may be even more important: Contempt for norms of decency — a form of nihilism — permeates the Left generally and leftist activism (among gays and straights) on behalf of gays specifically. Compare, for example, the behavior of the Occupy movement with that of the Tea Party. Both are equally angry at what they deem injurious to society — economic inequality for the Occupy movement, ever-expanding government and debt for the Tea Party — but the latter acts so much more civilly and maturely than the former.
Whether it is the notorious art work “Piss Christ” (a crucifix submerged in “artist” Andres Serrano’s urine), the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art’s recent “graffiti art” exhibition, the ubiquitous public use of expletives, the defense of public nudity (the highest court in New York State ruled that there is no difference between women’s and men’s breasts, therefore women, like men, may go topless in public), the abolition of dress codes in schools, the Left revels in giving the finger to religious and civil norms.
Why did these activists for gay causes feel they could act this way in the White House, the most prestigious and revered building in America? Aside from contempt for social norms, the reason is that those who see themselves as victims have impaired consciences. Nothing dulls the conscience quite like regarding oneself and/or one’s group as victims. The vast majority of violent criminals believe they are victims of society, poverty, racism, etc.; Islamic terrorists see themselves as victims of the West’s alleged “war on Islam”; Germans in the 1930s saw themselves as victims of the Versailles Treaty; and in America today, no group sees themselves as victims as much as gay-rights activists do.
What are they victims of? Society’s desire to maintain the man-woman definition of marriage, and, in Ronald Reagan’s case, his alleged ignoring of the AIDS crisis. That explains why gay groups label everyone who supports retaining the man-woman definition of marriage as people filled with hate, and why these activist groups try to destroy the reputations and, where applicable, the businesses of such people. Along with the nihilism — and immaturity — that characterizes the activist Left, a sense of victimization also explains this defamation of the White House. And it doesn’t hurt to know that America’s news media will not call you on it.
— Dennis Prager, a nationally syndicated columnist and radio talk-show host, is author of Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph. He may be contacted through his website, dennisprager.com.