It’s an inevitable feature of left-wing protests everywhere. As they debase our political discourse with their absurd outrage theater and riots du jour you can count on some of them yelling out “This is what democracy looks like!”
And so it was hardly surprising that at the Trump inauguration, in which more than 200 violent leftist rioters were arrested, several blocks of Washington D.C. were damaged, and Trump supporters were physically attacked, we heard the chant going up again—this time by protestors who were attempting to block citizens from attending the inauguration to celebrate another successful transfer of power from one president to the next.
A Trump supporter attempting to run the blockade shot back a perfect rejoinder. Pointing to the other side of the fence he was attempting to get to while protesters blocked his way shouting: “This is what Democracy looks like!” he said: “This is what democracy looks like, but I can’t get to it because of you!”
It was the perfect rejoinder, and the perfect antidote to the incessant anti-Trump whining of our elites and their violent shock-troops whose behavior they consistently excuse and justify, granting it a context they would never grant if mobs of conservatives behaved identically. (Fortunately we don’t) The left lost, and they lost this election at every level—state, national, and local. And no amount of organized violence or immature street theater changes that reality one bit. Whether with Trump in D.C. or with Scott Walker in Wisconsin, the left’s conspicuous public rage is a paper tiger.
To riff off of the great Tom Wolfe, the dark night of fascism is always descending on Trump supporters, but somehow it only lands on Trump opponents. Despite the hysterical Nazi/fascist analogies conjured up by our media, the story of political violence in this campaign has been one in which it has been overwhelmingly directed at Trump supporters rather than by them. It is a fact that our media and political elites stubbornly refuse to acknowledge, and similar to Black Lives Matters’ account of the incidence of inter-racial violence, the media account of partisan political violence—one of right-wing perpetrators and left-wing victims, is precisely the opposite of the truth. It’s yet another example of the left-wing’s fake news.
Here’s the reality: No matter how the left feels about it, the election and inauguration of Donald Trump is exactly what democracy looks like. Universally despised by the elites, he managed to win the support of enough Americans to win the election. He’s the President of the United States—and the left needs to deal with it, just as conservatives managed to grumble through the Obama inauguration (but without major protests, much less rioting or violence– as even the New York Times acknowledged)
But beyond that, there is a lesson that Trump’s election should teach us. Anyone who was at the GOP convention saw his numerous tributes to law and order. And anyone who watched him during the campaign saw that one of Trump’s greatest strengths, the main thing that drew otherwise skeptical conservatives to his camp, was his fearlessness in confronting leftist thuggery and refusing to play political games according to the left’s rules.
It’s been written by well-meaning conservatives here and elsewhere that the greatest challenge for conservatives during this administration is to resist the seductions of power, to make sure we don’t avoid challenging the President just because he has an “R” after his name. I respectfully but firmly disagree.
Of course, when the President does something that we feel breaks fundamentally with our values and principles; we shouldn’t hesitate to say so. But for conservatives, especially conservatives in the Washington-New York axis or other liberal enclaves, the bigger challenge is to fearlessly defend the President and his agenda even when he is unpopular. When we find ourselves criticizing the administration, we need to ask ourselves whether we are really speaking truth to power or just courting “respectability”– defending a sort of ethereal philosophical conservatism that has no contact with political reality. It’s easy to look like a “good” conservative and join the coalition of the housebroken. But Trump won because, for whatever his other faults, this was the one thing he absolutely refused to do. And nobody need worry—unlike with Obama, there will be an furiously active media, academia and NGO community that will be drawing attention to every one of Trump’s mistakes, real or imagined. Conservatives will be just one voice in that chorus.
This is what democracy looks like: Two parties honestly contesting for and advocating their values and principles; Not one party advocating its principles while the other cowers in the corner afraid that they might be called a mean name. The first one hundred days of this administration are going to present incredible opportunities for conservatives if we are bold enough to take them. And, like the anonymous Trump supporter, we need to call out the left without apology if they resort to lawless attempts to block our way.