“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
There is no question that the deep political divisions torn through our national fabric for 8 years under Barack Obama made the election of Donald Trump inevitable. There is also no question that Donald has brought his own particular brand of polarizing politics to the Oval Office, not the least of which being his childish habit of responding to any and all criticism with petulant whining and petty insult that might at one time have shamed his millions of supporters into silence. This, quite obviously, is no longer that time.
This begs the question of how the American right came to be such an unabashed reflection of the American left’s worst stereotypes? The answer begins with the contentious finale of the 2000 presidential elections. After the Gore v Bush decision in 2000, despite all of the scandals, the infidelities, and the rising partisan wrangling, Democrats became convinced they were somehow wrongly cheated out of another 8 years of power in Washington.
After all, the economy seemed to be on track (thanks to the compliant media minimizing the bursting dot com bubble), the incumbent president seemed to be popular (thanks to the compliant media minimizing the revolving door of White House scandals), and the world seemed to be at peace (thanks to the compliant media minimizing the rising threat if Islamic Jihadism). How could an insurgent political campaign by then Governor George W. Bush usurp the heir apparent, Vice President Al Gore?
Just 16 years ago, the Al Gore lost because the Democrats had vastly underestimated the desire “to restore honor and dignity” to the Oval Office after 8 years of scandal. Oh, what a difference 8 short years under Obama has made.
“I did not have sexual relations with
that woman, Miss Lewinsky.”
It was in no small part because of the media’s muted reporting of Clinton scandal after scandal that caused American voters in even swing states to demand better from their White House, and they didn’t believe anyone attached to the Clintons could deliver. George W. Bush ran on that “something better” and won because he wasn’t part of the intolerably corrupt Clinton machine. The Democrat political apparatus, however, did not go quietly into the night.
The American media gorged themselves on the political blood of the Bush administration during his first months of office, attacking him constantly on every issue, from his quirky speech patterns to his political policies. Bush weathered the ceaseless criticism with the quiet fortitude that was the hallmark of presidents going back to Washington, with few exceptions, and a cordial Texas charm that was all his own. Then, on one sunny and clear Tuesday morning in September, everything changed.
Amidst the despair and horror of the ash and smoke of where the Twin Towers once stood, that quiet fortitude became fierce resolve, and a peace time president that had run on tax cuts and domestic policy reform became a war time president. For the Democrats, Bush was suddenly unassailable, at least unless the Democrats wanted to risk looking as though they were trying to undermine the president’s leadership while America was at war.
The American media, however, had the story of the century to cover, and, just two years later, would have the ammunition they needed to begin what would become the media’s main weapon against Bush: The Second Iraq War.
“The first casualty when war comes is truth.”
-Hiram W. Johnson-
In the year and half between the start of the Iraq War in 2003 and the election in 2004, the mainstream media went all in on defeating Bush. Dan Rather reported an unsubstantiated narrative attacking Bush’s Vietnam service record that backfired on him, CBS News, and broadcast journalism. Cable news outlets spent precious political capital on assassinating Bush’s character and defending John Kerry’s flailing campaign. Even NPR, after decades of feigned nonpartisan reporting, became openly critical of Bush.
Which stories mainstream media would report and which they would not depended on if it benefited the Democratic Party as much as it did on ratings. Unfortunately for the media and the Democratic Party, the truth won out. After George W. Bush handily won reelection in 2004, despite the combined attacks on “his” Iraq War by the Democratic politicians and their allies in the media, the Democrats finally became completely unhinged.
Radical elements within the Democratic Party realized it was no longer enough to merely have a compliant media. They needed to have a complicit media and to completely control the cultural narrative. It couldn’t be about journalism anymore. The future of their party was in propaganda. With the help of their younger demographics, the Democrats soon fully integrated their platform into the rise of social media platforms, such as Facebook (2004) and Twitter (2006).
The propaganda “meme” war against Bush and the Republican Party was on, and they were taking no prisoners.
“George Bush doesn’t care about black people.”
From that point on, it wasn’t enough to merely suggest that Republican policies failed to address the needs of minority communities (whether they did or not), or that Republican attempts to defend religious liberty and family values might cause discomfort to those with alternate life styles or beliefs, or that Republican attempts to trim entitlement spending might cause economic difficulty for the poor. The policies became “racist“, “homophobic“, “greedy“, “agist“, “sexist“, and “fascistic“.
With “Republicans are racist, homophobic, sexist, greedy, agist, bigots” on full blast, the left elevated the least qualified human being they could possibly find to run for president, Barack Obama. For 8 long years, any criticism of Obama, no matter how well founded or from what quarter it came, was dismissed as the angry rambling of bigots and racists. Dissent was not only not tolerated, it was openly persecuted.
Innocent Americans were treated as though they were complicit of the worst injustices of the past and present, and once it became obvious that they were convicted of gross bigotry no matter how they acted, most simply stopped caring. Embracing the mantle of “racist, homophobic, sexist, greedy, agist bigots“, these people elevated the least qualified human being they could possibly find to run for president, Donald Trump.
“The creatures outside looked from pig
to man, and from man to pig, and from
pig to man again; but already it was
impossible to say which was which.”
Never in the history of the presidency has there been a man so totally unconcerned with “honor and dignity“, whose claim to infamy was based almost entirely upon personal infidelity, an obscene obsession with his own personal wealth, shameless self promotion, and a callous vindictiveness that still defies definition. As the left and right tussle in the mud beneath the golden pig, both sides have falsely laid claim to the high road.
What is just, what is honorable, and what is dignified has long since been abandoned by both major political parties. Out of their evil, nothing good can come, so our only salvation lies in abandoning them to their petty mud slinging. As conservatives, we must rededicate ourselves to the principles of Liberty, not to dirty politics, and to Justice, not to vile slander. We must patiently and mindfully take the road less traveled: the high road.
While both high and low roads will have the same destination, it is which path we chose in getting there that defines who we are once we reach it.
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