I recorded Dan Yorke State of Mind today, responding to Phil Eil’s insistence that Trump Press Secretary Sean Spicer is “a disgrace to Rhode Island,” and Dan and his producer noted something interesting: Apparently, they’re finding it very difficult to get pro-Trump, or even Trump-friendly or Trump-lukewarm guests on the show.
It reminds me of when, immediately after Rhode Island legislators used government to redefine the millennia-old institution of marriage for our local society, and WPRI’s Newsmakers program couldn’t find people to argue the other side, so it fell to me. Plenty of people agree with my positions, but for some reason, our civic society isn’t producing very many willing to step forward as representatives.
One could make too much of a few data points, so take my speculation, here, as a hypothetical that points to trends for which to watch, but I wonder if it has something to do with the political environment, locally. I mentioned on the show how outrageously like an anti-Trump tabloid the Providence Journal has become, and that sort of treatment has to have an effect on the sorts of people who go on TV talk shows. Even if you’re willing to cater to the not-insignificant Trump-voting electorate in Rhode Island, making one’s self a target as a pro-Trump talking head could be hazardous.
I also raised a warning to mainstream liberals that it’s dangerous to make your opponents’ mere existence an affront to decency. I speak from personal experience, here: If the only thing that will make me acceptable to somebody else is if I decline to advocate for my beliefs publicly, then I can advocate for my beliefs without restriction once I’ve decided to do so. I’m not going to lose those other people or cross some new line by going too far, because the first step was already too far for them.
If this were merely a social phenomenon, that would be dangerous enough, but we’re arguably on the cliff’s edge of seeing this social dynamic become a freedom-squelching principle of government. Kurt Schlichter puts it well:
Do you think Hillary Clinton or whatever aspiring Hugo Chavez they offer up next is going to protect us from violent leftist thugs, or encourage them? Remember how Obama weaponized agencies like the IRS against conservatives? Multiply that by a thousand. Think about the “hate speech” rules used to silence conservatives on campus; imagine them as federal law. That’s coming, just like in Europe – it’s now a crime in France to speak out against abortion. Do you imagine leftists don’t dream of doing that? No, once back in power they will ensure we will never be able to challenge their rule. One man (or woman or other), one vote, one more time, then never again.
The challenging question is: So, what do we do? Unless we do something similarly totalitarian from a right-wing angle, eventually the leftists will get their hands back on the reins, and becoming what we hate should not be an option. That’s how souls are lost.
Honestly, an answer to my question is frustratingly elusive, despite a great deal of thought. About the best I’ve come up with so far is: work local and personally. Talk to people who disagree with you. Provoke them from time to time, but mainly for the opportunity of discourse. Ultimately, enough of them must be convinced not to allow what their more vocal allies have proven willing to do.
Change minds one by one. Like saving souls, it’s the only way. And every one of us who stands up to liberals’ fascist groupthink makes it that much easier for somebody else to stand up, as well.