Time to Drop 'The Right'
There is something we conservatives do all the time that has to stop, because it is causing us great harm. We can no longer refer to ourselves or allow ourselves to be characterized as people of the "right."
I personally don't know any Republican or conservative who wants to be associated with any Unite The Right campaign that draws us into the same circle as hooded, cross-burning, boot-clicking, swastika-clad purveyors of hate. But that is precisely what the left is trying to do.
We are actually people of the middle – the middle of America and the middle of sound policy. We are on the right only because it is advantageous for the left to paint us with the same brush as totalitarian regimes, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, the KKK, and now the alt-right (a new scary term used by the left to connect all of that dreck with run-of-the-mill conservatives, Tea Partiers, Trump supporters, blue-dog Dems, and traditional Republicans).
According to History.com, it all started with the French. Mais bien sûr! While drafting a constitution and debating how much power King Louis XVI should have, the anti-royalists sat to the left in the assembly hall, while those supporting a strong monarchy sat to the right – or the commoners were on left and the aristocracy on the right. This alone should disqualify any conservative from identifying with the "right," given that we seek to decentralize power in the government, rein in government largesse, and generally advocate for the common man versus political elites.
Over the decades, we have allowed the left to advance the fiction that they are for the little guy. If nothing else, that's the beauty of Trump. He is systematically exposing the press and the Democrats for the naked emperors they are – wrapped in claims of being the champion for the average Joe when, in fact, they control the commoners for their personal political and economic benefit.
Eventually, this right-left seating arrangement migrated to America in the 20th century along with omelette du fromage and voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir, and the rest is, as they say, histoire.
But seriously, how do we change this paradigm? It's not easy when we have to battle the Democrat-Media Leviathan, but it starts small, with each of us bringing this to light in his political conversations with others. Eventually, conservative bloggers, commentators, and journalists must follow suit. And, ideally, our politicians should do the same – I'm just not convinced they have the emotional fortitude or political courage to do so.
Conservative pundits should regularly challenge anyone who refers to conservatives or Republicans as "right" or "right-wing." They should simply respond comme ça:
We conservatives and traditional Republicans are not on the "right" as long as Democrats and liberals insist on aligning us with the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and the alt-right – all groups whose views are inimical to anything we believe. Conservatives and traditional Republicans are not of the left or right but of the people. Our policies promote the most freedom and the most prosperity for the most people, with the least amount of government.
If the networks allow for more time, this should be tied in to whatever policy discussion is on the table. If not, c'est la vie. The left never hesitates to forego a substantive policy discussion in order to promulgate their propaganda du jour (aka talking points). Democrats could be engaged in a discussion about Pluto or A.I., the latest exhibit at the Louvre or the parade of stars at Cannes, and they'll find a way of beating the Trump and Russia drum. Find a Democrat on TV, and all you will hear is his or her endless blabber about chaos in the White House. Charlottesville? These were Trump people, n'est-ce pas?
If you are a radio talk show host interviewing someone who characterizes us as the "right," stop him right there and say, Hey, Jim. We aren't people of the right.
From now on, instead of saying "for those of us on the right," we should say: For those of us aligned with [take your pick] the little guy, the average Joe, the forgotten heartland, the neglected urban masses, the minorities, the poor and the downtrodden held captive by oppressive Democrat policies...
The vice mayor of Charlottesville, Wes Bellamy, told CNN's Wolf Blitzer, "This [has] now become a nationwide issue when you see these white [supremacists] under the guidance of their president, number 45, they have become empowered and emboldened[.]" Stating that this is an opportunity for Trump to grow as president, Bellamy continued: "So 45, we're looking for your leadership. Condemn the white [supremacist] attacks. Condemn these domestic terrorists. Tell them to leave. You're their leader. Stand up."
Like most good Democrats, Mr. Bellamy denounced the hate and violence of the Unite The Right crowd but ignored the same from counter-protesters. He didn't like the fact that our president had condemned both.
But sweeping Unite The Right's First Amendment rights under the rug, as countless left-wingers demand – either through legislation or mobs storming a press conference and physically suppressing speech, as they did in Charlottesville – actually fans the flames of resentment. The more these groups are driven underground, the bolder and angrier they will grow as dutiful Nazis and Klansmen wonder why left-wing violence and vitriol are tolerated but theirs is not.
Like most decent people, I abhor the Black Lives Matter, Occupy Wall Street, and Antifa movements as much as I detest the groups behind the Unite The Right rally. Like most, my heart goes out to the family of the woman killed in the riots. I wish I lived in a world where none of these maniacs existed. But they do, so I want to hear all they have to say. I want to see them at their marches and rallies. I want to know where they live and work. Let them freely assemble – left, right, anarchist, fascist. The more they are all exposed, the more likely they will all be rebuked by honorable people. Wasn't it liberal Justice Brandeis who said "sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants"?
The lesson from all of this free speech hoopla should be that all political speech is permissible – however offensive – and can be denied only in limited circumstances. Instead, the free-speech takeaway from Charlottesville is that if left-wing factions decide that certain speech – even objectionably reprehensible speech – should be prohibited and that is a social good, they can use any means available to stifle even constitutionally protected speech.
When the left shuts down speech, it is social justice being enforced by freedom-loving warriors exercising their First Amendment rights in healthy protest against hate. When conservatives shut down speech or protests...wait, when do we ever do that?
Until stodgy conservatives and traditional Republicans stuck in the old ways realize that we are in a war as much about ideology and policy as it is about words – a war as much in the streets as it is on paper, on screens, and in cyberspace – we will never gain ground.
It won't happen overnight. We'll have to hijack the conversation and often forego input on pressing topics. After a while, certain pundits who stick to this tactic will be ousted from their CNN or NPR gigs. But eventually, we will no longer refer to ourselves as right-wingers and inadvertently align ourselves with people hostile to everything we hold dear and true.
My youngest son was horrified, as was I, with Charlottesville. Yet I was happy to see that he understood that these reprobates are still entitled to their First Amendment rights and that if we outlaw this or that group from speaking, all we do is foment their hate. If they are permitted to be out and upfront, everyone can see them for who they are and publicly and openly debate the issues. You cannot fight what you cannot see. Moreover, he seemed to understand that once you start outlawing one group, you open the floodgates to outlawing any group.
But I'm certain that if he hadn't had us as parents, he would have reflexively followed his marching orders from the Democrat-Media Complex and thrown all conservatives, Tea Partiers, and traditional Republicans in with the alt-right. Not every Pajama Boy and government-dependent Julia has a conservative parent to look to as a reference point.
But I'm just one parent, and our president can't go it alone. Time for all of us to punch back. Bonne chance, mes amis.
Any mistakes in French are the fault of the left wing (Google Translate).