Taylor Swift has gotten herself into some trouble over the past year or so, not necessarily for anything she has said or done, but rather for what she hasn’t said or done. Specifically, she has not chosen to join the bevy of celebrities and social media superstars in declaring that every little thing President Trump does or says is going to result in the immediate extinction of mankind.
I was alerted to this over the last few days or so, when Swift expressed her gratitude for what was a personally fulfilling year. As you can see from that article, she was destroyed for this on Twitter, by leftists who deemed her callous for not seeing 2017 as anything but the worst year in human history, because of President Trump, and other developments which were distasteful to their leftist sensibilities.
This led me to finding out that quite a few people harbored disappointment in the pop superstar for her silence in these matters. Her recognition by Time magazine as a ’silence breaker’ in their year end review of 2017 was roasted by The Daily Beast. The same publication has put out at least three other articles (here, here and here) in the past 12 months blasting Swift for not going all in on the Social Justice Warrior warpath in the same manner as the likes of Lena Dunham, Katy Perry and Ashley Judd, who have denounced the President, and for that matter any political views to the right of Mao.
The main argument espoused by these critics is that Swift’s silence is tantamount to support of the President. Others in entertainment have been subjected to this crude analysis. Jimmy Fallon took a big hit because he had Trump on his show prior to the election, and instead of destroying him, he merely had a normal late night TV style conversation with him. He didn’t lecture Trump like he was a schoolboy, and in later months he didn’t necessarily dedicate his show to being the 664865145th Bash Trump Show on television. Because of this, Fallon was hit with ‘backlash’ in the months following Trump’s victory, to the point some thought he might lose his gig as the host of the Tonight Show.
In sports, Tom Brady has been criticized for having a MAGA hat in his locker, and being longtime friends with Trump, despite explicitly wanting to keep his politics out of the limelight. In October, Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was criticized for visiting the White House to be honored by the President for June’s Stanley Cup victory.
The fact that Crosby has not mentioned anything about politics, not to mention the fact that he is Canadian means little to those leftists who won’t rest until any and everyone says a Pledge of Allegence to #TheResistance. Consider the rationale for denouncing Crosby, and the Penguins’ White House visit:
Perhaps Crosby feels, somewhat justifiably, that he is absolved of American political responsibility as a non-citizen. I can empathize; I, too, sometimes feel removed from American problems because my true home is north of the border. But nobody, especially not a white sports hero like Sidney Crosby with the privilege to influence millions, can afford to be apolitical in these extraordinarily divisive and charged times.
Gone are the days of Michael Jordan intelligently noting that ‘Republicans buy sneakers too.’
Of course, this silence-is-complicity dynamic exists in politics, but instead of silence being considered as a marker of evil, it is mere disagreement, let alone vigorous debate or counterattacking that is sufficient to be charged. Going back to Swift, one of the aforementioned Daily Beast articles accused her of “trying to literally silence the press” because she threatened legal action against a blogger who painstakingly analyzed her lyrics haughtily declaring that they were evidence of Swift’s closet white supremacist views.
President Trump has been embroiled in this sort of dynamic for the majority of his political career. The press, or someone on the left (but I repeat myself) will attack Trump. Trump, in his combative manner will respond, and then some. The press will then accuse Trump of ‘silencing the press,’ or proving himself to be a threat to Democratic Norms, and other such nonsense.
The recent furor over the way Rex Tillerson is apparently changing the State Department is another example of this Threat of The Disagreement. Consider this excrement from The New Yorker:
In only ten months, Tillerson, the former C.E.O. of ExxonMobil, has presided over the near-dismantling of America’s diplomatic corps, chasing out hundreds of State Department employees and scaling back the country’s engagement with the world. Most alarming has been the departure of dozens of the foreign service’s most senior officials—men and women who had spent their careers living and working abroad, who speak several languages, and who are experts in their fields. As I detailed in my recent Profile of Tillerson, he came into the job proposing to cut the State Department’s budget by a third, with plans to eliminate more than a thousand jobs and dramatically scale back the already measly sums America spends on refugees, democracy promotion, women’s rights, and the prevention of H.I.V.
Considering the vast damage institutions such as the State Department, with its cadre of unelected bureaucrats, have inflicted on all four corners of the globe over the last five or six decades, it is perhaps for the betterment of everyone that America reduce its ‘engagement with the world.’ Indeed, President Trump won in part because of his pledge to be the president of America rather than the World. ‘Democracy promotion,’ is a very nice way of saying ‘trillion-dollar foreign wars in which young Americans die in some foreign ditch for no real reason.’ We could do with less of that.
How dare Tillerson scale back an agency which has been used to promote questionable neoconservative and leftist social justice causes across the globe?
The larger issue here is that those who would consider themselves our cultural betters have affixed to their beliefs the status of The Truth, by fiat. What is accomplished by this is the elevation of what really are mere opinions to base maxims of the sort that are the foundation of the country, thus in theory unassailable.
And so when Trump disagrees with this or that leftist talking point, and vehemently to boot, there is a collective shock that permeates the commentariat. How dare Trump express views which aren’t in agreement with the one Truth that is Leftism in all its forms? How dare Taylor Swift not instantly condemn Trump despite having no reason to voice an opinion, and furthermore how dare Taylor Swift disagree when she is declared to be a white supremacist? How dare Sidney Crosby, a white man, turn up to the White House to accept praise from Trump?
The fact that leftism has gone without a real challenge for multiple decades, and in particular through the Obama years, has rendered the nascent Trump era to be nothing short of a hammer blow through the sensibilities of most leftists. Many still haven’t come to terms with the fact that Trump really is the president, and more fundamentally that the Leftist Truth is not held as such by a YUGE swath of America.
This explains the drive to gather up the ranks among leftists in the Trump-era, making any and every one explicitly make known their allegiances.
If it is indeed true that
nobody, especially not a white sports hero like Sidney Crosby with the privilege to influence millions, can afford to be apolitical in these extraordinarily divisive and charged times
then the United States is heading down a very dangerous path indeed. As an aside, note the irony in acknowledging the divisive and charged times yet advocating a mandatory ‘political doxxing’ which would do nothing but establish more explicit divisions. But if being politically aloof, or if disagreement with the prevailing orthodoxy is blasphemous, then the majority of Americans are evil people, according to the left.
It sets up a situation in which the left will #Resist anything that isn’t the Cultural Marxism dial turned all the way past 10, while the rest of us rolls our eyes. The danger is that if it isn’t possible to subdue #TheResistance through dank memes and constant ridicule such that it becomes marginalized over time, it will double and triple down, creating the conditions for an American Civil War 2.0.
I hate to be so dramatic, and hopefully it doesn’t come to that, but the cyclical nature of history suggests that a massive conflict on that scale is afoot. Only to be avoided if we can somehow, collectively dare to allow the muliti-decade Cultural Marxist paradigm slide into irrelevance.