Mark Tapson is the Shillman Fellow on Popular Culture for the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
As the militantly ignorant shock troops of a new Cultural Revolution rampage across the United States of America in an orgy of statue-toppling, cop-killing, and flag-burning, they continue to be met with a stunning lack of resistance. President Trump’s stirring Independence Day speech aside, the country’s leaders are worse than useless: Democrat politicians support the chaos, and Republican politicians generally are too feckless to take action. Conservative citizens are too law-abiding to fight fire with fire, and so the mob, stoked by the activist news media and facing no consequences for their anarchy, tears down America unopposed.
Instead of resistance, a wave of self-flagellating public apologies and corporate appeasement has swept through guilt-ridden, white America, which has simply rolled over for the violent revolutionaries of the Black Lives Matter racial extortion racket. One notable recent example of Americans embracing their own humiliation before the rabid mob: the country music band Lady Antebellum has chosen to rename itself “Lady A,” because the band members found themselves “regretful and embarrassed” by the word antebellum and its purported “associations” with the Civil War and slavery. Of course, the band didn’t pick the original name to honor slavery, but simply as a nod to the Southern antebellum-style home “where we took our first photos.” But innocuous explanations aren’t sufficient anymore, because the totalitarian left has booby-trapped the cultural landscape into a minefield of ultra-heightened racial sensitivity.
(For the same reason, and in a bid to revive their relevance, the forgotten country music trio The Dixie Chicks, who were so eager to apologize to foreign audiences for President Bush, pre-emptively dropped “Dixie” from their name. Now they’re just The Chicks. Once they realize how triggering that word is to feminists, presumably they’ll hasten to change their name to just “The.”)
It’s unclear whether anyone actually ever complained to Lady Antebellum about its name, but in any case, the members posted a cringe-inducing statement on Instagram expressing their deep sorrow “for the hurt this has caused and for anyone who has felt unsafe, unseen, or unvalued.” It’s hard for a rational person to fathom how the name of a band can cause hurt and make someone feel unsafe, unseen, and unvalued, but this is the irrational, woke world in which we find ourselves now: a culture whipped into a frenzy by political correctness and identity politics, in which supposedly “marginalized” demographic groups in the freest, least racist, and most prosperous country in history have weaponized their perceived victimhood against their perceived oppressors. It is a culture in which those “oppressors” have been indoctrinated to internalize their own racial guilt so deeply that, like the young woman in this degrading video, they do not hesitate to kneel before, beg forgiveness from, and even kiss the boots of total strangers against whom they have committed no sin.
This portion of the apologetic statement from Lady Antebellum – sorry, I mean Lady A – is revealing:
We feel like we have been Awakened, but this is just one step. There are countless more that need to be taken. We want to do better. We are committed to examining our individual and collective impact and making the necessary changes to practice antiracism. We will continue to educate ourselves, have hard conversations and search the parts of our hearts that need pruning—to grow into better humans, better neighbors.
This reads much like the scripted “confessions” extracted from political prisoners of authoritarian regimes. At least those prisoners could be forgiven for having been tortured into compliance, but in America today, the confessions gush freely, without the need for thumbscrews or beatings. Today the threat of a social media tarring-and-feathering is enough to compel a public mea culpa.
Another example: New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees became the biggest story in the sports world last month after he dared announce that he refused to disrespect the flag by taking a knee in protest, a lá Colin Kaepernick. In a sane world, this would be a completely unremarkable opinion; but in the Bizarro World of a left-dominated culture, communist Kaepernick, who wears t-shirts celebrating dictators and socks depicting cops as pigs, is feted with multimillion-dollar endorsements while Brees was denounced immediately by the Woke Mob, including some fellow athletes and even teammates. Compelled to issue a retraction and to take a metaphorical knee in apology, Brees even pushed back against President Trump, who had defended him on Twitter.
On Instagram (which seems to be the go-to platform for celebrities begging forgiveness for their complicity in the “systemic racism” supposedly plaguing our country) Bree’s wife Brittany too hastened to placate the mob. In a pathetic post that began with, “WE ARE THE PROBLEM,” she wrote, “To say ‘I don’t agree with disrespecting the flag,’ I now understand was also saying I don’t understand what the problem really is, I don’t understand what you’re fighting for, and I’m not willing to hear you because of our preconceived notions of what that flag means to us.” So now, being patriotic is apparently a misguided, “preconceived notion” grounded in white privilege. “That’s the problem,” Mrs. Brees continued, “we are not listening, white America is not hearing. We’re not actively LOOKING for racial prejudice.” She signed off with the submissive plea, “We are sorry.”
Just a thought, but maybe if you have to actively LOOK for racial prejudice, it’s not the all-consuming problem you think it is.
Yet another example: predictably, a gaggle of Hollywood semi-celebrities, all of them white (because apparently only whites need to check their racism) released a nauseating PSA in which they declare they will henceforth “take responsibility” for their own evil whiteness. As Breitbart News notes, “The I Take Responsibility website includes a ‘take the pledge’ tab, which leads users to a separate page where they’re asked to ‘take responsibility for’ everything from ‘denying white privilege exists’ to ‘saying I don’t see color.’” So treating everyone the same is now considered racist, and denying you are racist is racist too. According to the left’s Critical Race Theory, everything whites do or don’t do, and say or don’t say, is racist, so only self-abasement like that exhibited in this PSA is acceptable – although one thing appeasers never understand is that no amount of abasement will ever be enough for the self-righteous totalitarians of the unforgiving Cancel Culture. Like the fundamentalists of the Islamic State, they demand your submission, but submitting to them only earns their contempt and further demands.
More examples abound. Some police units around the country have knelt to show solidarity with the very protesters who call for their abolition, who hurl verbal abuse (and worse) at officers, and who would happily see them dead. White “allies” of the anti-capitalist, anti-American Black Lives Matter organization kneel publicly to demonstrate their own virtuous self-loathing. House Democrats, draped cluelessly in the colors of an African tribe that enslaved other black Africans, kneel in Congress. Insanely, city councils are beginning to defund police departments. Corporate America is falling all over itself to virtue-signal and buy protection from race-hustling bullies by hurling hundreds of millions of dollars at “racial justice” organizations, which then funnel much of the money to Democrat political campaigns. The NBA has approved social justice messages for team uniforms. The NFL has agreed to play two national anthems prior to games: one that previously applied to all Americans and one specifically for black Americans. Could anything be more divisive in this country than to accept this treasonous notion that we are two countries now, black and white?
The time is long past for this repulsive groveling at the feet of the social justice mob, today’s heirs of the savage Chinese Red Guard, to end. It is time for American patriots to turn the tide against the hateful race agitators, the masked anarchists, and the Marxist subversives terrorizing our nation and wreaking a destructive, “fundamental transformation” of the United States. That includes not just the demonic foot soldiers of the mob itself, but their enablers in academia, the news media, the entertainment arena, and political office.
It’s not enough anymore for our side to share snarky social media memes ridiculing social justice snowflakes; the time for joking about this cultural upheaval is over, because the other side has taken it very, very seriously for half a century, and those snowflakes are now waging a scorched-earth policy against every American institution and value.
What then do we do? There is much more to be said about that than I can include here, for both short-term and long-term action. But here are some suggestions:
First and foremost, get off our knees. As my friend and colleague, historian Bruce Thornton, noted recently on FrontPage Mag, free American citizens do not bow and scrape before any man, any mob, any tyrannical ideology. Forget trying to placate and to reason with the leftist mob; neither is possible. Simply resist and fight. If you give the left an inch, they will take mile after mile after mile. Do not give them that inch.
Speak the truth fearlessly, every day and everywhere, and never apologize for it. Teach your children the truth, and demonstrate to them what courage and integrity look like by standing up for it. Speaking of your kids: take them out of public schools (and even many private schools) at the earliest possible opportunity and commit, no matter the sacrifice, to homeschooling them – or you will lose them in the indoctrination mills of the left.
Do not kowtow to the power-lust of petty Democrat despots like governors Gretchen Whitmer, Andrew Cuomo, or Gavin Newsom, whose coronavirus strategy is to release felons from prison and allow mass, violent protests while cracking down on law-abiding citizens for singing in church. Commit to civil disobedience against their unreasonable dictates – and to uncivil disobedience if it comes to that.
Take a leaf from the Left’s playbook and community-organize. Organize to flood your representatives, local and national, with emails and calls demanding they take immediate, concrete actions to protect our heritage, defend the police, and enforce law and order. For that matter, take another leaf from the leftist playbook and pack their offices with noisy protesters who refuse to leave until our demands are met. Those demands are to stop hamstringing law enforcement and start protecting the community’s citizens, businesses, and monuments. Show up armed, if your state allows open-carry. Support law enforcement and other first responders in word and deed. Tell every cop you know and see that Blue Lives Matter and you respect and appreciate them for putting their lives on the line.
To trace our way back to some measure of sanity, civility, and security in America, the collectivist, racist, divisive mentality of identity politics that has spread like a cancer in this country must be eradicated. Reject this ideology wherever it rears its ugly head. Push back against your children’s teachers and administrators when it is taught in the schools. Call it out in the workplace, consequences be damned; silence and keeping your head down will no longer save you. Reject the ideology when you make your shopping choices. When corporations send you emails notifying you of the steps they’re taking to help achieve “racial justice,” email back and ask them how their virtue-signaling on behalf of anti-Semitic, black supremacist communists like Black Lives Matter helps ease racial tensions. Boycott and down-vote any entertainment featuring elitist celebrities who loudly proclaim their contempt for this country and for the people who love it. Boycott the NBA and protest their racial division outside their arenas at game time. Boycott the NFL, especially the Super Bowl. Boycott Nike and its hate-mongering spokesman Colin Kaepernick.
The time for smug complacency about our side “having all the guns” is over, unless we’re willing to actually use those guns in defense of our country and our freedoms, and not just our homes. If you are a gun owner (and if not, why aren’t you?), hone your skills and, as my friend the columnist Kurt Schlichter always advises, stock up on ammunition. Create networks of friends, relatives, and neighbors you trust and formulate a multi-stage plan for having each other’s backs in various scenarios in which the shit hits the fan – because if the mob hasn’t reached your neighborhood yet, don’t assume they’re not coming. When the lily-white, nose-pierced assistant professors of Antifa in their skinny jeans are confronted by organized resistance, they wet themselves.
Don’t sit back and expect this communist takeover of the United States to fizzle out; it will not. Don’t expect the current madness to ensure a Trump landslide in November, either; in fact, what you can expect is massive Democrat voter fraud, and if Trump survives that, there will be violent resistance surpassing anything we’ve seen so far. So the time to act is now. It is time for patriots to show that we love our country more deeply than its enemies hate it.
* * *