Get along? Apparently no — at least until after 2020. Two examples summarize why.
"We don't need any more brown faces that don't want to be a brown voice," said U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), one-quarter of "the squad" sowing havoc among Democrats in the House. "We don't need black faces that don't want to be a black voice. We don't need Muslims that don't want to be a Muslim voice. We don't need queers that don't want to be a queer voice."
Of the Republican Party, MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes said the other day: "It must be peacefully, nonviolently, politically destroyed with love, compassion and determination, but utterly confronted and destroyed. That is the only way to break the coalition apart — Not by prying off this or that interest. They are in too deep. They have shamed themselves too much. The heart of the thing must be ripped out. The darkness must be banished."
In other words, the new progressive message is that we all must vote monolithically and predicated on our superficial appearance, religion, or sexual orientation. And the Trump base must be destroyed, though annihilated with "love" and "compassion."
Love It — Or What Actually?
All are presently shocked that Donald Trump would dare suggest that if anyone did not like the United States, then perhaps he or she might, of their own volition, consider leaving the country.
Trump apparently was directing his ire exclusively at particular first-generation congresswomen and suggesting that their anti-American furor logically might lead such unhappy U.S. citizens to consider voluntary deportation.
Perhaps no politician should ever advise American citizens with whom he disagrees to leave the country. But Trump did not suggest mandatory departures — in the manner that Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) had wanted Trump supporter and immigrant Sebastian Gorka deported.
Trump was not talking of some grand swap in the explicit fashion that NeverTrumpers have variously wished for the Trump Republican and/or white working-class base to be forcibly exported and replaced by Latin American border crossers.
So wrote Bret Stephens of the New York Times: "So-called real Americans are screwing up America. Maybe they should leave, so that we can replace them with new and better ones: newcomers who are more appreciative of what the United States has to offer, more ambitious for themselves and their children, and more willing to sacrifice for the future. In other words, just the kind of people we used to be — when 'we' had just come off the boat."
Columnist Max Boot narrowed the theme somewhat by suggesting only Republican lawmakers and grandees should be deported and replaced. "If only we could keep the hard-working Latin American newcomers and deport the contemptible Republican cowards — that would truly enhance America's greatness," Boot wrote. That's harsh. At least Chris Hayes only wishes to destroy the Trump base with love and compassion in his heart.
Trump himself post facto rebuked his rally supporters for chanting "send her back" — a likely reference to sending naturalized U.S. citizen and loud critic of America, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), back to Somalia.
But Trump's larger point was exasperation that he was tired of being constantly smeared as a racist and fascist. He was especially piqued at U.S. congressional representatives and the Left at large, who transfer their current unhappiness with America back to its very founding and innate nature — and the accompanying monotonous baggage of name-changing, statue-toppling, and nonstop censuring and boycotting.
Certainly, then, it was logical that anyone who harbored such existential animus toward the United States might take Trump's advice, end their current torment, and thus gladly and voluntarily free themselves from an oppressive land. After all, we are told migration in general is a fluid and good thing and that some 20 million entering America, even illegally, is a very good thing indeed.
Americans recently supported such anger at gross ingratitude when Southern California-residing Mexican immigrants, legal or otherwise, a few years ago booed the American soccer team of the country they most desperately sought to enter and cheered the Mexican team, whose country they had done all they could to leave.
During the Proposition 187 frenzy in California, I never quite figured out why one of my students, here illegally from Mexico, waved the Mexican flag while participating in a ritual, free-speech area burning of the U.S. flag — all to showcase his anger at being exposed to deportation to Mexico. I suggested at the time he instead just carry a handwritten placard, "Please, I will do all I can from now on legally to stay in your wonderful country."
Politically Correct Hatred
Ilhan Omar presents a most exasperating case because on the one hand she poses as an avatar of the successful immigrant, while on the other she neurotically whines that America has failed utterly to meet her expectations when she fled a Kenyan refugee camp to enter the United States.
Her fervent anti-Israelism is fueled by an equally despicable and loud anti-Semitism. And she rarely seems to acknowledge that a foreign country welcomed her in extremis, subsidized her upbringing and education, and, quite unlike her tribalist, racist, and anti-Semitic native Somalia, relegated matters of race, gender, class, and religion to insignificant status or indeed saw them as advantages to be rewarded in electing her to Congress.
Omar herself was so desperate to gain citizenship or legal residency for her apparently own British residing brother that she may well have concocted a fraudulent marriage to him. If true, she may have committed several U.S. tax and immigration felonies. And that makes her ingratitude all the more unappealing — and her present apparent exemption from legitimate federal investigative scrutiny into her possibly serial illegal conduct all the more unbelievable.
So, the larger landscape of the new age of acrimony is not a sudden loss of manners, but rather a complete progressive meltdown at the election of Donald J. Trump.
We now forget that half the country was quite upset by the 2008 election of Barack Obama, not because of his race, but out of concern that he had been the most partisan voting senator of the era in the entire U.S. Senate.
Opponents were taken aback when he boasted, shortly before his victory, about fundamentally "transforming" the country. During the campaign he had urged his supporters to take a gun to a knife fight and to "get in their faces" (which targets did he signify by "their"?), as well as writing off the Pennsylvania working class as backward gun and bible clingers, and his own grandmother as a "typical white person" (what did he mean by "typical" and did it apply to 230 million Americans?). The idea of Obama as a healer was a myth and analogous to the fable of a Noble Peace Prize winning global activist.
Obama mocked charges that Trinity Unity Church of Christ of Chicago was fueled by racism, by swearing he could no more disown Rev. Jerimiah Wright — his anti-Semitic, racist, and anti-American personal pastor, whose kindergarten banal sermons on the "audacity of hope" became the inspiration for Obama's second book than the grandmother who raised and nurtured him.
What did Obama mean when he weighed in during the Trayvon Martin affair by remarking that Martin might have resembled the son he never had? Did he need to slander the police in the Skip Gates affair or demagogue the Ferguson melodrama?
What exactly were Obama's own injunctions about knowing when to quit making lots of money, or to acknowledge that one does not build his own business, or to realize that it is not a time to profit ever to apply to his post-presidential, lucrative self — or was all that just transitory boilerplate demagoguery aimed at a particular class of which he had not quite yet joined?
Congressional Republicans and conservative media announced they wanted no part of Obama's promised radical progressive "transformation," especially his plan to nationalize health care. They nonstop promised that they would do their best to stop him.
Indeed, fringe groups at the time (including Donald J. Trump) had trafficked in crazed birther conspiracies. And the Tea Party's reason to be in 2010 was to defeat and destroy the Obama Democratic congressional majority.
Obama in the heated climate of the times was certainly attacked as a liar for his false assurances about Obamacare, and as a dunce who thought there were 57 states, that corpsmen was pronounced with a hard "p," and that Hawaii was in Asia — though no one sought to call in a Yale psychologist to ascertain whether his apparent puerile ignorance was proof of dementia.
Critics serially pounced on the fact that Obama's signature "autobiography" or "memoir" was mostly mythographic fiction. They pointed out that his past modus operandi of winning a senate election in Illinois was to count on state employees and the toady media illegally leaking the confidential divorce records of his primary and general election opponents who otherwise might well have defeated the future president.
Obama's minions were pilloried as Orwellian figures who monitored the communications of Associated Press reporters and James Rosen of Fox News, who jailed a minor videomaker to scapegoat him for the Benghazi mess, and who went after journalist critic Sharyl Attkisson. Obama likely knew that his own FBI and CIA were in violation of federal law in their zeal to ensure a Hillary Clinton continuum and the destruction of the Trump candidacy.
Republicans lost no time in blasting Obama CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper as admitted liars who had perjured themselves while under oath before Congress. They had a field day castigating Susan Rice as a serial prevaricator on matters from Benghazi and the Bowe Bergdahl circus to weapons of mass destruction in Syria. And they tried to leverage Fast and Furious, Benghazi, and scandals at the IRS, EPA, National Security Agency, Department of Veterans Affairs, and General Services Administration for political advantage. After all, that is what American politics has at times always been — a rough and mean-spirited brawl to discredit your vulnerable enemies and thereby reacquire power by winning elections.
Yet there was never a sustained and collective Republican effort to enlist the media to remove Obama from office by means other than an election.
A Contact Sport
Republicans during the transformative Obama era were content to chalk up huge wins in the 2010 and 2014 midterms, to go to court in hopes of stopping Obama's executive orders, to shut down the government if need be to stop excessive spending, to investigate scandals such as "Fast and Furious" and Benghazi, and to censure Attorney General Eric Holder.
But what they did not do was immediately declare Obama an illegitimate president or a president so foreign to their own liking that they forthwith sued in three states to overturn the election.
They did not stage a campaign to subvert the voting of the Electoral College, or introduce articles of impeachment right after his inauguration.
They did not sic the Bush Administration FBI, CIA, NSA, and Justice Department on Obama's campaign, transition, and presidency, or unleash Hollywood celebrities to virtue signal their imaginative ways of decapitating, burning, stabbing, blowing up, shooting, and punching their own president.
Conservative politicians, bureaucrats, and activists did not invoke the ossified Logan Act, the Emoluments Clause, or the 25thAmendment to remove immediately Obama from office as a traitor, crook, and a crazy.
In efforts to impeach, they did not turn loose a special counsel and over a dozen right-wing government lawyers for 22 months and $35 million worth of harassment, or obsess over their president's long (and often checkered history), as they wheeled out each week of his presidency an assortment of stale crooks, terrorists, and racists from his past — such unpleasant and indeed unhinged figures as Tony Rezko, Bill Ayers, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and Father Michael Pfleger — or go after the Obama children, all to force him from office.
When Obama essentially got caught on a hot microphone promising Russian President Medvedev that he would be flexible after his reelection on the implementation of long-planned Eastern European missile defense if Vladimir Putin would give him a little room, Republicans did not introduce articles of impeachment on grounds he was "colluding" with a foreign power by offering a quid pro quo to Russia to de facto interfere in a U.S. election: if Putin didn't cause trouble for the Obama reelection effort, then Putin got rewarded by no worries over bothersome missiles in Eastern Europe. Even if conservative forbearance derived only from pragmatic lessons from their own past ill-fated impeachment of Bill Clinton, they still did not seek to impeach Obama.
I don't remember the conservative movement labeling the majority of Americans who voted for Obama as deplorable people, as irredeemables, as the dregs of society, as Neanderthal clingers to their Bibles and guns, as typical black or brown or some such color people. Much less was there a "NeverObama" left-wing movement that repeatedly dreamed out loud of deporting the rival but hated hard-left Obama base and swapping them with illegal aliens. Mitt Romney did not go on a year-long crusade blaming dozens of things and people for his own poorly conducted 2012 presidential campaign and claiming he was "robbed."
The Antecedents of Trump Hatred
Again, by all means his opponents can, if they so wish, ridicule, caricature, and blast Trump and hope he fails. But after trying for nearly three years to destroy the president and prematurely remove him by any means necessary before a scheduled election, please do not appeal to the better angels of our nature — while deploring the new "unpresidential" behavior of Donald J. Trump for lashing out at those who sought to reduce him to a common criminal, pervert, traitor, dunce, and Satanic figure.
Such invective was always characteristic of the new progressive agenda rather than specific to Donald J. Trump. After the 2008 dismantling of John McCain into a senile lecher and reducing Mitt Romney into a tax cheat, animal tormenter, high-school hazer, elevator owner, and enabler of an equestrian wife with MS, and after George W. Bush was reduced to Nazi thug worthy of death in progressive novels, op-eds and docudramas, Donald Trump sensed that half the country had had enough and he would return slur for slur — and so may the best brawler win.
After all, in 2019, this 243rd year of our illustrious nation, most Americans are not simply going to curl up in a fetal position, apologize for the greatest nation in the history of civilization, and say, "Ah, you're right, Representatives Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Pressley, and Tlaib. It is an awful country after all — and always was."
While one may always wish that the president and his critics tone down their venom and play by silk-stocking Republican Marquis of Queensberry rules, it is hard for half the country to feel much sympathy for the Left that sowed the wind and are reaping an ever growing whirlwind.