Jeff Sessions went to speak at Georgetown University yesterday, and students and faculty showed their “Resistance” to Donald Trump by bending down on one knee at Sessions’ arrival.
No, really, you can’t make this up.
Georgetown Law faculty arrives to take a knee in protest of Sessions’ appearance on campus. pic.twitter.com/aOEaUgAQAJ
— Will Racke (@hwillracke) September 26, 2017
When this idea was floated by multiple people on Twitter a few days ago, I thought at first it must be some kind of sardonic joke. But the left is actually following through on it. They’re going to show their defiance of Trump by kneeling before his officials as if they’re the viceroys of an absolute monarch.
This has got to be the worst “Resistance” ever.
For years, Democrats have written books and attended conferences where they tell each other that they can win every issue by “framing” it properly, setting up just the right symbolism and hitting just the right emotional chords to herd people over to their side. Yet they are now demonstrating no ability to frame anything properly. Consider the past week.
They wanted to protest “police brutality” and chose an approach immediately interpreted by more than half of the intended audience as a show of disrespect for the national anthem. That interpretation wasn’t just pulled out of a hat. Anyone who thought about it for five minutes would have grasped the danger of this ill-conceived symbolism—or anyone who listened to what Colin Kaepernick actually said when he started the kneeling craze: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”
As I put it recently, these geniuses of symbolism have “framed the issue so cleverly that they are on one side and Trump is on the other—along with the national anthem, the flag, and military veterans.”
Now they want to show their “Resistance” to Donald Trump by choosing a symbol universally associated with submission and fealty. And that’s not just as a historical matter. In recent popular culture, kneeling or bending the knee has been used in precisely this way. In Game of Thrones:
In The Avengers:
I hereby declare this political opposition to be mentally incompetent and unable to manage its own affairs.
I’m not just concern trolling here. I opposed Trump from the beginning and still criticize him very harshly now. You can look it up. Yet his main political opposition keeps acting as if they want him to be president for life.
The problem is that they are so devoted to the dogmas of their own ideological in-group that they cannot bring themselves to even check in on what anybody else thinks or to take it seriously when somebody tells them how their latest brave protest is going over with the public.
For example, the latest cover of Sports Illustrated proclaims that the kneeling protests have “united” the field of sports.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) September 26, 2017
They got what they were asking for with that, because they were immediately criticized for leaving Colin Kaepernick, the one who started this protest, out of their lineup of united athletes. But they also left out Alejandro Villanueva and all the other players who chose to stand for the anthem. And they definitely left out NFL fans. Lifelong fans and stadium workers are walking away over this. When actually asked, 64% of NFL fans say that they want players to stand for the anthem. And what about NASCAR, which has announced its intention to fire anyone who takes a knee? Is NASCAR not a sport? I’m open to that argument, by the way, but Sports Illustrated has frequently covered racing as a sport. Yet they apparently didn’t bother to include NASCAR and its fans in their delusion about the “uniting” of sports.
What makes them think everyone is so united? Because the people in the Sports Illustrated office back in Manhattan are all united on the issue, and they don’t really want to hear from anyone else.
I figured this out when I did a video interview for a Sports Illustrated special with the very nuanced and carefully neutral title, “Trump Versus Sports.” What struck me about the discussion before my segment is how everyone in that office—way up on the 60th floor somewhere, with Manhattan spread out below them—really seemed to think that we’re all having a really great conversation about race and policing because of this. But it’s a conversation they’re having with themselves. They somehow forgot that a conversation is supposed to have two sides and that maybe they should listen to the other one.
The thing that struck me after my segment is how resistant they all were to anyone bearing the message that people outside of their bubble are not having the same conversation and don’t see the protests the same way. There are big, obvious reasons why normal people would view refusing to stand for the anthem as a sign of disrespect for the country. Anyone paying attention to the reaction of viewers and fans would decide to rethink this form of protest and find some other way to make their point. But for years, the left has trained itself in the habit of assuming that the only reason anyone disagrees with them is because of racism. As a consequence, those who live in this bubble tend to reflexively dismiss anyone who brings them a contrary message from the outside world.
Their ideology and the groupthink of their closed-in peer groups insists that they show contempt for the very country and the very people they’re supposed to be winning over to their side. That’s how they can use basic symbols with such apparent incompetence and be out of step with at least half the country and still convince themselves that they’ve reached a consensus.
The result is that this political opposition is failing, badly, and we’re going to need another one.