Cancelling Half the Nation: Progressives Reach for One-Party Rule

“All animals are equal but some are more equal than others.” —Animal Farm

Heather Cox Richardson, professor of history at Boston College, wrote the following on Facebook: “In all my years of studying U.S. politics, seamy side and all, I never expected to see the name of an American president in the New York Times in a list comparing him to Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. But then, I never expected to see an American president urge a mob to storm the U.S. Capitol to overturn an election, either.”

Right off the bat, a lie is assumed in what Richardson wrote. Trump did not urge a mob to storm the Capitol to overturn an election. It was exactly the opposite. Exercising their First Amendment right to peaceably assemble and petition Congress for a redress of their grievances, hundreds of thousands of protesters were asked to walk in an orderly and nonviolent manner to the Capitol to let their voices be heard concerning white spread evidence of election fraud, illegalities, and irregularities.

The record is clear: The president asked his supporters to “peacefully and patriotically” make their voices heard. That’s what democracy looks like. If a mentally ill aspiring voice actor in a Buffalo costume heard something else that’s not the president’s fault. Yet a trial looms in the Senate and the words of the QAnon Shaman may be used to convict a man who is no longer president.

For many, if the Senate convicts, it will prove Trump did what he obviously did not: provide an insurrection. (It wasn’t even an insurrection. It was a stunt.) It will stand as a moment when our government manufactured a big lie for history. And for what purpose? How could it be for any other purpose that to weaken authentic popular movements that disrupt establishment power?

George Orwell speaks powerfully to this moment. But so does Franz Kafka. A man is being tried for something he could not possibly have done. And the punishment associated with conviction is removal from an office in which he no long sits. (See “No, You Can’t Try an Impeached Former President.”) The elites are crazy in public.

Richardson illustrates before her adoring fans the point I have been about how progressives live in an alternative reality, one where months of destructive riots over nonexistent racism (at least not the sort they claim) are glorified as the language of the unheard while a peaceful protest over a stolen election held some forty-five minutes from the Capitol justified transforming Washington DC into a green zone and forcing thousands of soldiers to sleep in a parking garage.

I remind you that Richardson is a college professor. A professor of history. Somebody who is trained in the comparative method. I assure you she is no anomaly. Many academics sleep in the same dream. It is the same dream that cocoons pundits and journalists. Even political cartoonists. The New Yorker published a cartoon carrying the title “Meanwhile at Mar-a-Lago.” One might think it was mocking delusional progressives. In reality, the delusion is too deep for self-reflection. Establishment propagandists don’t even realize how their expressions like these give the game away. Those depicted in the cartoon organized a coup to overthrow the government? Really? At the behest of Trump? There are some wild theories out there, but this is about the wildest. It’s so obviously bullshit that a high-profile cartoon meant to convey anti-Trump sentiment winds up making fun of all the people who fell for this insurrection nonsense. And progressives reflexively share it as a meme.

More disturbing that Richardson’s ideological blindness (after reading several of her Facebook posts, I wouldn’t trust her history, for the record) is the reference in her conclusion to former director of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center Robert Grenier. He is the one who made the comparison. He’s the one who moved her to write her Facebook post.

It’s a reflex of deep state habitus. Grenier, a few days ago, told the New York Times that, quoting Richardson, “the United States is facing a violent insurgency and should apply the lessons we have learned about counterinsurgency to head off political violence.” In other words, bring back COINTELPRO. Don’t know what that is? In the mid-1970s, thanks to the Church Committee hearings, our own government documented the existence of a long-running FBI program of “covert action designed to disrupt and discredit the activities of groups and individuals deemed a threat to the social order,” known as COINTELPRO. The FBI included among the program’s many targets organizations such as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the anti-Vietnam War movement, the Nation of Islam, the Black Panthers, and individuals such as Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as local, state, and federal elected officials.

In light of this, it might be surprising to hear such lunacy in self-described leftwing outlets. Loretta Ross’s “The Nazification of the Republican Party” in Counterpunch is an example of how woke ideology deranges people on the left. She sounds just like a cult member. A religious zealot. And Counterpunch published this. After absurdly asserting that the president is a “white supremacist,” Ross writes, “The Republicans are a morally bankrupt political party that supported a deranged president who brought this fragile, evolving democracy to the brink of extinction simply because they can’t stand the glacially slow and righteous empowerment of people of color and any limits on their power to amass an immoral amount of wealth.” Our country was brought to the brink of extinction? By Trump? In what universe?

Of course, Ross is a joke. It remains far more disturbing that the delusion is expressed by deep state actors. Richardson: “Grenier noted that it is a national security imperative to convict the former president and bar him from future elective office. ‘I watched as enraged crowds in the streets of Algiers, as in most Arab capitals, melted away when Saddam Hussein was ignominiously defeated in the Persian Gulf war,’ Grenier wrote. ‘Mass demonstrations in Pakistan in support of Osama bin Laden fell into dull quiescence when he was driven into hiding after Sept. 11. To blunt the extremists, Mr. Trump’s veneer of invincibility must similarly be crushed.’”

Richardson may not have expected to see this comparison, but, as disturbing as it is, it comes as no surprise to me (and, really, not to her, as her role as cultural manager is to push out establishment propaganda). Globalists see, or at least depict, all those whom they regard as standing in their way in the same light. Prominent enemies are reduced to Hitler. Their supporters portrayed as Brownshirts. It gives the national security apparatus permission to invade and wreck a country. And to make war on American citizens. That Richardson doesn’t see the problem with Grenier’s comparison, indeed leveraging it for her conclusion, tells us a great deal about the bias she brings to her work.

The Speaker of the House is of the same mind. For her, the enemy is within the House of Representatives. They are moving to expel duly-elected representatives. The Democratic Party doesn’t get to determine the democratic will of Georgia’s 14th congressional district or any other district for the U.S. House of Representatives. The voters of the district Greene represents elected her to be their congressperson. If her constituents don’t like the things she says then they can vote her out or demand her resignation. Crazy eyes Sandy Ocasio says GOP caucus made up of ‘White supremacist sympathizers,’ suggests McCarthy ‘answers’ to QAnon. (Check out this sick burn: Democrats Erupt In Anger At Fake Maxine Waters Quote On Andrew Cuomo. Waters Said It About Trump.)

It is becoming progressively easier for people to conflate the Capitol protest with the Capitol riot. Indeed, it appears to have become reflex among so many. Elites are using the conflation to punish those who attended to protest. This is wrong and dangerous. I never conflated the BLM protests, with which I disagreed, with the BLM riots, which I condemned. While I disagreed with the BLM protests (because they rested on a false premise), I defended the right of my fellow citizens to participate in them.

As Americans, we don’t get to defend the First Amendment based on whether we agree with the content of an expression or an action which that amendment protects. An American—a real American—defends free speech and peaceful assembly whatever the content or the grievance. A real American defends the right of his fellow Americans to protest the results of an election whether the affected party is Democrat or Republican—or protest systematic racism whether it exists or not. After all, people have a right to worship God, and he’s not real. Only an un-American authoritarian asshole would think it okay to punish a Christian for his faith. Or censor ridicule of Muhammad. To be sure, punishing those who participated in the Capitol riot is justice. Punishing those who attended the Capitol protest is an affront to the First Amendment. Comparing them to insurrectionists is of course protected speech. But the comparison is a metric of ideological stupidity.

Progressives might ask them how they’d feel about an assembly outside the White House petitioning for a redress of grievances, namely demanding that the Biden Administration ensure the right of the little guy to participate in financial markets and not defend Wall Street as the exclusive club of the oligarchs? Progressives obviously didn’t think the integrity of the 2020 election was a worthy reason to come to Washington DC and peacefully petition the government. Of course they would if the shoe were on the other foot. So how about the integrity of financial markets? Is that a worthy cause? Democrats and progressives have a radically different understanding of equality of judgment. For them, and this is the substance of equity, power comes before justice.

Now the hysteria is over Publix, because an heir of the family that started the business helped fund the January 6th rally. Alex Jones is implicated, as well. The rhetoric is that scoundrels funded an insurrection. First, there was no insurrection. There was a riot. Some of it was organized well before the rally. Other persons took advantage of the situation to sow chaos. It was a riot. For some, it was a stunt. Second, the rally—not the Capitol beach—was entirely in line with the First Amendment. The rioters, not even a couple of hundred strong, stood in contrast to hundreds of thousands peaceful protestors.

Progressives are trying to cancel those funded a rally to raise consciousness about election illegalities, irregularities, and fraud. When conservatives petition government for a redress of grievances, when conservatives exercise their First Amendment rights, they are to be punished. This Esquire headline echoes headlines across the media: “Here Is How Alex Jones, a Trump Campaign Fundrasier and a Grocery Store Heiress Helped Plan the Jan. 6th Rally.” It’s all about the “the rally before the deadly attack on the Capitol.” (You would never hear about the Black Live Matters rallies before deadly riots.) Conservatives are punished because they are not supposed to participate in the political process. Progressives can’t win on ideas because they’re with the corporate elite and there is a rising populist consciousness in this country. Progressives do not represent working people. On the contrary, they work to suppress the working class voice. There is a widespread myth on the left that progressives represent the proletariat. Progressive ideology is the ideology of corporate governance. If lefties don’t get that through their collective head, they will never understand why they keep losing.

This is the crazy costal elitism, progressivism, identity politics, and globalist corporatism provoke. This is a red country with blue cities. And the cities are disaster areas. But it’s the Americans in the heartland who are the problem. However many tens of millions of them there are, their opinions and values don’t count. They are in the way. Since Republicans represent them, that party must be delegitimized and marginalized. De-Nazified. The government needs to “rein in” social media, by which actors like Sandy Ocasio mean excluding conservative voices. Of course, social media is already doing that. But it is not total, and progressives envision one-party/one ideology rule.

The instinct here is profoundly totalitarian. They are pushing us towards a future not unlike the dystopia of Airstrip One. If you don’t know what that means, see George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four. If you haven’t read that book, it is time that you did.

See also, Orwell, Animal Farm.

Published by

Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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