By Steve Woodward
Not long ago, two people in complete disagreement might have exchanged accusations of one being misinformed or closed-minded, or one simply would dismiss the other as a “jerk”. Then, on to the next tee. But when this author’s reputation was compromised recently by The Pilot newspaper, which published a private e-mail communication from me as a “letter-to-the-editor”, I experienced for myself the new age of 24/7 identity politics.
In subsequent published letters by readers, and elsewhere, I was labeled “racist, bigoted, angry, intolerant, ignorant, vile, hateful, and ugly” and my email content was called out as “discriminatory” and “inflammatory”.
And, because people are increasingly paralyzed by a fear of being associated with such labels, fellow members of a community service organization urged that I apologize or be reprimanded so they would not be seen as “complicit” with my viewpoints.
Although nothing in my exposed private commentary so much as bordered on racially charged rhetoric, and certainly did not include ethnic slurs of any kind — it was merely pointed, verifiable criticism — we are learning that this demonstrates the new normal of how the left and its socialist fringe members move to swiftly punish ideological opponents. Destroy, don’t denounce. Assassinate character, ask questions later. The late Saul Alinsky, author of “Rules for Radicals”, urged unrelenting ridicule of Americans and their values.
Frequent readers of The Pilot know that I am an avowed defender of American values, the Constitution, Conservatism, the Republican Party and President Trump. So it is logical that a recent flurry of criticism by these same readers would contain all of the left’s favorite buzzwords intended to silence people with whom they disagree.
Writing for The Wall Street Journal, Heather Mac Donald observes that Trump, his supporters and the so-called white privileged in general, are persistently accused of racially charged divisiveness. Yet, “it is the media and Democrat leaders who routinely characterize individuals and groups by race and issue race-based denunciations of large parts of the American polity.”
As baseless accusations escalate the sad truth is that most Americans, even the most proud and loyal, will shrink into silence, afraid of earning a label, albeit unwarranted. Where does it end? Someone posts a scathing critique of a restaurant after a terrible dining experience. It’s an Asian sushi house or a black-owned BBQ joint. Racist! An employer asks an employee to cover garish tattoos on his arms and wash his hair. Bigot! Get out and vote for a pro-Christian, pro-traditional marriage, anti-abortion Republican. Inflammatory! Hate speech! Co-exist!
You are not even safe at church. This week, a 49-person delegation comprised of Brownson Presbyterian Church members, along with local black faith leaders, is traveling by bus to Washington, DC. Brownson is a predominantly white church, but to my knowledge has no history of prohibiting black or Hispanic congregants. Nonetheless, the stated itinerary of the trip focuses on visits to “civil rights monuments and museums … and a daily Bible study … to improve lines of communications within our community.” No time for the Lincoln or Jefferson memorials, or The Smithsonian. Nothing to see there.
The promotion of the bus trip was kicked off over a period of several weeks from the pulpit, and included a guest sermon by the author of a book entitled, “Waking Up White”. It is an apologetic tome in which she regrets her upbringing amidst “white privilege.” Left unsaid by religious leaders, black and white, is the obvious reality that God determines the race of everyone of us. Furthermore, American society has long accepted the existence of the “black church” absent a hint of malice. But God help anyone who identifies as a member of a “white church”.
A former newspaper known as The New York Times recently announced it is launching The 1619 Project. It is not actually a project, it is a take down, the ultimate denunciation of the legitimacy of the United States of America, and the expansion of a narrative that Trump and his past and future supporters are virulent racists. Here’s the premise:
“The 1619 Project is a major initiative from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.”
What, you do not subscribe to The New York Times? Racist.