There's a frustrating game that the left plays with conservatives. It's an Alinksy tactic called, "Make them live up to their values." Now, living up to one's values isn't a bad thing, but setting high standards ultimately means that you'll sometimes fall short.
The left loves to exploit these shortcomings--every Christian who falls short of perfection is a hypocrite; the social values candidate you voted for just got arrested for drunk driving. Haha, everything you believe and advocate is now discredited.
They got away with it for years, waving away the lies, hypocrisy, indiscretions, and criminal behavior from their own politicians while beating the right mercilessly with the missteps of their own. It's effective because the right always maintains a baseline of integrity not displayed by the left, as evidenced by comparing what happens to Republican politicians when they're caught in criminal behavior with what happens to Democrats. Republican voters and politicians reluctantly dump the malefactor while Democrats defend their guy and launch an offensive against those who demand accountability.
And then came along Trump, a guy just ripe for demonization by the left. I think it's fair to say that even his early supporters worried that the Democrats would successfully make him toxic to the general voting public with his boorish behavior, vulgarity, multiple bankruptcies and very public divorces.
But something strange happened. Not only did Donald Trump not care about attacks on his character, neither did anyone else. We saw this new paradigm assert itself over and over during the primary throughout repeated media predictions that this time he's gone to far and he's cooked.
This same indifference that helped Trump carry the election has continued into the early days of his administration. With it comes a refreshingly freeing state of mind. Personally, I don't feel in any way responsible for Trump, nor do I feel compelled to defend him against attack.
Why? Because I voted for retribution.
I stumbled across a rarity yesterday--a leftist who is curious enough about how the right thinks to read and study us.
Someone pointed this series of tweets to me after the writer linked my article, How Losing My Political Values Helped Me Gain My Freedom, as an example of the emotional state of the reactionary right.
During the Obama years, we saw a radical shift. No longer were the Tom Delays and the Rush Limbaughs of the world the exclusive targets of what Bill Clinton labeled "the politics of personal destruction." Your average citizen was now in the cross hairs as well.
I first became aware of this during the Joe the Plumber episode when the media relentlessly attacked a citizen simply for asking, on his own property where Barack Obama was a guest, a question that happened to make their Boy-King look silly.
I thought it was a one-off due to the threat that Plumber's inquiry posed, but soon after the examples piled up--the slandering of the Tea Party movement, targeting of Christian wedding photographers, the harassment of the Memories Pizza owners, etc...
Which leads me to social media, Facebook specifically.
As this dramatic shift occurred, we began to see another shift within social media, one that reached its apex during the 2016 presidential election. That was the politicization of everything, not just by the institutional left, but by the soft left as well.
Where before the voters on the left were mostly passive receivers of Cultural Marxism, they had now become active participants via propaganda, slander, social shaming, and otherizing. This meant that conservatives were now being assaulted on two fronts, both from the institutional left and the soft left.
Every conservative who is active on Facebook knows what I'm talking about. After decades of Americans keeping their politics mostly to themselves, suddenly our feeds were jammed up with political invective.
It wasn't just directed at politicians. It was personal--a relentless litany of insults and abuse, first at the Tea Party and then Trump supporters. Most of it was generalized, but the message was clear. They held our kind in contempt and didn't care who knew it. In fact, they seemed to be in a contest to see who could broadcast it the loudest.
Most conservatives were hurt by this. We tend to keep our politics relatively private, both out of decorum and respect for our relationships with people whose politics differ from ours. The message that these public posts sent to us was that our "friends" on the left didn't respect or value us enough to avoid giving offense.
As someone who has been following politics since high school, I tend not to trust my own instincts what the average voter thinks. I'm simply to close to the subject. My wife, however, is a fairly low-key traditionalist who doesn't care to immerse herself in that world and so I use her as my political weather vane.
And so I knew that there was a storm brewing when she snapped down her phone over breakfast one day after reading Facebook and told me how sick and tired she was of her friends' political posts.
"When they say those things," she fumed, "they're talking about our family."
"I'm so sick and tired of being told that I'm a bad person because I disagree with someone's position on abortion or transgender bathrooms. Who do they think they are to tell everyone what they're required to believe?"
The hurt had turned to anger and quiet resolve.
The left sought to reprimand the right. What they did was alienate it. Their social media echo chamber only served to steel conservative misgivings about Donald Trump, if for no other reason than we simply couldn't abide by being pushed around for another 4-8 years.
It's one thing to know that your friends disagree with you. It's another to realize that they think you're stupid, uneducated, a bigot, bully, sexist, jerk and everything that's wrong with the world.