Well la-dee-dah. The House votes to condemn ‘President Trump for his “racist comments” about four Democratic congresswomen of color.’
First, I am glad that ‘racist comments’ was in scare quotes. Why? Because there was nothing racist about the president’s tweets inviting creeps like Somali-born Rep. Ilhan Omar to leave the United States if she doesn’t like it here.
Second, I wish people would give the phrase ‘people of color’ a rest. Everyone is a color — even, I suppose, Albinos (is that ‘racist’ now, too?). I, for example, am a pleasing pink.
But the fact that someone is dark-skinned imparts to him no special virtue, just as the fact that someone is Caucasian saddles him with no special liability.
Except, alas, that it does. At least in the racist court of identity politics.
Please note the absence of scare quotes around ‘racist’ this time. It is one of the signal moral and intellectual deformations of our time that many people strain every action through the sieve of racial redress. The result is that a pretended campaign against racism is fueled by a thoroughly racist imperative. Remember that the next time someone condemns the phantom of ‘white supremacy.’ It is a category as vacuous as ‘counter-revolutionary’ for a paid-up Jacobin or ‘bourgeois capitalist’ for a Marxist.
I generally agree that the habit of dividing the world into people who do or think X and people who do or think the opposite is sloppy and unilluminating. But I am struck (as I have often been struck when the subject is Donald Trump) by how starkly divided is the response to the president’s tweets about the ‘Squad,’ the loud-mouthed, stunningly ill-informed, freshman representatives who have soaked up most of the limelight and press coverage over the past several of months.
I am also struck by how divided the world of the chattering class is about the president’s recent tweets. It all started a couple of days ago with this fusillade:
‘We will never be a Socialist or Communist Country. IF YOU ARE NOT HAPPY HERE, YOU CAN LEAVE! It is your choice, and your choice alone. This is about love for America. Certain people HATE our Country…They are anti-Israel, pro Al-Qaeda, and comment on the 9/11 attack, “some people did something.” Radical Left Democrats want Open Borders, which means drugs, crime, human trafficking, and much more.’
Several friends wrote to ask what I thought. ‘I like it,’ I said, or words to that effect. So did they, and they, by the way, were a diverse group (that’s good, right? Diversity is good?). We all agreed that the president’s follow-up today was also the stuff to give them:
‘Our Country is Free, Beautiful and Very Successful. If you hate our Country, or if you are not happy here, you can leave!’
This sent National Review’s Pastor David French right around the bend, but then I think that around the bend is where Pastor French lives. Indeed, his incontinent and hyper-moralistic rage over the president’s comments made me wonder (not for the first time) whether he was not, as advertised, a conservative commentator but rather a ‘woke’ progressive plant insinuated into the venerable pages of NR in order to wreak havoc. Judging by the comments to his posts, I conclude that many of the magazine’s readers agree with me.
But there are plenty of ordinary intelligent mortals who were aghast at the president’s tweets. One savvy friend opined that above all they were ‘stupid’ because they played into the hands of his enemies. There might be something to that. After all, she of the fancy head dress, Rep. Ilhan Omar, is yapping about ‘impeachment’ today.
Maybe the tetrarchy of AOC, Omar, and the other two ladies whose names I forget will be able to drive Donald Trump from office because he tweeted something they find offensive. The economic performance of the country, the stunning unemployment figures, the energy independence of the country, the judicial appointments, the roll-back of onerous regulation, the dazzling stock market — forget all that: Donald Trump said something these moist and agitated anti-Semites don’t like. Definitely grounds for impeachment.
About this, at least, I think everyone can agree. Donald Trump is a polarizing figure. I do not have the opportunity to hob nob with many NeverTrumpers. But I have plenty of friends who find themselves, faute de mieux, wary Trump supporters. They tend to take a dim view of the meme (I think we’re supposed to call it a ‘meme’) that Trump is playing eight-dimensional chess while the rest of us slobs are trying to edge a pawn forward. I think that is probably right. But another friend who enthused to me this morning about how brilliant Trump was in issuing those tweets also has a point. We were all told how positively bovine Trump was when it came to smarts and savoir faire — remember Graydon Carter’s ‘short-finger vulgarian’ quip? That was from the 1980s.
I chuckled when I heard that. And you know what? It isn’t wrong. It’s just not the whole story. It turns out that Donald Trump is plenty smart. He is also — and this may be the quality about which his critics are especially obtuse — blisteringly funny. I think, for example, of his comment to Jim Acosta the other day in the aftermath of the G20 meeting. Acosta asked whether the president wasn’t concerned that his friendly comments about the smarmy Saudi prince MBS might offend people. ‘I don’t really care about offending people,’ Trump said, ‘I sort of thought you’d know that.’
Brrrringggg! Game. Set. Match. What could Acosta say?
Bottom line: I think that ‘the Squad’ are like the jesters that monarchs of old used to have. Not in every respect. They are not, for example, intentionally funny. But they are a source of entertainment. No one takes them seriously.
Some of my readers may forget, but I entered this fray as a dedicated anti-Trumper. I wrote, gosh, a score of articles criticizing Trump in the most categorical terms.
But then the worst happened and the choice was Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. I have rehearsed all of this before and will not repeat it now. Suffice it to say that I regarded the choice as binary. I was not going to throw my vote away on Evan McMuffin or whatever his name was. It was Hillary, who was impossible, or Trump, who was merely frightful.
I chose frightful and have been pleasantly surprised. As I have said many times over the last couple of years, Donald Trump has presided over the most astonishingly successful opening years as president in a very long time, maybe ever. I don’t worry about his ‘character’ or his Tabasco tweets. I rather enjoy them, to tell the truth, not least because they challenge the pieties of political correctness.
Naturally, there is fine print. Past performance is no guarantee of future returns and a week is a long time in politics, as Harold Wilson said. Donald Trump is a risk taker. He also loves tweaking people. Much of what he says offends the commentariat. They are appalled at his bad manners, his insensitivity, his boorishness. It’s my sense, though, that the country at large finds it rather refreshing — odd, perhaps, maybe a little worrisome, but refreshing.
We’re at peace. We’ve never been more prosperous. I think Donald Trump can afford to set the pigeon among the hens with impunity.