“A conservative is someone who stands athwart history, yelling stop, at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it.”
That is one of the most famous statements written by William F. Buckley, Jr. regarded by many as a Founding Father of the modern conservative movement. The definition is as relevant today as it was when Buckley first wrote those words in 1955 as a mission statement for National Review.
As the Biden Administration moves at warp speed to fundamentally remake America by enacting a radical Left-wing agenda the time has come for conservatives to “stand athwart history” and yell “stop.” In so doing the wrath of Left, the so-called cancel culture, will descend on anybody and everybody who stands on their way.
Our response should be: who cares?
The epithets and insults hurled at anyone who dares disagree with the cancel culture steamroller have been used so often they have lost all meaning. Unable to intellectually defend their radical agenda, the Left simply resorts to name calling. The term “racist,” for example has come to define anyone who disagrees with the progressive policy agenda. As a result the once potent term has lost much of its meaning, a tragic set-back in the fight against actual racism.
The Name-Caller-in-Chief is President Joe Biden. When the state of Texas put an end to COVID-19 mask mandates the President called state officials “Neanderthals” and predicted a surge in cases. They ignored him. No such surge has occurred and Texas continues to outpace “blue” states which continue to have draconian restrictions in place.
When the state of Georgia enacted needed election reforms the Left exploded with President Biden leading the way by labeling the law as “Jim Crow,” a reference to post Civil War laws enacted – ironically by Democrats – to restrict black voter participation.
The new Georgia laws are designed to ensure election integrity by implementing reasonable protections such as requiring a voter ID and outlawing the practice of vote harvesting which presents the biggest opportunity for fraud during the mail-in voting process. The Georgia law is in fact less restrictive than laws already in effect in many other states including the President’s home state of Delaware.
Facts did not matter. The new law ignited an explosion of woke virtue signaling. Major League Baseball got the most attention when it moved this summer’s All-Star game from Atlanta to Denver in protest of the law. Thus did the league ditch a majority Black city for a predominately white city under the guise of racial equality.
Here in Penn’s Woods a bill designed to protect women’s competitive sports prompted an outpouring of vile by the Left. Rather than address the serious impact of allowing biological males to participate in women’s sports, denizens of the Left resorted to their usual name-calling tactics. Governor Tom Wolf labeled the proposed legislation “discriminatory,” the National Organization for Women called it “anti-LBGTQ,” and others chimed in claiming it amounted to a cultural war.
Thus was the Left’s default intolerance on clear display. The serious concerns addressed in the legislation – including the safety of biological females competing in sports – along with the fifty years of advances for women athletes brought about under Title XI, were cast aside as a wave of virtue signaling responses poured forth into mainstream and social media.
Such push-back is a guaranteed reaction to anybody standing up to the cancel culture crowd. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has emerged as a leading national figure and potential 2024 Republican Presidential nominee in the wake of his implementation and defense of conservative principles. His state was among the first to ditch draconian shut-down policies to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Florida’s numbers have been no worse, generally better, than those posted in restrictive states while the Sunshine state’s economy has been booming.
Standing against such Left-wing indoctrination vehicles as Critical Race Theory and supporting school choice rights made DeSantis an even bigger target. As a result the CBS newsmagazine 60 Minutes, once a jewel in the broadcast journalism crown, produced a hit piece on DeSantis lowering itself into the muck of cable news dribble.
The DeSantis hit piece backfired. It backfired because DeSantis refused to back down. It backfired because conservatives “stood athwart history” and yelled “stop!!” This is a blueprint for conservatives moving forward: take a principled stand, don’t let the Left define the rules of engagement, don’t back down, and raise your voice in support of your fellow patriots.
(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal and American Radio Journal. His e-mail address is [email protected].)
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