by Matthew Boose
The Democrats and Republicans spent hours giving speeches at their nominating conventions, but their respective takeaways were simple enough. One party thinks America is racist to the core and that it must give way to something radically new. The other party thinks America is already great and that it is worth defending. Vice President Mike Pence got to the heart of the matter:
In this election it’s not so much whether America will be more conservative or more liberal, more Republican or more Democrat. The choice in this election is whether America remains America.
Part policy boast, part paean to the nation, President Trump’s speech defended not only his first term in office but the America of the last 250 years. “Your vote will decide whether we protect law-abiding Americans or whether we give free rein to violent anarchists, and agitators, and criminals who threaten our citizens,” Trump said. “And this election will decide whether we will defend the American way of life or whether we will allow a radical movement to completely dismantle and destroy it.”
Trump didn’t have to go reaching for this bold message. It came ready-made from current events. We have become partisans, not within one nation, but of two nations. But only one of these is recognizable as America. Doubtless the Democrats think of themselves as patriotic in some way, but the loyalty they pledge is not to George Washington’s country. It is to something entirely novel.
This election is not just about policy, but our heritage, our Constitution, our most basic freedoms. We will choose whether to honor heroes like George Washington, or criminal riffraff like George Floyd. We will choose whether America is a free nation, where the rights to life, liberty, and property are secured, or a revolutionary despotism, in which those rights are conditioned on what we believe and what we look like.
The Democrats spent most of their convention talking about something called “systemic racism.” Until recently, this fashionable concept was unfamiliar to most Americans. Now, we are told, it is at the very heart of America and its identity. America, according to this view, is not, and never has been, exceptional. Far from it, America is oppressive and evil.
This is now the Democratic Party line, and it is the basis of a revolution that has already changed the country in profound ways. To be clear, this revolution has very little to do with the American Revolution.
Washington, D.C.’s Democratic mayor recently suggested “contextualizing” the Washington Monument, presumably with a plaque reminding visitors that the father of our country was a racist. This was the recommendation of a “working group” of progressive busybodies summoned to decide which of the city’s artifacts from the antediluvian world before George Floyd are still allowed, and which must be expunged for failing to align with the platitudes of contemporary liberalism.
Of course, there are flow charts and woke jargon to go with it. “Our decision-making prism focused on key disqualifying histories, including participation in slavery, systemic racism, mistreatment of, or actions that suppressed equality for, persons of color, women and LGBTQ communities and violation of the DC Human Right Act.” Try saying that 10 times fast.
This stuff is no longer fringe, but mainstream in Democratic circles. And this revolution is not just a matter of monuments and symbols, although they matter a great deal, but things more fundamental to civic order and happiness.
This summer, by one reckoning, there have been at least 200 riots in cities across the nation. The Left celebrates them as a sign of restraint (just 7 percent of “protests” were violent!). Meanwhile, livelihoods have been destroyed, people have randomly harassed, assaulted, and even killed innocent citizens with relative impunity. Through it all, journalists and Democrats have offered tepid denunciations or outright lies.
Not only that, they have rejected equality under the law to embrace a new set of punitive laws and customs. It is becoming the Democratic Party’s position that the enjoyment of basic rights, including the presumption of innocence (whether in the court of public opinion or law) and the right to self-preservation, should depend on whether you are a member of a “protected class.”.
So it is that Joe Biden can blame a white Trump supporter for his own murder while exalting as a martyr a black man who is shot while resisting arrest. And so it is that looters and gutter trash are given free rein to terrorize innocents for months on end, while those who dare to defend their lives and property are declared racists and enemies of the state without hesitation.
These double standards now pervade our society and public conversation. We can feel them. They hang over us like a sword.
Because recent polls have frightened them, Democrats now insist that all of this is taking place in “Donald Trump’s America,” but that is a malicious deflection. The Democrats didn’t mention the riots at their convention because the rioters are their partisans. It’s that simple.
The truth is Democrats don’t want to better America, they want to replace America. That isn’t what they put out front, of course. They just want a “more perfect Union,” as they said in one overwrought speech after the next at their convention, quoting a Constitution they don’t believe in and otherwise routinely slam as outdated. But they spoke of America as a woefully incomplete revolutionary project, a “work” that is really just beginning. America, to paraphrase Lincoln, cannot endure permanently half woke and half free.
But Biden will be a president for all, they say, while pointing to Trump and his millions of supporters as an existential threat to “who we are.” As they made clear, this “we” includes illegal immigrants, but not anyone who thinks it shouldn’t.
What kind of a country looks upon its origins with this kind of disgust? Upon citizens with this kind of contempt? It is how invaders look upon conquered peoples, and it is how the Democratic Party now views the America of Washington and Lincoln.
The ancients warned that democracies fail, that they inexorably descend into mob rule. America was supposed to be different. It was meant to be a constitutional republic, where reason and fairness would prevail. The Democrats want to reject all of this.
Many Democratic voters probably do not realize how extreme their party has become. Of course, some have realized it, and with any luck, many more of them will.
Americans may not be as patriotic as we once were, but do we still basically think of ourselves as belonging to the nation of Washington and Lincoln?
If we do, and if the choice we face is made clear to voters this November, it would defy the laws of political physics for Donald Trump to lose.
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Matthew Boose is a Mt. Vernon fellow of the Center for American Greatness and a staff writer and weekly columnist at the Conservative Institute. His writing has also appeared in the Daily Caller. Follow him on Twitter @matt_boose.