My old friend Jamie Kirchik has penned an op-ed in the Washington Post accusing Republicans who support Donald Trump of being “Vichy Republicans.” As in, collaborators with Hitler.*
As if to prove that bad ideas are rarely original, George Skelton of the Los Angeles Times writes that the 75% of Republican voters who chose Trump are not “true patriots.”
Gone is the Bush-era notion that “dissent is patriotic.” Dissent, according to our elite media betters, is grounds for exclusion.
Note, however, that public shaming never happens to liberals.
If you’re a Democrat who overlooked Barack Obama’s twenty years in Jeremiah Wright’s racist church, and just put “party first, country second” (as Skelton says), you’re still a great American.
If you question the impartiality and legitimacy of white male judges, you are a “wise Latina” and appointed to the Supreme Court, like Sonia Sotomayor.
If you say racist things about “articulate and bright and clean” Barack Obama, your name is Joe Biden.
And if you once bragged that Hillary Clinton was winning support among “hard-working Americans, white Americans,” then you might be … Hillary Clinton herself.
That was in 2008. She has now been rehabilitated, for political purposes.
But the problem of shaming goes beyond the political realm. Thanks to the left, it has become part of our popular culture.
Take the Brock Turner rape case, for example.
The former Stanford University swimmer was convicted of rape, and this week was sentenced to six months in jail — an unexpectedly light sentence.
Outraged critics called for the judge in the case to be thrown out of office. They also lambasted Turner’s father for using the unfortunate phrase “20 minutes of action,” which he meant in a non-sexual sense, in his letter to the court pleading for leniency.
Yet the critics went even further — too far.
They harassed a young woman, Leslie Rasmussen — a childhood friend of Turner’s whom the court asked to write a statement about Turner’s character for use in his sentencing. In her letter, CNN notes, she defended Turner and criticized his victim:
In her letter to the court, Rasmussen calls Turner “respectful and caring, talented, and smart enough to know better.”
“It’s pretty frustrating to see the light that people are putting him in now. It used to be ‘swim star’ and now it’s like he is the face of rape on campuses,” she wrote.
But it was her perceived excuse for his actions that spurred public indignation.
“I don’t think it’s fair to base the fate of the next 10+ years of his life on the decision of a girl who doesn’t remember anything but the amount she drank to press charges against him,” her letter read. “I think it is disgusting and I am so sick of hearing that these young men are monsters when really, you are throwing barely twenty-somethings into these camp-like university environments, supporting partying, and then your mind is blown when things get out of hand.”
Since that letter became public, amidst the (legitimate) outrage over Turner’s sentence and the (unnecessary) hysteria about “20 minutes of action,” Rasmussen’s life has been hell. Thanks to a “viral mob,” her musical career has been wrecked as her band, Good English, has lost gigs and its publicist due to its alleged support for “rape culture.”
Rasmussen published an apology online, but that was not enough. Another woman with the same name but no ties to the case has also been harassed.
On Thursday, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), headed by former Obama administration official Jonathan Greenblatt, held a live chat about antisemitism on Twitter. Meanwhile, the ADL is actively opposing efforts to stop antisemitism in the form of the “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions” movement, which targets Israel and pro-Israel Jews.
Meanwhile, radicals shouting “Brown Power!” as they beat up Trump supporters and burn American flags get a pass. Their targets ought to be ashamed, you see.
When Trump does something worth condemning — as all politicians do, like Obama calling his grandmother a “typical white person” or using antisemitic tropes to sell the Iran deal — he can and should be criticized.
But that need not mean abandoning him altogether, nor does it mean Trump is a racist in general, any more than Obama hates white people or Jews (he does not).
Nor does it mean, as Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal wrote this week, that Trump supporters will be “stained” for generations. People make political choices for all kinds of reasons, and they have the right to be “wrong.”
If you deny those who disagree with you the redemptive opportunity to make different choices in future, then you, not Trump, are the totalitarian.
If you’re willing to see Hillary Clinton elected even after she pursued actual appeasement with the Russians, the Iranians, and radical Islam in general, then you are not just abusing Nazi analogies. You are also fooling yourself.
And if you join the left in shaming Trump supporters, do not be surprised when the left decides it is your turn.
*Kirchik uses, then backs away from, the Hitler analogy: “Trump is not Adolf Hitler,” he writes, even as he compares Trump-supporting Republicans to Neville Chamberlain and the collaborationist Vichy regime. He knows comparisons between Trump and Hitler may be mocked, so he connects supporters of Trump and Hitler — a distinction without a difference.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new e-book, Leadership Secrets of the Kings and Prophets: What the Bible’s Struggles Teach Us About Today, is on sale through Amazon Kindle Direct. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.