Tribalism Today

Biden embarrassing US on world stage,” announces a headline from Fox News, specifically concerning an episode of Laura Ingraham’s show in which she interviews Victor Davis Hanson to arrive at the startling investigative conclusion referenced in that headline.

But Ingraham and Hanson, both highly educated and presumably fairly intelligent, along with the entire Fox News corporate entity from whose audience approval they profit magnificently, spent the four years prior to the current Biden debacle defending, making excuses for, rationalizing, and deflecting blame from a man who was arguably — and I say this without an iota of hyperbole — the single most internationally embarrassing person in American history. And that was Donald Trump’s long-time, well-known status for many years even before he became — again, no exaggeration required — the most laughable human ever to serve as US president.

Do they hear the hypocrisy in their voices as they denounce Biden as embarrassing? Are they even aware that they are living political double lives, bending over backwards to minimize Trump’s absolute ignorance, stupidity, and manifest harm to every rational tradition of statesmanship and civility as mere style issues (and to wink ironically at their audience even while nominally conceding these style criticisms), only to turn around and condemn a Democratic president as a national embarrassment for doing, slowly and confusedly, what Trump did every single day in block caps on Twitter?

For years, I have happily ignored Laura Ingraham. I heard her on the radio a few times many years ago, and found her loud, crass, and superficial then. In other words, she seemed slightly more credible then, before crassness and superficiality devolved to flattery and bootlicking for Trump’s airheaded demagoguery.

As for Hanson, I have never paid much attention to him. I have had a few people recommend him to me over the years, perhaps assuming his status as a historian would appeal to my academic nature. Seeing him now, a pathetic toady for the Trump cult spouting the same old Fox-friendly talking points as everyone else in the “conservative media” (Republicans good, Democrats bad, America is losing her culture to the leftists, and the rest of the vacuous mumbo jumbo), I am glad I never wasted any time on his (presumably) more sober, i.e., pre-Trump, ideas. The world hardly needs a slow-talking, grown-up iteration of Ben Shapiro; the video-game-speed, childishly smug original is bad enough.

Meanwhile, from Chauncey DeVega (Chance the vegan? — that’s a Being There allusion, by the way) at the progressive hate factory euphemistically titled Salon, we get this alternative universe headline: “Hillary Clinton tried to warn us — and paid the price. Let’s at least call Republicans what they are.” The subheading, apparently designed for readers who find that headline a little too indirect and vague, reads, “Still, America’s political class is unwilling to call the fascist, white supremacist Republicans what they are.”

To cite Hillary Clinton as a wise seer on the moral weaknesses of America — and then, as DeVega does here, to wax lyrical about how much better the world would be today had Hillary won the 2016 election — stretches partisan myopia to absolute blindness levels. This is the same Hillary Clinton who unquestionably stands to despicable American women as Donald Trump stands to humiliating American men. She built a forty year career in politics on nothing but lies, authoritarian delusions, and more lies. And no one in US politics has ever been exposed in more of her lies than Clinton. No one has a life in politics more littered with abuses of power and shameless cover-ups than she. (And no prominent woman in American politics ever enjoyed more steadfast declarations of support and friendship, prior to 2016, from Donald Trump.)

When, as DeVega notes admiringly, she spewed every progressive slur she could muster at tens of millions of Americans (the “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic” deplorables) merely because they were safe targets — people who would never consider voting for her anyway — she revealed, as she had eighteen years earlier with her “vast right-wing conspiracy” claptrap, just how illiberal and overtly anti-democratic her heart is. Everyone who disagrees with her politics and her practical goals is to be smeared as evil, criminal, punishable. For that, of course, has always been her preferred American future, in line with the post-Marxist progressive grassroots she cynically hoped to represent: Disarm the dissenters and then recast them as essentially unsalvageable citizens, i.e., as enemies of the state (aka of Hillary Clinton), so that they may be marginalized and gradually disenfranchised, by hook or by crook. This is how her mind works. She is a tyrannical soul on every level.

To cite Hillary Clinton, of all people, as the person who most deeply understands what is wrong with American politics, is to buy lock, stock, and barrel into the worldview of the most hateful and corrupt woman modern America could ever produce, a worldview defined entirely on the scale of acquiescence or resistance to the delusional power fantasies of Benghazi Bob, aka Hillary “What difference does it make?” Clinton. Hillary Clinton herself was the poster girl of American “fascism” (intolerance, profiteering authoritarianism, the suppression and condemnation of all dissent) for decades.

As for Chauncey DeVega’s dreamy notion of a Clinton presidency, I might note that she did not lose the 2016 election because millions of “deplorables” hate women, but rather because millions of Americans hate Hillary Clinton. No one got to the nub of this more succinctly than comedian Norm Macdonald, who died of cancer last week. 

In reference to Clinton’s post-election self-pity book, What Happened?, Macdonald remarked:

You know how they say you can’t judge a book by its cover. This book, you can read by its cover. It only has five words on the cover. It says, “What Happened? Hillary…Rodham…Clinton.” She’s more self-aware than I had thought. I do think that’s what happened. I think people said, “You know what, Hillary? We f—in’ hate your guts. Here’s what we’re going to do: We hate you so much that we are going to vote for a guy we hate more than you, just to rub it in.”

That joke is as concise an antidote to modern political tribalism as you could conceive. A plague on both their houses — and that really means both, and not just in the United States, but everywhere on Earth where the politics of competing tribes (“democracy”) is still nominally permitted. 

Tribes are for savages.

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