As one who “seeks not to divide, but to unify,” Joe Biden intoned, “It’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric, to lower the temperature, to see each other again, to listen to each other again. To make progress, we must stop treating our opponents as our enemy.” It is, he said, “a time to heal.”
This plea for healing was his first statement following the Associated Press pronouncing him the winner of the presidential election.
Families will pretty much ignore bans on Thanksgiving and Christmas family gatherings. Already, local sheriffs in New York State have told the governor they will not enforce the 10-person limit on Thanksgiving dinner.
His argument against harsh rhetoric was quite appropriate, since in the first debate Mr. Biden had called President Trump a “racist” and told a woman at a following campaign stop that he agreed with her that Mr. Trump was an “illegitimate president.” Years after his election, both Hillary Clinton and Democratic President Jimmy Carter were still repeating that Trump was an illegitimate president.
President Barack Obama–appointed judges have blocked legitimate Trump administration policies from beginning to end.
Now Mr. Biden wants to forget and forgive. The Biden support system, however, did not get the memo against division. The Washington Post and the mainstream media had declared President Trump illegitimate, racist, and worthy of impeachment from his first day in office and have kept saying so ever since, and apparently plan to do so forever.
Despite unending headline claims of illegitimacy and racism against Trump and his deplorables, the presidential election exit polls somehow show that President Trump won the highest proportion of the minority vote for a Republican presidential candidate since 1960, increasing to 12 percent among blacks — 18 percent among black men — 32 percent of Latinos, 31 percent of Asians, and even 28 percent of gays, lesbians, and transgender people.
The media’s so-called anti-woman candidate won the vote of white women 55 to 43 percent; among white women without a college education, he won 60 percent of the vote; and he won white female college graduates 50 to 49 percent.
Even so, CNN continued to call the president and his supporters racist even though these were just ordinary folks voting for Trump likely because they want jobs and oppose those who support shutting down the economy.
This does not sound like a time for healing.
Democrats began impeachment on day one, and it is unimaginable that Trump supporters would simply forget. But, lacking mass media support, what could the deplorable half of the country do? How about learning from Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous adage proposing civil disobedience as the proper response to racism: “You’re not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who says it.”
Charging a candidate and political party that can win near one-third of segments of the minority vote as racist is wrong. In fact it is the media, intellectuals, and the Left who are the ones calling folks deplorables and racists.
Still, how could the deplorables carry out anti-racist civil disobedience today? Flashy marches and direct action would be ignored by the media and disparaged by intellectuals. So what is left?
Mr. Biden’s first post-election action was to form a committee to design tighter national restrictions to control coronavirus. One of its leaders, Dr. Michael Osterholm, immediately called for a hard four-to-six-week national full social and economic lockdown, blaming earlier efforts as “not universally stringent across the country.” After widespread negative reaction even with an increased number of reported virus cases, Mr. Biden quickly backed down from imposing a full lockdown, but other spokesmen suggested limits should still include unruly college campuses, large family holiday gatherings, speeches, large political events, church gatherings, and gun clubs, among others.
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito Jr. called even the decentralized and targeted restrictions so far in 2020 “previously unimaginable restrictions on individual liberty,” and who knows what additional threats to liberty will follow from the national lockdown plan that is the goal of the Biden committee.
The reaction to the Biden plan forced the lock-downers to retreat, but they will be back. Simple nonviolent opposition by ordinary folks worked then and provides a model that will be used in the future. Such a populist movement of peaceful resistance to economic and social lockdown could be called US-UGS — composed of Unemployed deplorables, Speakeasy campuses, Underground families and churches, Gun clubs, and Suppressed-speech conservatives.
Unemployed deplorables need work and deeply resent the fact that shutdowns are imposed and implemented by hypocrites in government and media (like California’s governor breaking his own distance rules at a crowded fancy French restaurant) and those with government-supported incomes who receive salaries or benefits whether they work or not (as demanded by government unions), while ordinary workers in industry and service are forced to stay home without jobs or income.
Our whiskey-deprived great-grandfathers and flapper-mothers supported a populist underground speakeasy movement so effective it actually increased alcohol consumption in the face of a constitutional amendment denying evil alcohol to them and then passed another constitutional amendment to overturn the earlier one. Certainly today’s college frats and sororities have the energy to pull off the much easier feat of frustrating a Biden administration dependent upon local police forces who opposed its election.
Trump won the family-oriented churchgoer vote overwhelmingly, and, even with a mostly cowed religious leadership holding it back, serious studies have found that mass church activism is the originating source for most other group volunteer participation. The popular base for civil disobedience came from this source for King in the past, and there is no reason not to expect support for another mass movement that would allow people to go to church and synagogue.
Families will pretty much ignore bans on Thanksgiving and Christmas family gatherings. Already, local sheriffs in New York State have told the governor they will not enforce the 10-person limit on Thanksgiving dinner, and airlines have announced the largest number of customers since the pandemic began, even after government advice to stay home for the holiday.
Guns? The NRA is already the most effective secular political organization, supports Trump universally, and is pretty much organized already.
Suppressed conservatives, especially on campuses and in big business, will be harder to organize since we now know from reliable data that conservative, white, college-educated men are afraid to tell even their neighbors what they think politically for fear of losing jobs and media shaming. The good news is that the Hispanic and African men won by Trump clearly switched because of his macho boldness, and they just might be able to buck up middle-class conservative spines.
Gallup reports that while two-thirds of the U.S. population said they were very likely to stay at home for a one-month lockdown back in April, less than half say so now. Ordinary Americans revolted against the British Empire and won their liberty! Even the Washington Post has recognized a mass “angry backlash” against the lockdown culture.
Sign-up materials for US-UGS should be at a speakeasy near you very soon.
Donald Devine is senior scholar at the Fund for American Studies. He is the author of America’s Way Back: Reclaiming Freedom, Tradition, and Constitution, Political Management of the Bureaucracy, and his forthcoming The Enduring Tension: Capitalism and the Moral Order by Encounter Books. He served as President Reagan’s director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. He can be followed on Twitter @donalddevineco1.