People hoping to become the Democrat nominee for president in 2020 have recently floated suggestions for dismantling both the Electoral College and the Supreme Court as we know it. These ideas are in addition to the urgency with which many of them also tell the rest of us to be both deeply suspicious of parenthood and greener than Kermit the Frog, in the vain hope that those things might help to forestall climate change.
But if progressive policies are as self-evidently worth pursuing as leftists assume they are, then why do those same people keep moving the political goalposts? Why, for example, did the Speaker of the House endorse a proposal to lower the federal voting age to 16? It’s as though the only game in town were Calvinball, minus the innocence of the original version. Calvin, you might remember, was not above cheating (hence “Calvinball,” whose only rule was that there were no rules). That wildly imaginative six-year-old refused to build snowmen in traditional ways, but neither he nor his indulgent tiger ever waged war against the dead, as leftists are now doing.
That might sound like hyperbole to anyone who hasn’t seen Democrats trying to erase their own past by toppling statues of Confederate soldiers. The activists pushing for changes like that aren’t as cunning the people who bankroll their quest for “justice.” They don’t seem to realize that when Confederate statues are gone, monuments to the valor of Union soldiers will have no meaning, either.
Being “woke” is an essentially reactive stance, because it has to contrast with something asleep or unexamined. But speech cops on the left (and they’re all on the left) don’t understand or care about that. Consequently, Civil War battlefields are being leached of the formative influence proper to them. We’re losing our collective memory of American history, and (in the hotbeds of progressive iconoclasm) ultimately mocking Lincoln’s resolve that “these dead shall not have died in vain.”
Leftists treat history as a tool for the acquisition of power. Anything that can’t be ignored or subverted gets reframed, which is why I don’t think freshman Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or failed Senate candidate Robert Francis O’Rourke are as clueless as they appear to be. “Beto” and the “Breakfast Club Evita” know what their supporters want to hear. When AOC threatens the moderates in her own party but says with a smile that “democratic socialism” means “putting democracy and society first,” or Beto preaches doom from the “coffee shop at the end of the world,” each is appealing to mal-educated people who mistake youthful ignorance for courage. In a different world, they would be students vying for positions as homecoming king and queen. Instead, they want to be commissars.
Progressives also change rules for the living with the nonchalance of people for whom hypocrisy has become a fashion accessory. Had the 2016 presidential election turned out differently, we would not now be hearing politicians take shots at the Electoral College, or pine righteously for “democracy” in what was built as a republic. Anyone who wants to climb on a soapbox to lecture the rest of us on proper governance ought first to be able to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
Commentator Richard Fernandez noticed that even NBC News describes the progressive strategy for 2020 as an attempt to change the rules. That ideology’s selective notion of being bravely different never made room for traditionalists, but it now holds sway even in things like the dress code for the U.S. House of Representatives.
Progressives argue that outdated systems and social mores need to change, but it’s hard to see their motivation as anything more than opportunism. After all, leftists move goalposts even when there’s no compelling reason to do so. Is there any other way to explain why Democrats unwilling to let the evil of late-term abortion alone pushed past that into providing legal cover for infanticide, while casting themselves as merciful because letting babies die saves their parents the cost of neonatal intensive care?
You can put aside conversations about life and medical care to see that less contentious issues show a similar pattern. Hillary Clinton, for example, has yet to be prosecuted for feigned ignorance (Q: Did you wipe your email server? A: “You mean like with a cloth?”), gross negligence, or felonious conduct. Meanwhile, Trumpian exaggeration draws swift condemnation from all quarters, the First Lady isn’t regarded as being multi-lingual or photogenic enough to avoid being snubbed by people who wet themselves over her immediate predecessor, and self-proclaimed bastions of free inquiry are nothing of the kind.
Two years into a presidency that has done more to expose progressive insecurities than any other, it’s also safe to say that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian efforts to sway America’s 2016 election started with bad motive and wide latitude. That it ended up vindicating President Trump is almost beside the point. Outcome aside, the investigation’s dominance of the news cycle was exactly what the Beltway Establishment had hoped it would be, if for no other reason than because so many politicians despise (and feel threatened by) the brash populist in the White House.
“March Madness” for progressives is no different from the crazy that they pretend to save the rest of us from in every other month. If your objections to that can be painted as logical, historical, patriarchal, privileged, racist, or cis-gendered, then you are easily marginalized. The only proper response to the way progressives have weaponized grievance and guilt is to refuse to play along.
In gentler moods, we might also remember that Calvin and Hobbes did not end its ten-year run atop the comics page with a game of Calvinball. Instead, on December 31, 1995, Bill Watterson’s beloved creations signed off from a sled in the snow with an appreciative nod to the wonders of the world around them, as Calvin, with his triangular grin, said “It’s a magical world, Hobbes, Ol’ Buddy.… Let’s Go Exploring!”