Safety pins? Seriously? Has the Left collectively turned its brain off?

In case some of you aren’t paying attention to the social justice scene, I’m referring to the latest bit of virtue signaling embraced by liberals i.e the wearing of safety pins, as Buzzfeed’s Julia Reinstein puts it:

as a symbol of solidarity with people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ people, religious minorities, and others facing targeted violence.

While it is true that Trump’s election has emboldened a number of animals out there, it’s also true that many of the reported incidents that are stoking fear in the aforementioned identity groups are proving to be lies, i.e. that people are making stuff up to influence popular opinion. I am unconvinced that the “emboldenment” is widespread enough to warrant a social justice movement, but set that aside for the moment. I won’t even go into a tu quoque argument about the violence of anti-Trump protestors and the spate of calls for Trump’s assassination other than to mention them. What stuns me in this is what the choice of a safety pin says about the people who started and support this bit.

You have been called babies and children. America’s college age and twenty-something adults have been infantilized, your detractors say. You are petulant, whiny, and throw tantrums when you don’t get your way. And you pick a safety pin!?

Safety pins are used to hold diapers in place. Babies wear diapers. The jokes write themselves. You’re offering your detractors a layup, a gimme, a meatball, a punch line. I’m sure you won’t see the humor in the inevitable jokes, and I’m sure you’re going to deem the jokers as racists and “the problem,” but your utter lack of self-awareness is on you.

So is Trump’s victory. As much as economic and other policy issues, as much as Clinton’s dirt, the excesses of America’s culture wars and the social justice movement, crafted by the same minds that came up with safety pins, are what propelled Trump into office. The nation elected a black president – twice – but rather than consider the inevitable policy disagreements in a post-racial light, you accused anyone who didn’t agree with everything he said or wanted to do of being racist.

Those accusations were both blanket and individual. The former, typically found in the liberal press, did not surprise many. The latter, though, is where you started losing this election, and not just recently.

Do you understand that actions have reactions, and that words elicit responses? Have you ever made the “racist” accusation about Obama criticism to someone’s face? If so, and if you’re not a sociopath, you know them’s fightin’ words. If instead, and I suspect this is the norm, you limit such accusations to social media, you haven’t gotten that feedback, and you either don’t understand or ignore the impact such an accusation has on the target.

Social media, by dampening the feedback our words elicit, is moving our culture in a sociopathic direction. When we say extreme things to people while walled off from them by our computers and devices, we are insulated from the shock value of their responses. This dehumanizes them in our eyes, and in doing so dehumanizes us. We lose empathy and connection with our fellow humans, and we start seeing them, their wants, needs, desires, and even rights as less important than ours and those who see the world as we do.

Have you ever been called a racist? Have you felt the bite of such an accusation, especially if you know in your heart that you are not a racist? If you have accused another of racism, do you understand how such an accusation can sting?

An entire segment of society, one that includes the media, has spent the last decade accusing tens of millions of Americans of racism at every opportunity. The social justice movement has been making those accusations ever more strident and granular and finding examples of racism in the most picayune places. If you can wrap your brains around this, you move closer to understanding the Trump phenomenon. The same goes for those accusations of sexism and misogyny that are flying about.

You cannot spend every waking moment berating people who aren’t on-board with every new societal nuance you and yours concoct without eliciting some pushback. That pushback is not about defending or excusing the purportedly racist attitudes you assign to them. It’s simply “enough already, we are good people, and we are sick and tired of you telling us we’re not.”

Do you know any Trump supporters? If not, you have indeed walled yourselves off from the real world. If so, ask yourselves, are they racists? Before you reflexively claim that anyone who supports Trump is a de facto racist, take a moment to ponder the ferocity of that accusation. Take a moment to think about what those you accuse are going to think about you should you make that accusation. Take a moment to consider that they might react by simply “being done” with you and pay no heed to any legitimate points you might make, then or ever after. Consider that your accusation might elicit a “f*** you” instead of “oh, jeez, I guess you’re right.” Realize that your accusation drove many people to vote against your candidate, your party, and the society you’ve crafted.

As I’ve written before, Trump’s victory is on the Democrats and their years-long beat-down of anyone who disagrees with them in the slightest ways. The lack of tolerance, ironically rooted in an embrace of the sham “tolerance” of external and demographic differences, caused a big chunk of America to push back.

Now, before the man has even had a chance to select his staff (let alone actually implement any policies), you’re calling all those who voted for him racists, you’re fomenting violence against them, you’re marching in the streets, you’re destroying stuff, you’re wearing safety pins.

And, I hear, some of you are demanding that everyone else wear safety pins, or be deemed racist by default. There have been times in history where people were required to wear badges or labels. They weren’t good ones.

All these are the actions of the petulant, the poorly socialized, and the selfishly narcissistic who have no understanding of or empathy for others. They are the adult equivalent of four year olds’ meltdowns when told they can’t have a cookie. Universities are validating this childishness with offers of coloring books, Play-Doh, puppies, hot cocoa, and arts and crafts sessions – and validating all the “baby” jokes. Social media offers echo-chamber validation of sociopathic attitudes towards those who hold different opinions.

You’re wearing safety pins. Could you have picked a more obviously infantile virtue signal?

The political Left has been decimated during Obama’s tenure. Today, the Democratic Party is a minority in both houses of Congress, in the number of governorships, and in most states’ governments. This didn’t happen in a vacuum, and it didn’t happen in a single election. The Left still controls the cultural dialogue, as much because those who disagree know they’re better off tuning it out and keeping quiet than risking accusations of racism, but the electoral results make it clear the country has different priorities.

Such are the circumstances when political parties can and should reshape themselves. If you want to matter again, you need accept the truth behind these losses. Wake up to your party’s excesses and realize that moving the party even further to the left is not going to get you back in the game.

You are now the opposition party. If you continue to think of your fellow Americans as contemptible and “deplorable,” if if you continue with a sociopath’s indifference towards half the nation, if your “strategy” is to demand everything be exactly as you want it and to label anyone who disagrees with you as racist, you’re going to be ignored.

When your party was in charge, you forced ObamaCare on the unwilling minority. You were not content with your steady, incremental victories in the culture wars, and decided to push, hard, anyone who spoke a whisper of dissent or disagreement. You sought to drove this country in a socialistic direction even as ever-more examples of socialism’s failures around the world became evident. Now, you’re going to witness the other side undo ObamaCare, build a wall on the southern border, reverse all those executive orders you cheered, and chase an agenda that is making you cry.

If you want to counter the potential excesses of the Republicans and President Trump, come to grips with why they were put back in power and why he got elected, and accept that the people who voted for them and him are as much a part of America as you are.

Libertarians have long been used to witnessing the major parties do things we don’t like. Some, like some of you, retreat into narcissistic isolation. Others, however, have sought to influence the direction of things, even if only a little bit. We know we’re not going to get our idealized vision of government any time soon, but we also know that we can have our voices heard by rationally engaging those with whom we disagree. When the conservatives were in the minority, libertarians and other small-government folks sought to influence the direction the GOP took. A number of good, liberty-minded people got elected to Congress. Unfortunately, the liberty movement got washed out by the Right’s reaction to the Left’s excesses, and here we are today, with a nativist President and a Republican majority that’s likely to follow his lead.

It’s your time to engage, to take Trump up on his offer of unity. You can hang onto the belligerence, angry stubbornness, and sociopathic disregard for dissenters that ran your party out of power, or you can course-correct. It’s certainly easier to continue the tantrums, but doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome is the definition of insanity.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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