One of the most discouraging things about the present moment is how few Republican leaders are speaking out forcefully against the central point of the current protests and wave of ill-liberalism it has unleashed, namely, that George Floyd’s death is proof of America’s essential racist and evil character. Instead, most Republicans are talking policy, police reform ideas, reforming qualified immunity, and the like. The parallel conversation among shell-shocked liberals on the ill-liberalism of “cancel culture” grinds along, but is also pathetically defensive at the end of the day. To the spectacle of Nancy Pelosi and Democratic leaders kneeling in the Capitol in faux-African costume, where is the counter-demonstration of Republicans outside on the Capitol steps standing up for the country with the red-white-and-blue flying?
One exception is Sen. Tom Cotton, who just last night on the Senate floor made a strong statement that included this important passage:
“I will say this, the cancel culture, whether in its Maoist or its Jacobin forms, ultimately is animated by a single idea, that America, at its core, is fundamentally irredeemable and wicked,” Cotton concluded. “I reject that claim fully, wholeheartedly. America is a great and noble nation, the noblest nation in the history of mankind, that has struggled throughout our history, imperfectly but ceaselessly, to live up to our founding creed that all men are created equal. The single greatest defense against tyranny, against racism, against oppression. [Those are] the stakes of this debate.”
For another statement that everyone ought to read in full, and pass along to their local and national elected officials, comes from our friends at the Claremont Institute, “America Is Not Racist.” It’s short, so here is the whole thing (with a few of my own highlights):
The pretext for this entire nationwide riot is that America is a racist country. That is not true. America is not a racist country. America is a country that has strived, imperfectly but passionately, to live up to its founding promise that all men are created equal. There is not—and will never be—a greater barrier to racism, or to tyranny in any form, than this American idea.
The reckless charge that American law enforcement is “systemically racist” is also not true. As with any large organization of men wielding power, some will abuse that power. But police do not systematically target innocents—either by race or any other criteria. Any fair-minded review of the available data demonstrates that.
Why is it that so many of our citizens believe that America is racist to its core? Because this lie has been preached by our universities and media like the Gospel for a generation. From there it has traveled throughout society, particularly among the elite. Even most leaders on the Right are unwilling to refute this destructive untruth. In failing to do so, they promote the falsehood, the riots that it has engendered, and ultimately America’s destruction. This is to say, the riots are the handiwork of the elite. A country that has been taught it is ignoble will not defend itself against its enemies, domestic or foreign.
As we see written in flames in these riots and hear in all the commentary on them, the great divide in America is between those who believe that America is evil and needs to be destroyed, and those who believe that America is good and needs to be preserved. A version of that question is what the 2016 elections were about, and what the elections in 2020 will be about. The nation has a party devoted to transforming the American way of life; it needs a party devoted to preserving the American way of life.
America must have a full accounting of how the riots happened, who made them happen, and who let them happen. Those in power must be held to account. Most fundamentally, the lies that have been the core curriculum of American education must be replaced with the truth. The only way America can survive is as a united country dedicated to living out the true meaning of its creed. The elite want to rob us of that future. The rest of us should pledge our lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to stopping them.
Thomas D. Klingenstein
Ryan P. Williams
The Claremont Institute