Professional Democrats, like the proverbial dog who returns to his vomit, cannot quit the idea that their grotesque caricatures of those who hold traditional views of marriage and family, men and women, borders and citizenship, and meaningful employment will appeal to enough of the electorate to return control of the government to them.
Donald Trump co-opted many of the Democrats’ middle-class voters by working to improve the economy and national security, yet Democrats cling to their pink labial hats and identity politics ever fiercely. Within the cloisters of Washington, D.C., and New York media centers, this grit and determination gives them the odor of sanctity, the aura of holiness. Every headline, editorial, and monologue drips with sanctimony, begging Americans to come to their senses, open their eyes, and admit that they are living in the Third Reich. Every good but historically unremarkable thing Trump does (cutting taxes, deporting illegal aliens) is presented as the Final Solution of the week, and let us all stand with Gary Oldman and cry “Time’s up,” our fists held high in defiance of Hitler.
Rather than ease up on their rhetoric, the professional Democrats double down. On one level, they cannot help themselves. They are victims of their own ideology, addicted to the very crack they are selling. They are riding the Fourth Wave of feminism and cannot get off.
Feminism has always had one goal, which is to tear down the walls of traditional society, to allow women to slip the surly bonds of the natural order. From the beginning, technology has played a recurring role in this continuing revolution. Contraceptives—later, abortion on demand—freed women of the burden of children (and men from the burden of monogamy). Household appliances made housewifery seem superfluous, and homemaking, being deemed unworthy and demeaning, was left to machines as more and more women entered the hitherto male jobs market. More recently, push-button warfare has made female soldiers appear desirable.
Feminism’s Third Wave came in the 1990’s, with the identification of “intersectionality”: Traditional sex roles, naturally assigned “gender identity,” normative heterosexual orientation, white privilege, “nuclear” families—these were not merely isolated problems to be solved, but represented an interconnected system of patriarchal oppression that had to be eliminated wholesale. The term was new, but the notion of intersectionality can be seen in Margaret Sanger and the second half of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s career, when he broadened his list of grievances to include Vietnam and poverty.
Barack Obama rode the Third Wave deftly, keeping his intersectional beliefs concealed (if thinly) enough to appeal to middle-class voters; and he won them over, twice. Some of this had to do with his appeal as a half-white black man, whose election, then re-election, would surely solve racial problems. Obama did not preach intersectionality as a feminist fundamentalist would; in his “gun-owners in Blue States” speech that launched his national political career, he spoke as a populist, echoing and updating Bill Clinton.
The Fourth Wave of feminism is the weaponization of intersectionality through social media. Obama never had to ride this wave; it swelled along with the rise to dominance of smart phones, Twitter, and Facebook, which happened during his presidency. Even now, the Pope tweets more than Obama; the ex-President is not a hashtagger. The Fourth Wave represents minds formed (or deformed) by social media, and the absolute need for instant gratification it engenders. Its operating principle is incredulity, as in “I can’t believe you tolerate this rapist.” Now, of course, rape should never be tolerated; rapists ought to be executed. But within the Fourth Wave, particles are difficult to distinguish, as intersectionality is still believed, taught, and confessed. Whoso offendeth at one point is guilty of all.
The #MeToo campaign is the most vivid example of the weaponization of intersectionality through social media. Actresses break their accusations on Twitter. Immediately, the retweets begin, hashtags trend, and a collective dopamine spike is felt from coast to coast. Then the high is chased, with more accusations that move beyond obvious crimes into the basic differences between men and women, “equal pay,” and Russian hacking. It’s all of a piece, don’t you see? You are sexually harassing your secretary by opposing Roe v. Wade and refusing to support universal healthcare.
Technology again has intervened to create the illusion of problems that need immediate solving. There is instant, unreflective reaction—meaning “awareness” and “change.” Everyone becomes a “drum-major for justice” by typing and clicking. To say that “we need to withhold judgment until there is evidence or an investigation” is not acceptable; to speak this way is to identify with rape and mass murder.
Now, grown-ups ought to know better, but professional Democrats are not grown-ups. They (like the corporations that paid millions for social-justice Super Bowl ads) are chasing the Millennial and Generation Z demographics, the real but fleeting energy of youth, the hashtag trend, the “right side of history,” the mic-drop moment. They, too, are addicted to their iPhones. The mainstream media have helped to elevate the instant social-media response to every reported event to the level of a job requirement for politicians. This is how you make a name for yourself, how you show your relevance and capacity for influence.
It’s also how Democrats get trapped in their own intersectional ideology. Their open disdain for ordinary Americans is no longer easy to conceal, thanks to their need to agree publicly—or at minimum, to appear to agree publicly—with radical feminists. In the near future, this could continue to hinder Democrats’ political prospects, provided that Republicans can resist the urge to get sucked into the Democrats’ binary intersectional world and, instead, speak firmly, calmly, and reasonably to the needs of normal Americans who prefer not to be chastised for thinking that closing the border, or keeping surgically maimed men out of the ladies’ room, is not tantamount to rape. Fielding candidates who did not date teenage girls as men in their 30’s, or pay off a porn star to keep an affair quiet, would also be a good thing.
In the long run, however, things will not be so bright. When Generation Z, having received a fully intersectional public-school and college education (which, don’t you know, everyone has a right to) and having grown up in the binary world of Twitter, begins to vote, things will change. The Instagram Generation may eventually join forces politically with ten million (or more) amnestied Dreamers and their families, and give rise to yet another wave of the continuing revolution, flooding the entire country.
If conservatives refuse to rebuild the walls of the traditional order, what’s left to stop it?