Identity Politics and the Rise of 21st Century Witch Hunts

By: Ken Willette – Dec. 2018

When I review Left-leaning social media memes and comments, I almost always have one of two reactions:–that either the people circulating these social media bombs watched Star Wars or V for Vendetta far too many times. Or that they are woefully ignorant of American history. Maybe, a little bit of both! I really want to offer a free history lesson the next time I see a person wearing a ‘Resist’ hat.

What exactly are you resisting?

One of the bedrock principles that this nation was founded upon is that you can have policy disagreements without resorting to political violence. You won’t hear a knock at your door in the middle of the night by a secret police force destined to send you and your loved ones to a prison camp or a reeducation facility. Obviously, that very scenario routinely occurred to tens of millions of helpless souls in communist and socialist dictatorships. Somehow the GOP has suddenly become the Evil Empire, and the Leftists represent the Rebel Alliance—fighting, at all costs, to save the last vestiges of our constitutional republic. But even a basic knowledge of history would go a long way in refuting the claims of the opposition.

First, let’s discuss the social media lunacy of playing the race card against the GOP. Since the days of the Civil War, every successful constitutional amendment and every significant civil rights law, directly aiding the progress and equality of African Americans, has been ultimately achieved as the result of courageous GOP leadership and pivotal GOP votes. Even when not in control of the White House, Republican votes were needed to overcome Southern led filibusters.

The GOP literally liberated millions of people from bondage. Republicans had no hesitation in stationing troops in Southern states to preserve the humanitarian mission of Reconstruction. Eisenhower sent federal troops to Little Rock in order for African American students to go to school as a result of the Brown v. Board of Education decision. In addition to his strong record on pushing through civil rights legislation in the 1950s, Nixon actually accelerated school desegregation in the South during his presidency. Republican presidents have routinely selected minorities to serve in their cabinets, lead the armed forces and serve in the highest courts in the land.

But now we are supposed to ignore centuries of American history to assign the Death Star role to today’s GOP. Why must we wash away from history the promotion of slavery in the solidly Democratic South, the breakup of the Union, the true and dastardly (resistance) of Southern leaders during Reconstruction, the advent of Jim Crow laws, the denial of basic human rights and the outright murder of thousands of African Americans–without justice and recourse? And don’t forget those merciless Dixiecrats attacking innocent, non-violent protestors in the 1960s with attack dogs, fire hoses and clubs.

Even when we review recent history, Reagan signed the MLK national holiday into law. Bush, Sr. nominated Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court and Bush, Jr. nominated Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice to serve as Secretary of State, the first African-American and the first African-American female, respectively, to do so. But somehow, somewhere the GOP’s civil rights agenda got derailed. Don’t hold your breath in locating an answer as to when and where that derailment occurred.

Other social media warriors would have us believe that the Trump administration is the modern equivalent of Nazi Germany. They either toss out repeated F-Bombs in their posts, because that is the way to win any argument. Or they carelessly invoke the Nazi label. I honestly wish that people would shamelessly stop using the term Nazi to describe any side, whether it is coming from Rush Limbaugh or MSNBC. We really need to ensure that people know the unspeakable horrors of Hitler and his regime: — six millions Jews were exterminated; tens of millions of civilians perished; and millions more troops were killed in action. How people can make the giant illogical leap from Hitler to Trump is disingenuous and downright morally suspect. The only president who authorized the transportation of Americans to internment camps was FDR– with Japanese-Americans during WWII.

To this very day, that executive action represents one of our darkest moments in the complete denial of due process and civil liberties. And as I briefly highlighted in a previous column, Trump has the strongest pro-Israel record of any modern president since Truman. Trump has relocated the US Embassy to Jerusalem, frozen the assets of Iran (a nation that directly funds terrorist operations against Israel), cut back funding on Palestinians who launch rockets and send suicide bombers into Israel, and voiced strong opposition to blatant anti-Semitism and the BDS movement at the United Nations. He also deported an illegal alien back to Germany, who allegedly served as a prison guard during the height of Nazi Germany atrocities. Again, I am not finding exactly where the Nazi label fits in here.

So, in conclusion, what exactly is the core values of this so-called resistance focused on in addition to apparent and deliberate race baiting and historical fallacies? It could be the #MeToo movement, which is very important as a vehicle to root out sexual violence in all walks of life. But what is equally crucial is that false allegations are not allowed to serve as the social media equivalent of a kangaroo court or a communist show trial. Or a reemergence of the political witch hunts of the past—a twisted form of sexual McCarthyism—where unproven and unverifiable accusations become a permanent mark on a person’s identity. Or unfairly destroy an individual’s livelihood or reputation. Campuses across the country have become ground zero for this form of guilt until proven innocent mantra.

What is remarkable about this country is that we have evolved over the centuries to expand voting rights, broaden personal liberties, encourage economic opportunity and preserve the pillars of free speech. But that free speech comes with a powerful responsibility: — to truly understand history or potentially be doomed to repeat it! Hopefully, we can discard identity politics to the dustbin of history someday. We should focus on the content of each other’s character, rather than create outlandish stereotypes that hold no water when exposed to the light of day! ◊