The media and Democrats are already flooding the 2020 campaign zone with the phrase “Who we are as a nation” and if history is the guide, President Trump will break ranks with GOP tradition and trash them for it instead of adopting it and playing by their rules.
Most of you probably haven’t given it much thought. But for the few who have this will be music to your ears because — if you’re like me — you haven’t heard a single person in a position of power push back on the media and Democrats when they talk about “Who we are as a nation.” But you know the expression deserves plenty of criticism.
From an earlier piece on the subject…
The phrase “who we are as a nation” chills free speech and negates what we are: A nation of free and diverse individuals.
[It’s] a tool of social engineering. It’s meant to promote groupthink, and stifle independent thought. It’s a lousy expression.
The one thing that the United States is more than anything else, is a nation where people are free to think and act for themselves. So miss me with your “who we are as a nation” garbage. Stop trying to convince me that we’re a monolith all in lockstep with each other and devoid of independent thought.
Ultimately — to claim that there’s one “who we are as a nation,” and I’m not it if I don’t agree with you, is literally the antithesis of the freedom our nation was founded on.
What’s most bothersome to me isn’t that the Democrats and their marketing arm (the media) constantly lecture us about “who we are as a nation.” The most bothersome part to me is that Republicans, just like they do with so many other issues, immediately started adopting the anti-free speech expression instead of stopping to consider its folly and then using that valuable insight to substantively call the media/Democrats out.
“Who we are as a nation” creates a perfect path for shifting our entire country toward more socialistic thinking. But the feckless, scared, spineless Republican party — before Trump came along anyway — didn’t see it that way. As with “compassionate conservatism” and amnesty and kowtowing to “Save the planet!” climate alarmists and promoting the segregationist idea that black and brown people merit special treatment — the Republicans were easily seduced by the feel-good sentiments and, as a result, got on board instead of calling out what was wrong with it all.
Before Trump came along and started being honest about so many of these things, the Republican line was basically…
We agree with everything the media and Democrats say. But we think it costs too much. Because the children! And also, we love the troops more! And by the way, God!
But unless someone brings it to his attention (another great opportunity for Lindsey Graham to keep earning more stripes with us!), I could see President Trump awkwardly going along with the phrase “Who we are as a nation” once things heat up and it becomes a more noticeably ubiquitous part of the media and Democrats’ 2020 campaign strategy.
Rather than adopting the phrase and conforming to their rules the way Republicans like Ben Sasse have and will continue to, Trump should use the expression’s ubiquity as a way to bludgeon the media and Democrats. He should call them out for promoting the speech-suppressing idea that America is an intellectual or social monolith.
Yes, it can effectively be argued that we have a national conscious. And yes it’s true that we share many of the same values. But those observations are flexible and shift with political winds. If we let the media and Democrats convince our children that we’re a “who” instead of a “what,” there’s no going back from that. It will become the turf on which every political and social battle is fought. And because our nation is packed with good people, the race to be the most socialist will be on in perpetuity.
I’ve long noted that it’s much easier for the media and Democrats to sell their message of “Giving is good,” than it is for Republicans to sell our message of “Giving is good for morally-driven people in their personal lives, but ‘Liberty’ is really the best thing anyone could ever get from the government in America and when people depend on the government to give them more than that their liberty is at best distorted or at worse eliminated entirely, and when other people depend on the government to do their giving for them then they stop giving on their own in their personal lives, so it might sound good but it’s actually not and if you want to give you should but don’t sit around lecturing the rest of us about how evil we are because we’re not convinced the government should do on your behalf what you haven’t and likely won’t do in your own personal life all predicated on what amounts to some kind of bigoted pity far more than anything even close to ’empathy.'”
So yes: our messaging climb, compared to the media and Democrats’, is very much an uphill climb that requires far more intellectual and social agility.
But that’s precisely why I’m careful not to cede even an inch of ground if we can avoid it. And it’s why we need to push back on the media and Democrats at every possible opportunity instead of, like the GOP did for so long before Trump came along, embracing and then playing by the media and Democrats’ rules.
We need a Trump-like commitment to leading with our own ideas and winning, instead of the Sasse/Romney/Flake-like commitment to chasing the media and Democrats’ ideas and losing. And rejecting seemingly innocuous and socially seductive phrases like “Who we are as a nation” is a critical part of that commitment. So I’m hoping that President Trump and other Republicans will hear and consider this. And rather than adopting the phrase they’ll start explaining why that type of thinking is wrong — and how it reveals our unique principles with respect to freedom and liberty, compared to the media/Democrat principles of socialism and the suppression of ideas and speech.
In short: For the love of all that’s holy, don’t be like Ben Sasse and Mitt Romney! Just because the media and Democrats say it and sounds really nice, doesn’t mean it’s the turf we should play on or language we should adopt.
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