The soundbites of the 2016 election cycle were remarkable.
Donald Trump spent many of his campaign speeches and press interviews pointing out the corrupt DC-Wall Street axis in plain language, in addition to pointing out the corrupt media. Hillary Clinton called roughly one-quarter of America deplorables, who were irredeemable. There was also the amplified notion from Trump’s campaign that this would be the last election if he lost. The change from 2012 to 2016 was palpable, even to the sleepwalkers among us.
These statements, as well as the Democrat notion of disparaging Americans while condemning Trump’s statements about foreigners, are just public expressions of the divide that became clear from fall 2012 to spring 2013. The divide is not just nationalism vs. globalism, but the two irreconcilable political units that have morphed into cultural tribes. The six months from November 2012 to April 2013 marked a period where the Left removed the mask. Persuasion and debate were seen as unnecessary, as the Left considered its coalition as permanent. Even conservatives and moderates that approached debate in good faith were horrified by what they witnessed.
The first inkling that something was different about America’s political landscape began on election night in 2012. Polls had shown a very tight race that could go either way. Obama’s term appeared in some forms like rerun of President Carter’s single term. There were more scandals, but those received no attention. Malaise would push voters to try something new, right? Wrong. Obama won, and it was not close. “How could they not see,” cried conservatives, shaking their facts, along with moderates who had an eye on failure and incompetence.
The year ended with an even more horrific event, the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. An odd young man (to say the least) opened fire on school children and teachers. The nation was astounded and horrified by the event. Well, not all of the nation and not all were horrified or astounded. Immediately, the “let’s ban guns” crowd revved up into action. Shooter Adam Lanza was an obviously mentally off individual, but the person holding the gun never matters to progressives, only the gun itself. The “never let a crisis go to waste” crowd politicized every tragedy using who/whom logic.
It was not just the event itself that was notable, but the use of the tragedy by the entire media structure. Sandy Hook survivors were interviewed extensively. The investigation had its quirks, but its politicization was horrendous. It looked quite convenient for President Obama’s desire to use his phone and pen to make changes to gun laws. Perhaps more horrifying was the blatant propaganda that used children. Not any children, but survivors of the school. During the pre-game for the Super Bowl, America’s unofficial holiday, Jennifer Hudson sang “America, the Beautiful” with a makeshift chorus of students from Sandy Hook Elementary. Survivors became props of the worst kind of propaganda.
While politicization was disheartening, the most horrifying event when everything changed was the Boston Marathon bombing. While the bombing did not result in a high casualty number, the recognition that America was full of soft targets started to dawn on people. The truly horrific part of the day of the bombing was the collective drool one could practically feel on the tweets of progressive foot soldiers and public figures who dreamed of white male assailants.
This is when the idea of the anti-terror police state clicked as a very bad thing because the Left, like other communist groups, wants to jail, harm and exterminate its opponents. The day of the marathon, the tension of not who the suspect is, but what the suspect is entered the American political sphere. We see this dynamic play out in every mass shooting now.
There was another horrific bit during the Boston Bombing event. The city of Boston was put into an effective lockdown, per the city’s orders to find these two men. The liberal, shining city on a hill for liberation and freedom complied. The city not only complied, but cheered on the police as they hauled the lone man away. People lined the streets as giant police vans, RVs, and armored vehicles rolled by with their one criminal in tow. The Bush era anti-terrorism invasion of privacy was long forgotten.
This was not the final horrific reveal of April 2013. Once nabbed, the surviving suspect of the bombing was made public. To the Left’s horror, he was a Muslim immigrant, but the spin was immediate. The terrorist turned into the misguided, handsome immigrant for the Left to immediately sympathize with on all media outlets. Dzhokar Tsarnaev would inspire poems and eventually make it onto the cover of the Rolling Stone. That would not save him from a death sentence, but the calls for empathy and sympathy from liberal writers were revolting to non-progressives.
Tragedy in America no longer generates a unified feeling.
People watch for which America is responsible, in order to then use the event as a cudgel in the political war against the other tribe. People on the Right watch to see if the perpetrator is part of the Right’s demographic coalition with their own spin ready to unleash, because they know the Left is waiting for the proper propaganda coup to score major gains against their opposition, as progressives did after the Dylan Roof attack.
This is why Decius referred to the 2016 election as the Flight 93 Election. It’s not just that debate and persuasion are gone, but that mindsets and basic approaches are so divergent.
Those six months made the stakes crystal clear.