My daughter hung a “Trump 2020” banner from her porch balcony on the third floor of her apartment building. The building, at the outskirts of New York City, is set back from a main street and assured high visibility. And her act of free speech feels especially gratifying because of its added measure of defiance, albeit within the safety of a 40-foot height.
I envy her. There would be no measure of safety accorded me if I were to hang a similar banner in front of my house in New York City. Though I live in the most liberal of American enclaves, that liberalism translates into as little actual liberty as staking out a political posture in Hong Kong.
The left’s monopoly of grievances has so intimidated any dissenter that a simple act of campaigning for the “wrong side” becomes an act of self-endangerment. Violent left-wing riots across American cities have demonstrated the lack of “safe spaces” for anyone on the opposite side of their political aisle. And that threat implicitly silences the nonconformists.
Hanging up a campaign poster for a Republican in a Democrat-run city has become tantamount to hanging a target on one’s back. In just the last two weeks, a man set fire to a boat with a Trump sign in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and two women were arrested in Delaware after ripping up bystanders’ Trump signs and violently stealing a MAGA (Make American Great Again) hat from a child.
For those of us who live in Democratic enclaves and do not advocate Democratic dogma, the sense of isolation and fear is palpable. The restrictions on our First Amendment rights not only smother our political independence but increase our fear of expression and undermine confidence in our democracy. These constraints also lead us to marvel at the ability of patriots outside Democratic cities to fly an American flag or display a Republican campaign poster without fear of reprisal.
Citizens who are cocooned in Democratic districts essentially live in ghettos of their own political making. Ghettos, where a growing sense of radicalism, amoral social experimentation and the absence of law and order abound. And a leftist media, intent on perpetuating the myth of widespread groupthink, would have you believe that everyone in America is on its side.
But step out of these ghettos, which comprise much of America’s outer perimeters, and you may as well have stepped from Mars into Venus. The shock of seeing Trump signs instead of BLM ones is offset by the comforting realization that you are not alone. And by the hope that perhaps there still exists enough mojo in Middle America to pull us out of Sodom. Or at least not turn into a political pillar of salt if we look back.
You need not go too far to shed the stifling radicalism of cosmopolitan cities. If you leave New York City and drive north through parts of upstate New York or veer left to the fields of New Jersey and the farms and coal mines of Pennsylvania, it is not just the fresh air that assails you. It is less antagonism toward a belief in G-d, the nuclear family and the right to bear arms.
It wasn’t always like this. In previous elections, it was fair game to display a Romney/Ryan sign or a McCain/Palin one anywhere one chose. At least you risked little more than a few smashed eggs. But as the political stakes multiplied, so did the political divide. And the more “unprejudiced” the left has become, the more dangerous it is to oppose them. Wearing a MAGA hat in Manhattan or Portland is like wearing a top hat or clergyman’s cap during the Reign of Terror.
There has to be a better solution to this political persecution besides watching droves of U-Hauls in NY and CA relocate citizens no longer willing to put up with it. Or resorting to undercover resistance.
According to President Trump, mass counter-protests aren’t the solution either. He called the radical mob violence in Kenosha “domestic terrorism” and “anti-American.” But when violence claimed the life of a Trump supporter after a caravan of his supporters drove through Antifa and BLM-controlled Portland, the President was asked if he wanted his supporters to confront left-wing protesters. He replied, “I don’t want them to. Leave it to law enforcement.”
In an editorial addressing the Portland clash, the Wall Street Journal agreed. It denounced the city’s leaders as having “consistently indulged the rioters” and advised the President to urge his supporters to avoid riot-besieged cities and advocate action at the ballot box instead. However, mounting evidence indicates the ballot box may be more problem than panacea. And Americans are bracing for another challenge in the form of their mailbox.
Abdicating our right to free speech and political campaigning renders us ineffectual at a most unpropitious time. America is hardly the monolithic country the leftists would have you believe it is, and conservatives deserve to be seen and heard. They don’t deserve to have their country viewed strictly through the Democratic lens of blue-colored glasses.
The pandemic curtailed the massive rallies that Trump presided over in 2016 but did not curtail the massive and often violent rallies on the left. And the Democrats’ complete disregard and even endorsement of that violence is beginning to catch up with them, as evidenced by the backfiring of the DNC’s complete omission of any mention of the riots. So much so that Joe Biden was finally forced out of his basement to comment on the violence and blame it on Trump.
It’s time to push back. With leftists using the media’s megaphone to drown out dissenting opinions, the silent majority needs to find its voice. And fast. The hope is that the polling gap continues to narrow as Democrats’ continue to veer toward anarchy and Republicans toward law and order. There are eight weeks left until November 3rd. My banner is waiting.