Conservatism Inc. strikes again, this time in the guise of Rich Lowry, writing for the National Review.
Of course, the proximate cause of the protests this time is the coronavirus lockdowns rather than Obamacare, although the feel of the demonstrations — expressing populist anger at government overreach — is the same, and so is the reaction of the critics.
The line of attack is the familiar one of using a few isolated idiots or kooks to tar the entire enterprise. To this end, if there’s one thing Democrats (and the media) want you to know about the anti-lockdown protest at the Michigan state capitol in Lansing last week, it’s that people were flying Confederate flags.
“What happened yesterday was inexcusable,” Representative Debbie Dingell (D., Mich.) said. “People did not have masks. They didn’t have gloves. They did not distance themselves. They had Confederate flags, swastikas.”
Governor Gretchen Whitmer scolded, “When people are flying the Confederate flag and untold numbers who gassed up on the way here or grabbed a bite on the way home — we know that this rally endangered people.”
The idea that they “had swastikas,” as Dingell said, is meant to mislead. A few protesters, in particular a widely photographed woman with a “Heil Witmer” (sic) sign, used swastikas to depict the governor as a fascist (obviously, a ridiculously over-the-top charge), not to identify themselves as Nazis.
You can watch long stretches of footage of the protests and see only a panorama of American flags…
Near the beginning, the Detroit Free Press video does show one Confederate flag, a man with the Stars-and-Bars emblazoned with a rifle and the words “come and get it.” That’s it. One idiot.
Lowry is right that the corporate media will pick out the most offensive symbol it can find, out of a sea of non-offensive symbols, in order to smear those it disapproves of. We’ve seen this many times in the past. The corporate media is far more circumspect when it comes to protesters from the left.
Incidentally, I predict that if the US economy is not restarted soon, there will be as many protesters from the left as there are from the right. Hunger and desperation trump all.
Was the man with a Confederate flag an idiot? I think it’s too harsh to judge him based on that. After all, I’ve been known to fly the Confederate flag – and NOBODY considers me an idiot!
But there’s a difference. I was flying the Confederate flag to make a specific point regarding freedom of speech and the Confederate flag. It was just after the anti-South hysteria that followed the Dylan Roof shooting. It bothered me that Southern heritage was under attack, and that our freedom of speech was also under attack. I felt I had to make a statement.
Perhaps, for the man in question, the Battle Flag symbolizes freedom – which is being taken away by our government, and this was his way of rebelling against such tyranny. I wouldn’t call him an idiot for that line of thinking.
Still, I think it’s important to compartmentalize our causes to the best of our ability. It would be wise to tailor our image, at any given event, as specifically as possible – assuming that our goal is to appeal to those on the fence.
For example, if we’re on the streets protesting against leftist violence, then we probably shouldn’t fly the Confederate flag at that event; it carries other baggage, and will only serve to alienate people from the primary message we’re trying to convey: Stop leftist violence.
If we’re protesting for a white homeland, it’s probably not a good idea to promote eugenics at the same time. It’s true that for many people eugenics is important – but this is not the appropriate time. Focus on the point you want to communicate, not on presenting a smorgasbord of causes – because doing so will only alienate potential allies.
I doubt that this is the reason Rich Lowry objected to the Confederate flag; He’s made it clear elsewhere that he finds it distasteful because…
The Confederate army fought for an odious cause.
This is a perfect example of Conservatism Inc. thinking, which is indistinguishable from leftist thinking. Perhaps this would be a good time to share an interview with a former Confederate soldier; he says he DID NOT fight for slavery (at 13:02), so who are we going to believe, the Confederate soldier, or Rich Lowry?