*AP-Photo: Carolyn Kaster
As the healthcare fight rages in the Senate, we are once again being treated to the wildly over-the-top, fear-mongering rhetorical spectacle that has come to define the messaging of the Democrat Party in 2017. To many in the Republican rank-and-file, who have long viewed many Republican leaders as spineless incompetents and see their Party’s new healthcare reform package as depressingly toothless, this must all be rather amusing. Or at least it would be if the Democrats’ chorus wasn’t so persistent, deafening, and shameless.
I was appalled while watching Democrats speak on the Senate floor regarding the healthcare bill, but not altogether surprised, at just how far each of them took their rhetoric. Vermont’s Patrick Leahy declared the bill to be a “cruel and cynical hoax.” (On a side note, I wonder if Senator Leahy thought the same of his party’s blatantly false promises to preserve access to a patients’ doctors and insurance plans when advocating for their package seven years ago.)
Elizabeth Warren, courageously charging forth in her apparent bid to make her party one that caters exclusively to hopelessly out-of-touch university students, accused the Republicans of paying for tax cuts in their plans with “blood money.” And dear old Bernie Sanders, who is behaving more repugnantly than usual, declared that Republican efforts would kill nine times more people in a single year than were lost during the 9/11 attacks.
Naturally, no one is ever asked how many would actually die if the nation continues on its current course and one day, not too far from now, is forced to make excruciating cuts to prevent bankruptcy. Nevermind how many would die if Senator Sanders’ “Medicare for All” plan were to take effect and bankrupt us before the legislation’s ink dried.
Back to the Senators’ comments, though, imagine what those with little political awareness must think when they hear this kind of repulsive rhetoric. One must be under the impression that a Dickensian figure by the name of Mitch McConnell was going around hospitals shooing out sick children with a riding crop while his colleagues commit arson at nursing homes.
Unfortunately, today’s prototypical low-information voter happens to be the average college student. This isn’t a coincidence. There is a disquieting intersection between the coarse rhetoric of Democratic leaders and the single-minded ignorance of millennial students. The Democratic Party is increasingly morphing into a movement in which all one must do to be applauded is claim to be devoted to the interests of vulnerable communities and hurl vitriolic attacks at those who break from their dogma. .
Democratic leaders aren’t acting alone in their efforts to bastardize American politics, however. They are aided in this task by intellectually bankrupt university cultures which tirelessly reinforce left-wing ideology in and out of the classroom. In doing so, they have crafted a paradigm in which students come to believe that the only morally correct ideologies are on the left.
On the campus and in popular culture, the choice is between the party which purports to stand up for the downtrodden and a party that is depicted only as a grotesque caricature a la Scrooge McDuck. So the Democrats’ story goes, one party is for the poor, the other for the rich; one party wants to defend minorities, the other is comfortable seeing them harmed; one party wants to protect the people from harm, the other will sell them out to special interests.
This chorus has become deafening in recent years, and even more so in the past few months. So much so that this rhetorical framework has seeped from American universities and has come to define mainstream American politics.
As part of my current job, I’m exposed to CNN for eight hours a day. As the Senate debated the healthcare bill, I was subjected to round-the-clock coverage. After a week, the only things one would learn is that the bill slashes Medicaid, gives tax cuts to the rich, and would leave millions uninsured. These Democrat talking points were all swiftly adopted by the network and repeated incessantly while the pesky details of these extraordinarily misleading lines were left out. Thank goodness trust in the media is at an all time low, or every single decent American would be in the Democrat Party. Then again, if you believe what Democrats are saying about their opponents, you’d think this was already the case.
The implication of the Democrat Party’s argument, channeled through the media and professors, is very simple — Democrats, though sometimes imperfect, are good while Republicans are fundamentally evil at their core.
This has created a political landscape where details, facts, nuance, and a clear mind are entirely disregarded. One need not understand policies or the well-considered principles guiding them when one can use high-minded talking points. And why shouldn’t they? All one hears from holders of the esteemed office of United States Senator are one-liners about impending death at the hands of an opposing political party.
The bottom line is this: whether it is in the halls of Congress, newsrooms, or classrooms, Democrats have created an environment in which being a member of their party is a great moral virtue. Readers who paid saw the sanctimonious preachings of their friends on social media this past election will know exactly what I mean.Traditional conceptions of morality are being uprooted in favor of ones that require only low-brow rhetorical ploys and blind vitriol for a person to be deemed virtuous. Under this new moral framework, a person could devote their lives to charity, but if they were to vote Republican they’d be little better than common murderers.
In short, the new highest virtue is narcissism. Is it any wonder, therefore, why the millennial generation is so painfully narcissistic?
We are the first generation in America for whom the fight to be good is not a personal struggle, but a collective one deferred to the federal government and supported only by ambiguous, watered-down principles with no basis in anything concrete besides a collective desire to be unaccountable. How a generation like this can successfully lead the greatest nation on earth, I have no idea.
This is not to say we are doomed, however. The election of Donald Trump, while not exactly a triumph for traditional values, demonstrated a profound mistrust of the media, campus culture, and the rhetoric of the Democratic Party. More than anything, though, it demonstrates that while marching in lockstep with the Left may be the easy choice, enough Americans understand that it is not the right choice. Hopefully in time a majority in our generation will come to recognize the same as we confront the consequences of our new morality in our own lives.