Adriana Cohen is off this week. The following column is by Josh Hammer.
More so than at any time in at least a half-century, and possibly at any time since Lee’s surrender to Grant at Appomattox, the American system of governance and way of life is under existential duress. As one astute remonstrator observed on Twitter, what we are now witnessing is an attempt at regime change in the United States of America.
That may well come across as embellishment at best and disingenuousness at worst. But nothing could be further from the truth. How else to interpret the mass anarchy and callous disregard for the rule of law now wreaking havoc upon America’s greatest cities? How else to assess the destruction wrought by the scofflaws and ingrates who patrol the land on a never-ending hunt to vandalize and topple memorials erected in honor of our noblest statesmen, such as George Washington?
The modern left, in thrall to the anarchists of antifa and the Marxists of Black Lives Matter, has positioned itself as a political movement that stands athwart the American regime. At an institutional level, Democratic Party leadership is increasingly a dog wagged by the tail that is antifa and Black Lives Matter. And that tail, as is openly conceded in moments of candor, is resolutely opposed to the idea of America itself. There is no alternative way to comprehend the ardent desire of those insurrectionists who, channeling the very worst of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, would deface and demolish societal tributes to the man who wrote the Declaration of Independence (Jefferson) and the man who brought to fruition its ideals (Lincoln). Could we ask for a more clarion demonstration of the dripping disdain with which the left views the entire American project?
We are now in the midst of a cold civil war between Americanists, proud defenders and preservers of the American regime and way of life, and the civilizational arsonists who seek to burn that regime and way of life into the ether. Yes, we are in a fight for America’s soul — but we are also in a fight for America itself.
Amidst our current doldrums, in the dog days of an election year, and staring at foreboding poll numbers this November, Republicans face a crossroads. On the one hand, the president and his party can continue the status quo, which entails rhetorical paeans to both law and order and “criminal justice reform” and “police reform.” On the other hand, Republicans can boldly rise up, paint a stark and unequivocal contrast with the civilizational arsonists, and offer a compelling defense of the moral primacy of the rule of the law and the American way of life.
Republicans must choose the latter course. From here through November, President Trump and Republicans must present themselves, as their partisan forebear Lincoln once did, as the defenders and preservers of the American regime. They must call out the radicals of the modern left for what they are: unmitigated foes of an American order predicated upon the Declaration’s truths about human equality, the Constitution’s structural safeguards for ordered liberty, and the wisdom embodied in the Judeo-Christian moral tradition undergirding our entire governmental edifice.
Every single day until Election Day, Trump and Republicans should frame the choice facing the American people as between the American regime and insurrectionism. But to credibly do so, Republicans must immediately pivot to a full-throated rhetorical and substantive defense of why the American regime is worth preserving.
Campaign trail speeches, congressional bills, and everything in between ought to revolve around unabashed assertions of America’s inherent worth and dignity. The New York Times’ “1619 Project” should be denounced as a monstrous, ahistorical mendacity — and the spirit of 1776 should be channeled and lauded. The rule of law, as well as law enforcement itself, must be heralded as indispensable elements of a just society conceived centuries ago and still worth defending today.
The president’s current poll numbers do not inspire confidence. If the election were held tomorrow, Joe Biden would all but assuredly prevail. But there is still time to make the case. That case must be a forceful and unrelenting call to preserve the American regime and way of life against the threat posed by those seeking to destroy it — and celebrate in its burnt ashes.