States are slowly beginning to signal that they won’t be railroaded on the darkly bizarre “men in the women’s bathrooms” issue, as witness the alliance of Texas Governor Greg Abbott and North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory. Others are likely to join in.
But citizens themselves are also starting to resist being repressed by absurd ukases issued out of political-correctness terrors. This isn’t happening everywhere, of course. In many situations, perhaps most, tyrannical ukase-issuings big and small are endured silently. (Or, on college campuses, demanded with tears, and enthusiastically embraced.) But a real backlash is emerging out there.
One such incident caught my eye this week. Our colleague Joe Newby posted on it at Conservative Firing Line. In Fruita, Colorado, just outside Grand Junction, a high school student was told by the school to stop flying the Confederate battle flag on his vehicle because someone found it offensive. He came back the next day with the Confederate flag and a U.S. flag flying from his truck – whereupon he was threatened with not being able to receive his diploma at the upcoming graduation ceremony.
There was a time when most Americans would have said the school had the authority to prohibit displays on student vehicles in the parking lot, and the right answer was to just suck it up and obey the edict. There are undoubtedly still many people who would say the same.
But that’s not what the students at Fruita Monument High School did. According to local news reporting:
By the end of the week, the school parking lot was filled with students flying the flag from their vehicles. A local veteran was reported on school grounds lending his support:
“We’re all proud of this flag. Thousands of people have died for this flag. I think we should be behind the kids.”
The principal, Todd McClaskey, had the usual bullet-proof explanation for his decision:
But principal Todd McClaskey said it had nothing to do with the flags [i.e., the prohibition wasn’t about which flags were being flown by students] and contradicted claims that graduation rites were threatened.
“It wasn’t a matter of it being an American flag, or a Rebel flag, or a Confederate flag, it was the fact that administration was spending time in the parking lot policing flags, rather than being in the building focused on helping students focus on learning and graduation, which is why we said no flags in the parking lot,” he said.
But the bullet-proof explanation just didn’t fly this time.
Nevertheless, McClaskey lifted the ban after seeing how passionate students were about the issue.
Americans have stopped buying the soothing-falsehood patter as readily as they once did. The automatic trust isn’t so automatic anymore. It’s not there for the authorities — petty or not so petty — to call on.
Of course this was about which flags were being flown. Of course a flag display by a student would have been treated differently if the student had flown a Mexican flag on his truck, instead of a Confederate flag. The student with the Mexican flag would have gotten away with it, even if someone did complain that the flag offended him.
Of course this wasn’t about the administration being distracted by an insignificant problem; it was about too many prohibitions, issued by too many administrations, everywhere in America, disfavoring some people unequally, and privileging others. It was about the disfavored people always being the ordinary, hard-working, patriotic middle class, regardless of race or creed.
It was, very importantly, about public administrations in America constantly misstating their intentions and decision criteria to the people, instead of serving them in good faith.
I was a bit surprised to see such a comprehensive uprising at this one Colorado school. The parents had to know about it, for one thing. Throughout my life, the natural, “good citizen” response of the average American has been to see authority and order as things we participate in, benignly and voluntarily, and to assume that they should be complied with under most circumstances.
But authority and order don’t command that old thoughtful compliance today. They’ve been abused and used against us too often. In too many situations, it’s obvious that everything we’re being silenced with is a “Big Lie”; i.e., a propaganda line, like the nonsense that transgender people have been unable to find a restroom to suit their needs for the last century; that the only way to correct this is to let men who give every sign of being fully unreconstructed males go into facilities where women and girls take their underwear off; and that North Carolina has made a terrible law that requires a browbeaten populace to present birth certificates when nature calls.
Each element of that propaganda package is a lie. There’s no “nicer” way to put it. The people know they’re being lied to, and they’re more than tired of it: they’re justifiably, actionably disgusted at being lied to, not just by the media but by the agents of their own government, whose salaries they pay and whose costly projects and edicts they are saddled with.
Hence, Donald Trump. No, he’s not “the answer” to this, and I’ve said that repeatedly. But out of all the political candidates in the last 30 or so years, he is the one who doesn’t bow down on cue to the P.C. juggernaut. More and more of the people have figured out that the P.C. juggernaut is a predator that sees them as prey. They aren’t going to sit paralyzed and wait to be bagged and tagged.