The words are those of feminist poet, essayist, and critic Katha Pollitt, and they serve as the title of an article published Thursday in the far-Left “The Nation.” In the piece, she defends not only what she sees as the rightness of the #resistance to “the nuclear-wielding madman” who currently presides over our country but takes The New York Times to task for running an op-ed titled “Trump Isn’t a Threat to Our Democracy. Hysteria Is.”
She quotes briefly from the piece:
Since Donald Trump’s election, the United States has been gripped by tyrannophobia. Conspiracies against democracy are everywhere; truth is under siege; totalitarianism is making a comeback; ‘resistance’ is the last refuge of citizens
Then she offers her dismissal of the premise.
Hysteria? Tyrannophobia? Those are fighting words. You’d think the Times would have learned its lesson with Michael Kinsley’s much-mocked and quickly ended op-ed series, “Say something nice about Donald Trump.”
She then proceeds to a litany of liberal opinions on Donald Trump that in her view are “not hysterical”:
It is not hysterical to note that Trump is a racist of long standing. He ran as a racist, he was elected as a racist, and his White House features racists in high positions.
It’s not hysterical to fear that his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, will use bogus claims of voter fraud to purge people of color and other Democratic-leaning voters from the electoral rolls. …
Our professionally staffed federal agencies — that government bureaucracy people love to rail against — are a bulwark against demagoguery and corruption. It is not hysterical to note that Trump is intentionally undermining them. …
Trump is a racist: Check. Voter fraud is just an excuse to disenfranchise people of color and liberals: Check. Undoing the massive, job-crushing regulations Obama passed and trying to trim the bloated federal bureaucracy are evil. Checkmate.
Why The Nation chose to publish — or for that matter, why Pollitt chose to write — an anti-Trump manifesto is puzzling, all the more so because it has nothing to do with the title assertion about hysteria. Ideas and opinions, which is what are proffered in Pollitt’s article, are not hysterical. They can’t be. Hysteria is a human emotion and reaction to ideas and opinions. Things cannot be hysterical … only people can. Katha Pollitt is the author of four essay collections, two books of poetry, and countless articles. You’d think she would understand that distinction.
No, the hysteria on the Left is real and it is palpable. It was demonstrated two weekends ago when an army of street thugs elected to clash with white nationalists in Charlottesville. It was demonstrated again yesterday in Boston, when the same thugs descended on a rally held on behalf of free speech, striking and throwing to the ground an older woman holding aloft an American flag. It was demonstrated last week in Durham, N.C., when a mob of fevered anarchists toppled a public statue commemorating the Confederate Civil War dead, and it is evident in the acts of vandalism visited on memorials dedicated to our founding fathers.
If another civil war is in the making — and there is reason to fear that one is — it will not be fought by abstract ideas. It will be fought in the streets, and it will be fueled, at least on one side, by mass hysteria.