George Will, who counts among those who got a few things wrong in 2016, has written a not-so-fond farewell to last year. (Come to think of it, how many people can honestly say that they will miss 2016.)
Will does not mention his own failures at political prognostication, so we will not mention our own.
Instead he offers scenes the culture wars. Or better, from the cultural tyranny that has characterized the Obama years. If you want to understand why Trump won, look at administrative overreach and the government's will to force people to follow rules that made no sense. As I and several others have noted, most of these rules defy or ignore reality. And yet, no one seemed to care… except the American voters who said: Enough.
It was not as bad as the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution—American students were not cannibalizing their teachers—but, led by student Red Guards and their bureaucratic enablers the Great American Cultural Revolution invaded far too many lives.
Will begins his compendium, thusly:
One day a year — Lemonade Day — children in Austin, Texas, can sell the stuff without spending $460 on various fees, licenses, and permits. Twelve-year olds in a Tampa middle school, learning about “how much privilege” they have, were asked if they were “Cisgendered,” “Transgendered,” or “Genderqueer.” Two years after Emma was the most common name given to baby American girls, the trend was toward supposedly gender-neutral baby names (e.g., Lincoln, Max, Arlo) lest the child feel enslaved to stereotypes. A New Jersey mother says a police officer interrogated her nine-year-old son after he was suspected of a racial slur when he talked about brownies, the baked good. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission pondered whether a worker committed racial harassment by wearing a cap emblazoned with the Gadsden flag (depicting a coiled rattlesnake, with the words “Don’t Tread on Me”). A University of Iowa professor complained that the Hawkeyes’ mascot, Herky, a fierce bird, is “conveying an invitation to aggressivity and even violence” that is discordant with the “all accepting, nondiscriminatory messages we are trying to convey.”
The mania even touched the Founding Fathers—the phrase was discovered to be sexist—and even to North Carolina’s restrooms:
As President’s Day approached, San Diego advised city workers to use “bias-free language” by avoiding the phrase “Founding Fathers.” A National Park Service employee giving guided tours of Independence Hall in Philadelphia told tourists that the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were produced by “class elites who were just out to protect their privileged status.” The employee praised herself for her “bravery.” The NBA, which plays preseason games in China, home of forced abortions and organ harvests, moved its 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte because of North Carolina’s law stipulating that transgender individuals should use bathrooms appropriate to their physiology.
According to the NBA and our bureaucratic overlords, it’s a just cause. Apparently, the American people demurred. Naturally, this has caused culture warriors across the nation to fall into the slough or despond or to go into high dudgeon… or both, depending on the day.
And then, Will reminds us of another great Obama administration failure, this one the signature issue of Michelle Obama. As we know, Mrs. Obama has been praised to the rafters in the last days of her husband’s administration. Were she to run for office, we are assured that she would be a shoo-in. And yet, how did her school lunch program work out? Or should it be called: Starve the Children.
We have followed it on this blog, but Will provides us with some needed perspective:
By 2016, six years after the president’s wife agitated for federal guidelines limiting sodium, sugar, fats, and calories in school lunches, 1.4 million students had exited the National School Lunch Program, and students had a robust black market in salt and sugar. A tweet with the hashtag #ThanksMichelleObama said, “The first lady can have a personal chef, but I can’t have two packets of ketchup?”
Apparently, no issue was too trivial for the administrative state and its armies of bureaucrats. It was not just a hint and a nudge. It was an imposition. If you imagine that American parents, seeing their children forced on to a starvation diet in school, were going to take it lying down… you were wrong.
I mention it, and perhaps Will was thinking of it, but the accumulation nof these details tells us why people voted for Donald Trump.