Leftist ‘historian’ Howard Zinn (not Thomas Jefferson) said during the run-up to the war on terror under President George W. Bush that “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.” The phrase didn’t originate with Zinn, but it became a calling card for Democrats and liberals who opposed the President’s agenda, his policies and the man himself. Any push back on Democrats who balked at the President’s legislation as it related to the war on terrorism was quickly met with self-righteous outrage. “How dare you question my patriotism?”
In 2003, then-Senator Hillary Clinton said, “I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and you disagree with this administration, somehow you’re not patriotic. We should stand up and say we are Americans and we have a right to debate and disagree with any administration!”
Dissent was fashionable. Once the recession hit and President Bush’s approval numbers declined, the issue of dissent was mostly swept away for bigger concerns. However, dissent took center stage once again when Barack Obama was elected. Except for this time, dissent was out of the question, and President Obama was given carte blanche to question anybody’s patriotism. Conservatives, upset with President Bush over TARP and the bailout of AIG, along with President Obama’s stimulus proposal and bailouts of the auto industry, formed what came to be known as The Tea Party. A party in name only, it was a loose collection of activists who were fed up with the government bailing out businesses and keeping them from failing the way businesses do every day in a free market.
Then a funny thing happened. Donald Trump won and suddenly dissent was fashionable again. There was no delay or hesitation. Protests sprung up on the night of the election. Hillary Clinton, who chastised Donald Trump for suggesting he might not accept the results of the election if he lost, signed on to pointless recount efforts in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. When that didn’t work, Democrats began pressuring electors in states where they were not bound by law to vote for the candidate they were chosen to represent. Democrats enlisted celebrities to persuade electors to vote for somebody else other than Donald Trump.
It goes further than that. A proud “Trump resistance” movement has formed, promising to oppose everything Trump does, no matter what. The hashtag, #Disrupt is being used as a call for protesters to take to the streets of Washington D.C. on January 20th under the calling of “no peaceful transition.” Many Democratic members of Congress have stated their intentions of not attending Trump’s inauguration, with Rep. John Lewis of Georgia stating unequivocally he doesn’t believe Donald Trump is a ‘legitimate’ President-elect.
The sea change in the attitude, not of Americans as a whole, but on the left, is startling. What was once patriotic, then racist and out of bounds, is once again patriotic. It appears that dissent is the highest form of patriotism, as long as the right party is in power.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.