We were enjoying a lovely brunch down the shore yesterday when the crowd at the bar erupted. Glancing up at the big screen, I saw the U.S. Women’s National Team had just been awarded a penalty kick. A moment later, the back of the net billowed to the exaltation of those assembled: the United States had a 1-0 lead. Of late, this team’s journey has been that rarest of pearls in the ocean of American acrimony, something we were all rooting for.
But it is 2019, and anyone even semi sentient knows we really can’t have nice things. Just hours after the Yanks hoisted their record-breaking fourth World Cup trophy, a viral video started making the rounds. In it, a Fox News reporter is apparently looking to interview American fans in a bar in Lyon, France, where the match was played. But before he can, the crowd launches into a chant of “F-ck Trump.”
— Sara Pearl (@skenigsberg) July 7, 2019
Now for people in the media who may know or may be related to people who decide to vacation in France to attend the women’s World Cup, this might look like peak brave, mighty resistance. But to most Americans it looks like a bunch of spoiled rich kids dragging the president while on foreign soil. And I’m not just talking about riling up Trump’s base. Independent voters who are skeptical, even critical, of Trump but don’t loathe him with the intensity of a Higgs-Boson particle aren’t really in on the joke.
In fairness, the women’s World Cup had already taken on political overtones with promises from team members not to accept a presumed White House invitation if they won. But most people were willing to look past this. In the sports desert that is early July, if you’re not a Yankees fan you need some sports, and this team became the story that captivated the country.
Taking every aspect of our culture and enlisting it in a political crusade against Donald Trump is not merely abrasive, it’s destructive. A culture, a society, is defined by those things people share in their hearts. If nothing is shared, there is no culture. If no moment of beach goers in New Jersey celebrating a U.S. win over Bloody Marys can escape the cruel grasp of the political moment, then what hope is there?
The best thing that Democrats and those who detest Trump could do right now is lay out policies. Here’s a border plan. Here’s how we keep unemployment low. Infrastructure week. But instead, like the fans in France who apparently think they are making their stand against fascism by shouting vulgarities about the president, what we get from the Democrats is basically, “F-ck Trump.”
The proof of Democrats’ lack of serious policy proposals lies in the absurd proposals they have produced. Bail out student debt, free health insurance for illegal immigrants, the Green New Deal, all the candy and comic books you could ever want. But the underlying theme, the animating element of the Democratic primary, is “F-ck Trump.”
Here’s a little thought experiment. Here’s a guy sitting in his living room. He doesn’t love Trump, he doesn’t hate him, and yes such people exist in great numbers. Either on TV or on one of his internet feeds, he sees this video. Is his reaction more likely to be finally seeing the light and realizing that Trump is a tyrant? Or will it be more like, “Come on, really? You have to do this here? Now? Why?”
Let us have nice things. Not everything is about Trump. And when you make everything about Donald Trump, well, we know what happens.