Washington Post columnist Petula Dvorak is confused. In October 2019 she visited a “Women for Trump” rally in our nation’s capital, trying to figure out why these women support President Trump. Attendants were hesitant to answer Dvorak, particularly when she identified herself as a WaPo employee.
“The women on the Capitol lawn approving of him, for the most part, didn’t want to talk to me,” she acknowledged. Those who did answered with vagaries, like one woman who simply explained her support with, “Oh, for many, many reasons.”
This prompted another question for Dvorak: Why are conservatives so distrustful of her and the mainstream media she represents? Dvorak thinks the answer can be reduced to President Trump’s disparaging of what he calls the “Amazon Washington Post” or the “Failing New York Times,” as if conservative women are mindless lemmings who bow to his every bidding.
I’ll offer a more basic answer: because these outlets, and many others like them, offer such blatantly critical and condescending perspectives on conservative Americans and their values. This is palpable even in Dvorak’s article, which rather than attempting empathy for conservative women who don’t equate feminism with pro-choice politics, simply belittles them. She writes:
But why, specifically, is he good for American women, I wanted to know. Was there a woman who believes the Equal Rights Amendment is an old idea that’s no longer relevant? Or a woman who believes it was Melania Trump who brought family values and Christmas back to the White House? Or a military mom who is so glad funding for military child care will instead be used to build the wall?
Well, when you set it up that way… Dvorak’s approach is akin to a lawyer who asks the defendant when he stopped beating his wife. Conservative women are simply presumed to be bigoted, or stupid, or who cares, as long as it’s an opportunity to trivialize them.
The problem goes far beyond Dvorak and her consistent mockery of conservatives. Monica Hesse, whose WaPo byline describes her as a “columnist writing about gender and its impact on society,” rivals Dvorak in her antipathy for conservatives and their way of life.
Hesse loves to write articles encouraging America to “have a conversation” or “talk about” some gender-related subject she deems important. Yet consider her provocative headlines: “Why do so many dads think it’s their duty to monitor their daughters’ virginity?” “We need to talk about why mass shooters are almost always men,” and “I walked ‘like a man’ for a week, and here’s what I realized.”
Hesse is also one of the many WaPo writers who engaged in unsubstantiated ad hominem attacks against now Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. In that article, no surprise, Hesse presumed Kavanaugh’s guilt. She wrote: “I longed for the dialogue a statement [acknowledging that Kavanaugh was too drunk to remember if he had sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford] could have forced us to have.” This is supposed to be “dialogue”? Would Hesse be willing to dialogue with people — say, the misogynists whose emails litter her email inbox — who attack her?
Notice that calls by Hesse, and many liberal commentators like her, for a national “conversation” don’t start on neutral ground. Kavanaugh is presumed guilty of sexual assault. Fathers who want to protect their teenage daughters from sex are oppressive patriarchs. People skeptical of transgenderism ideology are homophobes. Pro-life legislation and the politicians who support such laws are stupid, heartless, and misogynist.
If these are the grounds upon which the conversation is supposed to start, no wonder conservatives aren’t anxious to sit down over coffee with Hesse or Dvorak. If the presumption is that I, as a conservative, pro-life Catholic who believes femininity cannot be divorced from biology, and encourages his two daughters to be modest in their clothing, am an intolerant, patriarchal bigot, then I’ll take a rain check on “talking.” Such a conversation would just be another means of mocking me and my beliefs.
What is true of these WaPo writers is indicative of much of what one reads on liberal-leaning mainstream media, popular entertainment, and even commercials. CNN with its October 2019 LGBT town hall very explicitly declared its adherence to liberal sexual ideology, with no room for alternative opinions. Taylor Swift’s 2019 elitist video “You Need to Calm Down” portrays conservative Christians opposed to LGBT preferences as ugly, in-bred, backwards yokels.
I’d say this is a new development, but many years before shaving commercials attacked “toxic masculinity,” op-ed writers were already complaining that commercials increasingly ridiculed men. During the 2019 World Series, I counted four consecutive commercials where white heterosexual males were portrayed as bumbling idiots.
So much for “conversation.” The liberal institutions that dominate our nation’s discourse, from the Washington Post to Hollywood to academia, have already set the terms of the conversation, and it excludes a significant percentage of the American public.
Almost 40 percent of Americans think abortion should be illegal in most, if not all cases. About 40 percent of Americans favor requiring transgender people to use bathrooms that correspond to their biological sex. At least a third of Americans still think homosexual behavior is sinful.
Such Americans, according to people like Hesse and Dvorak, are exempted from polite public discourse, because they are sexist, homophobic bigots. Such people are worthy of nothing more than snarky, condescending ridicule.
It’s no wonder Dvorak had trouble finding conservative women willing to speak with her. They’re wise to the game, and the deck is stacked against them.