Amid the scenes circulating on social media this week of protesters and rioters and burned out storefronts and police barricades, two of them stand out as harbingers of what all of this means for the future of mainstream American society.
The first was a video clip of a small group of white people kneeling down before a group of black people. A white man at the head of the kneeling group was praying, his voice shaking with emotion: “Father, we ask for forgiveness from our black brothers and sisters for years and years of racism, of systematic racism.”
The second was a clip of a large gathering in the affluent DC suburb of Bethesda, Maryland. Nearly a thousand protesters, most of them white, their hands raised as if in prayer, engaged in a kind of collective woke sermon, repeating after a man on a microphone: “I will use my voice in the most uplifting way possible, and do everything in my power to educate my community. I will love my black neighbors the same as my white ones…”
Protesters in Bethesda attend a woke sermon to cry about their white guilt. Note that not a single one of them is social distancing. Two weeks ago, the media would've called them terrorists. pic.twitter.com/rOJCsmPs9v
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) June 2, 2020
More than the rampant looting and the street battles, more than the clashes between police and protesters, these scenes of white people genuflecting in mass public affirmations of their own guilt is the key to understanding where all this is headed.
The model at work here is the Chinese Cultural Revolution, with its mass “struggle sessions” in which anyone deemed insufficiently sympathetic to the proletariat, or thought to have an excessively bourgeois lifestyle, was subjected to public humiliations, paraded through the streets, assaulted, denounced, and put on display as objects of scorn. Often these struggle sessions ended in false confessions and pleas for mercy.
Obviously, no one in America is being paraded through the streets against their will. But by rushing to profess their supposed guilt for racism, these people are admitting that they need publicly to affirm their allegiance to woke identity politics. This represents nothing less than the emergence of a new regime in American life. What is now a voluntary and seemingly spontaneous public affirmation of progressive ideology will in time become a requirement. If you want a career or a public platform or a professional life in mainstream society, you’ll have to profess allegiance to the cultural left.
Here’s How The New Regime Will Work
Already, we see examples of how this will play out. This week, Sacramento Kings play-by-play announcer Grant Napear, who has called NBA games since 1988, resigned after tweeting “ALL LIVES MATTER” Sunday night in response to a question from former Kings star DeMarcus Cousins asking him for his take on the Black Lives Matter movement.
Within days, Napear had also lost his popular sports talk radio show. He later issued a public apology to the Sacramento Bee. “I’m not as educated on BLM as I thought I was,” Napear said. “I had no idea that when I said ‘All Lives Matter’ that it was counter to what BLM was trying to get across.”
No matter. For the sin of being insufficiently woke about BLM, Napear’s career is over.
You don’t need to stretch your imagination to see how this process might repeat itself in the future, and on a mass scale. Anyone with a job in the public eye or even a significant social media following who doesn’t publicly affirm the ideological preferences of the Left might be subject to similar treatment. To a certain extent, this is already the case.
And it has been a long time coming. What we’re seeing now is the result of a decades-long project on the left that is now bearing fruit in American civic life. That project has perhaps found its fullest expression in the New York Times’ 1619 Project, which takes as its starting point that America was founded to protect and preserve slavery, and that the American constitutional system is the source of our society’s ills, foremost among them being racism.
That is, America as such is the root cause of the evils that now beset us, and it is America as such that must be transformed in order to right the wrongs of the past. And if you don’t get on board with that transformation then you probably won’t have a place in the new America.