National Review Editor-at-Large Kathryn Jean Lopez is criticizing country singer Jason Aldean for his new hit about small-town Americans defending themselves against left-wing violence and chaos, saying “we don’t need songs” like that. Lopez accuses Aldean of unnecessarily promoting “anger and violence,” encouraging him to instead focus on conveying messages of love.
“Part of the reason abortion is so prevalent in America is that people don’t know what a gift their own lives are,” writes Lopez. “That’s why we don’t need songs about pulling out guns to take care of problems that come from a deficit of love.”
While I have nothing but respect for Lopez as a person, her analysis fundamentally fails to grasp the immediate, tangible threat the left poses to every American. Abortion and left-wing domestic terrorism are not the same issues. Aldean’s song “Try That in a Small Town” puts blue city lawlessness and the destructive 2020 Black Lives Matter riots on blast, asserting, “That sh-t may fly in the city. Good luck trying that in a small town.” The song is a powerful expose of Democrat carnage and a symbol of defiance among everyday Americans.
Perhaps Lopez doesn’t know what it’s like to witness Marxist looters and arsonists descend on a small community. I, however, saw this firsthand while reporting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, during the 2020 riots. There was no time to instill “hope” and “love” into the hearts of leftist criminals. Everyday citizens were forced to fight tooth and nail for their lives and livelihoods.
After the shooting of Jacob Blake, Black Lives Matter and Antifa rioters from blue cities like Chicago and Portland swarmed the city. Outnumbered local and state law enforcement only had enough manpower to protect public buildings in the town’s center, leaving citizens’ homes and businesses at the mercy of the mob.
Meet Chuck, the owner of a tire shop who spent every night on his roof, gun in hand, guarding his business. To the rioters, he said: “Come to my shop and I’ll blow your heads off.” On the second night of rioting, I witnessed dozens of men like Chuck standing in front of their homes and businesses with guns and baseball bats, ready to defend themselves.
One woman, who out of fear of retribution asked that her face not be shown, broke down in tears as she watched her neighborhood in uptown Kenosha go up in flames. She described the scene as a “war zone.”
Robert Cobb, a 70-year-old longtime Kenosha man, was viciously beaten by BLM rioters after he tried to stop them from stealing from the 100-year-old Danish Brotherhood. Cobb tried to keep the criminals at bay with a fire extinguisher, but the rioters sneak-attacked him, leaving Cobb with a jaw broken in three places, a swollen eye, and stitches to a head wound.
Kenosha suffered $50 million in property damage, affecting 100 businesses, including 40 that never reopened. That number could have been far greater had Kenoshans not taken up firearms, baseball bats, and fire extinguishers against the rioters.
Aldean’s song is an artistic assertion that Americans, like those in Kenosha, do not need to stand by helplessly as the Marxist mob is threatening their lives, especially given that the state routinely abdicates its responsibility to protect citizens.
Perhaps Lopez would argue 2020 was an exception, but the physical threat of leftism is felt every day, making Aldean’s song all the more pertinent. Take, for example, the horrific 2021 Christmas parade attack in Waukesha, Wisconsin. In a city not far from Kenosha, convicted felon Darrell Brooks Jr. plowed through parade-goers in his vehicle, with the criminal complaint saying he drove in a zig-zag to hit as many people as possible.
Brooks wounded more than 60 people and killed six in the small city only 20-30 minutes away from Milwaukee. Just days before the parade massacre, Brooks — who was facing serious felony charges, including one related to running a woman over with his vehicle — posted his $1,000 bail.
All the parade victims could have been alive and unharmed had the office of soft-on-crime, George Soros-backed Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm not given Brooks dangerously low bail prior to the attack.
Even though Waukesha is a small city with a community-oriented atmosphere, its people were not immune to the disastrous crime policies of Milwaukee. Aldean’s song is a powerful anthem for these casualties of Democrat disorder and violence. It’s a statement of agency and strength in the face of real-life threats to countless American lives.
Democrats have essentially declared war on the homeland, and in the face of this imminent danger, people have a right to defend themselves. The reality is love and free hugs won’t protect anyone from Molotov cocktails, free-roaming violent criminals, mob looting, and professional Marxist rioters and arsonists.