It has always been cool to be a rebel – to be a part of “The Resistance,” the outsider thumbing his or her nose at the man. That probably accounts for the success of revolutionary movements throughout the ages; they harness the rebellious spirit of the youth. So, what’s a hot-headed young Che Guevara-wannabe to do when the allegedly fascist regime against which he raged and struggled is succeeded by a new set of rulers who are supposedly the antidote to everything that was wrong with those they replaced?
The journey from smashing the system to uncritical compliance is a humiliating one for those who formally considered themselves dark and dangerous outcasts whose mission it was to bring down their oppressors. That, however, is now where the likes of Antifa and Black Lives Matter find themselves.
Those cocky young marauders are now standing silently by while the new political bosses claim that all criticism of the almighty state is seditious. Where is that rebellious spirit now? Was it always nothing more than a facade?
They are in illustrious company: Most employees of the establishment media and almost everyone in Hollywood and Big Tech face the embarrassment of having to completely reverse course. Where before they were supposedly speaking truth to power and courageously pointing out everything that was wrong with America and its federal government, they now must embrace every word and deed that comes out of the new administration and masters of Congress.
Tough Choice for the Former Rebels
What other choice do they have? Like Barack Obama, Joe Biden has promised – no, more than promised; he has stated his certain intent – to right all the wrongs of the previous administration. As Obama discovered, the nation’s chief executive officer cannot merely blame everything upon his predecessor. Once you have pledged to right the ship, you cannot complain about the previous captain’s poor navigation skills when the vessel continues on the same course as before.
In fairness, every new president should get eight or ten months’ grace – six months if his or her own party controls both chambers of Congress. After that, though, whatever problems the previous president caused should have been fixed. If they haven’t been, then perhaps the new president has already failed.
What, then, can former members of The Resistance do to avoid looking ridiculous? Will they continue to march and riot? Will they still claim that America is an awful, oppressive country run by fascists? If they do, they will concede – with the entire nation as witnesses – that the man who now occupies the White House is no better than the one he replaced.
Will they fall silent? Will there be no more demonstrations and calls for radical change? Will they claim that everything against which they railed has now been made right? That would be a stretch, to suddenly claim that more than two hundred years of systemic racism, repression of women’s rights, victimization of gays, and various other heinous sins have all been abruptly erased.
That doesn’t give Biden a pass, though. Donald Trump did not campaign on pledges to fix everything that was supposedly wrong with American society. He vowed to fix the economy, enforce immigration laws, bring about energy independence, and disengage the U.S. from pointless foreign entanglements. Trump did all those things – and he did them faster than anyone thought possible. Like the man he served as vice president, Biden promised to heal America’s social and racial wounds, though. If he does not, then he will have failed – just as Obama failed.
It doesn’t wash to make the excuse that such old scars cannot be healed that quickly. Obama pledged to erase those scars, and he did not. Biden has made the mistake of pledging the same, and he too will likely fail.
The Real Resistance
What of Trump’s supporters, then? They never did face the same dilemma as left-wing activists. Trump voters embraced an anti-establishment candidate. They stuck with him as he became a despised, anti-establishment president. They were always the true Resistance, while BLM, Antifa, and other extremists on the left really wanted the restoration of the administrative state. Now they have it, and they must toe the line and become good little subjects or resist once again, thereby admitting that Biden’s ascent to the White House was an exercise in futility.
Trump’s America, though, is now once again on the outside. It is now – finally – cool to be a conservative, for conservatives have been portrayed by the new regime as enemies of the state. Even the Republican Party has largely shunned them, which was tantamount to political suicide.
The Resistance is dead. Long live The Resistance!
Read more from Graham J. Noble.