I’m a big fan of Matt Vespa, my pseudo-colleague at the Salem/Townhall Mothership. So when I razz on him a little bit, it’s all in good fun.
Earlier this month, Vespa wrote a story about the canceling of Barack Obama. His headline? “When Barack Obama Is Canceled, You Know the Circus Is Truly in Town.” He wasn’t just reporting on the fact that even the sainted Barack Obama isn’t pure enough for the woke crowd — he was rightly mocking them for it.
Matt’s article is well worth a read, and I, too, found it shocking that immigration activists would protest naming a school after Obama because of his record on deportations. But the trouble with using mockery to respond to the Left is that people aren’t always laughing with us.
Take the common conservative approach to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, for example. Sure, she says things that are absolutely absurd. In a particularly memorable rant, AOC said that Hispanic communities in New York City should grow plants that only grow in warmer climates in order to stick it to the man and fight “colonial environmentalism.” Her statement was completely absurd.
But saying absurd things is AOC’s strategy. She draws people in by making absurd claims and then using the Left’s worldview to back up her arguments — and sometimes, her arguments logically follow.
That’s what makes her dangerous. When conservatives only report what she says and mock her, saying “She’s so dumb, lol,” they give her attention and don’t take the time to dissect what she’s saying. We can’t just mock her — we have to demonstrate why her rhetoric is wrong and why it’s harmful for America.
It is absurd to claim that the United States of America in the 21st century is “systemically racist.” To do so would deny the tremendous moral progress of the abolitionist movement, the civil rights movement, the dismantling of bans on interracial marriage like in Loving v. Virginia (1967), and the election of the first black president.
Americans should know this. It’s fundamental to our history and to our identity as a nation. Yet when President Joe Biden touts critical race theory and goes on to call a Georgia election integrity law “Jim Crow on steroids,” people listen.
Heck, Delta Airlines and Coca Cola listen. Major League Baseball listens, and responds by moving about $100 million in business out of Georgia.
With all due respect, this isn’t funny anymore. To my mind, it never was. The Left is insane, yes, but our response can’t just be poking fun at them. We have to brush up our studies, practice our rhetoric, and pound the pavement. We can’t just sit back and laugh at memes about AOC’s stupidity. AOC is influencing the most powerful man in the world, and his batshit climate policies bear her stamp of approval.
Humor can be an effective political weapon, but it works best in small doses. Gutting mockery is not nearly as effective as a well-placed reasoned argument. It is far easier for AOC to dismiss the people who constantly mock her than it is for her to dismiss people who point out the flaws in her arguments. That‘s the kind of conservative commentator I want to be — and I hope, gentle reader, you agree.