After the election with two races undecided in Georgia, Chuck Schumer sounded more like William Tecumseh Sherman, proclaiming on the streets of New York: “Now we take Georgia, then we change the world. Now we take Georgia, then we change America.” The Senate Minority Leader (and hopeful Senate Majority Leader) was referring to two runoff elections that could hand the Senate to the Democrats with total control of the legislative and executive branches. The last Yankee to promise a scorched earth campaign through Georgia delivered on his promise. Ironically, the Georgia campaign will commence on an ominous anniversary. The infamous “March to the Sea” by Gen. Sherman began on November 15th and ended shortly before Christmas. The march left Georgia in ashes.
The idea of the march through Georgia was to break the spirit and ability of the South to continue to resist. It has been described as “total war” with Sherman’s forces living off the land as Sherman promised to utterly destroy his opponents.
One distinction is that Democrats are predicting that the scorched earth campaign will come after, not during the Georgia campaign. When the news media was still predicting a “Blue wave” taking both houses before the election, senators were openly discussing stripping their colleagues of legislative powers, packing the court, and changing the political system. Even after losing seats in the House and a close presidential election, Schumer was assuring his supporters that Democrats will move forward with their sweeping agenda on a single vote margin in the Senate.
That agenda took on an even more menacing tenor in a tweet from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). She rallied Democrats to win the Georgia races so “we don’t have to negotiate in that way.” She further seemed to promise another scorched Earth campaign against anyone who was not sufficiently opposed to Trump. She tweeted “Is anyone archiving these Trump sycophants for when they try to downplay or deny their complicity in the future? I foresee decent probability of many deleted Tweets, writings, photos in the future.”
Other Democratic figures are celebrating Biden as a “healer” while emphasizing that he and his followers remain evil incarnate. Former first lady Michelle Obama denounced “tens of millions of people voted for the status quo, even when it meant supporting lies, hate, chaos, and division.”
The “healing” moment appears to have passed as the nation falls back on what is now our natural default position of contempt and condemnation. There are still scores to be settled and spoils to be claimed. When Biden said that we will now “see each other again,” it appears to have been heard as an invitation for targeting rather than embracing those on the other side. When asked about AOC’s call for a black list, Sanders surrogate Nomiki Konst helpfully noted that the first on the list would be people like the former Republicans in the Lincoln Project. She said that those people like George Conway are the “perfect examples” of people to be cancelled despite their work against Trump. That did not take long. After spending millions in support of Biden, Knost and AOC are calling for all such figures to be listed and held “accountable.”
The promise to identify and cancel anyone deemed as “complicit” is all-too-familiar for many faculty and students across the country. We have been increasing intolerance for dissenting views. What began as compelled silence has become compelled speech where the failure to be sufficiently enthusiastic is deemed evidence of complicity. Indeed, Marymount Manhattan theater arts associate professor Patricia Simon was the subject of a campaign to be fired after appearing to fall asleep briefly during an anti-racist meeting held on Zoom. She was by definition not “woke.”
It appears that lists are being prepared on some campuses. At Harvard, students are calling for the firing of professors who personally hold views deemed unacceptable. Joshua Conde, a Crimson editor pointed to the hiring of two professors Diana Schaub and David Kane who were viewed as critical of the loss of faith and family values in the African-American community. The editorial demanded that Harvard remove any professors who hold “similar unacceptable views” because “The voices of students cannot be ignored any longer.”
I am not sure if I will be one of those found “complicit.” While I have repeatedly criticized Trump, I testified at the impeachment hearing as the only Republican witness. So let me cut to the chase. I am ready for reform. I am frantically assembling my columns criticizing Trump to clutch pathetically to my chest through any public shaming. It is not clear if any of us can still redeem ourselves as cooperative subjects for reeducation but, I am prepared to give up names (starting with my editors). I will immediately embrace everything from Biden’s consideration of unprecedented court packing to Elizabeth Warren’s call for unconstitutional wealth taxes as really good ideas. Just give me a chance. Why cancel when simple coercion will suffice?
In the Union song, “Marching Through Georgia,” Sherman’s forces sang “Treason fled before us, for resistance was in vain.” The problem is that even those who joined the “resistance,” like those at the Lincoln Project, are now being set up for cancelling. I have often quoted the statement of French revolutionary Abbe Sieyes, the author of French Revolution’s manifesto of “What Is The Third Estate?” Yet, when asked what he had done during the French Revolution, he simply responded “I survived.”