Sarah Leonard of The Nation looked out at the protesters in the days after the 2016 election and saw hope for the future of the country. “Just a day before, many of these same people were enthusiastically casting their ballots for a centrist Democrats; suddenly they were self-styled revolutionaries,” she wrote in a New York Times op-ed this week. “Could this be the moment that liberals were converted into radicals?”
Normally, when someone poses a question like that, it is framed negatively. After all, the term “radicals” does not necessarily make one think of the brightest spots in global history. It brings to mind, of course, the jihadists who launch suicide bomb attacks against innocent civilians all around the world. It brings to mind revolutionary government takeovers, such as we’ve seen in so many doomed Communist countries (and, to be fair, in our own). Sure, there have been occasions – such as that last one – where “radicals” made a great difference in the world. But generally speaking, that’s simply not the case. The very term makes one think of unhinged crusaders willing to create all manner of evil and death in the present so that a “better world” can be created in the future. Frankly, this rarely turns out well.
But Leonard is not at all negative about the prospect of the American left getting radicalized. In fact, it’s exactly what she’s counting on.
“The years since the 2008 financial crisis have seen a wave of protest movements, including Occupy, Black Lives Matter and immigrant rights campaigns,” she wrote. “What’s different now — and what’s encouraging — is that new people are getting involved, those for whom the status quo before Mr. Trump’s arrival in the White House didn’t necessarily seem so bad.”
So just take a moment to soak that in. To Ms. Leonard, Occupy Wall Street, BLM, and “A Day Without Immigrants” are movements whose only problem was that they weren’t LARGE enough! It’s hard to believe that there are actually people out there who think this way, even though it should be obvious. We struggle to think of a more useless, painfully lame movement than Occupy. BLM is just shy of a terrorist organization against the police, and we won’t even get into the idea of illegal immigrants having the “right” to live in the United States because the concept is absurd on its face. The only GOOD thing about these movements is that their own insanity has prevented them from spreading too far and wide to really make a difference.
But this shows you where Leonard is coming from. She doesn’t believe that America just “became bad” because Trump was elected; she believes that it’s been bad for a long time. And along with other revolutionaries on the far left, she is hoping to capitalize on Trump’s presidency to get mainstream Democrat voters excited about issues like the fall of capitalism, the end of criminalization and imprisonment, the erasure of our national borders, and the need for “radical wealth redistribution.”
Like 99% of “radicals” throughout history, Leonard and her extreme-left movement is almost certainly doomed to fail. The only question is how much human misery they will cause before they are cast out of American politics for good.