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Assault on America, Day 225: Cultural retreat spells death for conservatives hoping to MAGA

The Hunt Depolorables
We’ve all done it. How many times do we see an ad spot for a new TV show or a trailer for a movie, note which actors and actresses are in the production and instantly decide, “There’s no way I’m gonna watch it.”

The same goes for sports in many respects. How many self-respecting liberty-loving and America-revering conservatives refused to watch the United States women’s national soccer team win the world cup this summer because several members of the squad (no, not that “Squad”) spoke out against President Donald Trump and refused to honor the flag before certain games. Then there’s Colin Kaepernick, who continues to evoke strong emotional responses whenever his name is mentioned (though Trump recently said he thinks the quarterback deserves a job if he’s “good enough”).  

It’s a natural defense mechanism to turn away from the unpleasant and refuse to support the disloyal and, for lack of a better way to put it, culturally ignorant, with our hard-earned money. Why pay them to insult us? It’s hard to argue. Judging by the sheer number of boycotts instigated by both sides of the ideological spectrum -- there’s a lot not to like in today’s world.

But disengaging also means ceding the battlefield to the “enemy,” which many say is worse -- and we should take the opposite approach. Actress Sam Sorbo wrote at The Washington Times, “Why does the size of government only seem to grow, with conservative victories merely coming in fits and starts? One major reason is that liberals dominate culture, which has a much more profound impact on people’s worldview than policy analysis. Culture, and entertainment specifically, taps into people’s emotions, reaching a deeper level of the brain than rational appeals that usually don’t penetrate the frontal cortex...

“If conservatives want to reverse the juggernaut of the leftist agenda, the long march through the institutions, they must commit to engaging in cultural spheres even more than they do in intellectual ones — as government education has produced generations conditioned to responding emotionally rather than rationally to issues of the day. Doing so will help convince people of the morality — not just the practicality — of conservative public policy…

“As Andrew Breitbart famously said, ‘Politics is downstream from culture.’ It’s time for conservatives to swim upstream.”

It’s fitting Sorbo should conclude her piece with Breitbart’s famous quote because it so succinctly captures the nexus of the issue. Culture is everywhere and it can’t be avoided, hence it flows like a “stream” unimpeded into our lives. You can paint the entire inside of your house a mundane shade of white, but as soon as you step outside, you’re surrounded by culture. There’s no way to completely isolate yourself from it unless you head to the top of the highest mountain, set up a tent and refuse to ever interact with any other human beings.

Animals don’t have cultures -- or at least in the organized sense.

Today’s world nationalist movements are really just individual populations resisting cultural changes that are unwanted or in some cases, dangerous. The “invasions” of certain European countries from African and Middle Eastern Muslims have turned swaths of the old continent into foreign enclaves where even the local police don’t dare venture. In these places there’s no attempt to assimilate or adopt the customs and practices of the dominant culture.

“Old” Europe in many ways is unrecognizable today. No wonder so-called “nationalist” causes are gaining strength there. Having pride in one’s country and where you came from is a natural human sentiment. Political leaders who resist the drive are being voted out by the bucketful. What do you think Brexit was all about?

Of course cynics would say Sam Sorbo and husband Kevin are merely pushing the issue because they grasp there’s a huge market out there for top-quality conservative themed media. As soon as word spreads that there’s a movie or TV show that doesn’t mindlessly conform to the usual liberal stranglehold on political correctness a segment of society will support it by flocking to theaters or tuning in when the show airs.

After all, the largest grossing Christian film of all-time was Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ,” which was widely rejected by the Hollywood powers-that-be and liberal intelligentsia for supposedly being anti-Semitic (but how could Gibson’s Bible-based meticulous melding of the four Gospels’ account of Christ’s crucifixion be interpreted that way?). People appreciated the movie for its unbiased truth. Liberal critics also complained it was far too violent, which was curious considering Hollywood lives to depict scenes of murder, mayhem and blowing things up.

The industry thrives off of showing humans dying, suffering and falling short in their personal lives. It almost sounds like politics, doesn’t it? It’s part of the problem.

Conservatives are active on other platforms, too. Tim Allen’s traditional American-culture touting “Last Man Standing” returned for a seventh season last year after being picked up by Fox (the popular program was previously cancelled by ABC despite good ratings and a very loyal fan base). The show’s been renewed for an eighth season but won’t be seen again until 2020 due to schedule switches.

Allen’s show was brought back largely due to a petition drive from dedicated fans, which proves if conservatives band together in big enough numbers even Hollywood listens. And Sorbo’s right -- it’s about time conservatives realized our power to influence ethos in entertainment media and started throwing weight around with something other than boycotts and sour declarations of avoidance. Yes, there is a proven market -- but more importantly, if traditional values proponents don’t fight the cultural “progressives”, the only choices left will be programs promoting transgenders, same-sex marriage, dark themed violence and deviant civilization.

You know, something like CNN today.

I did take one issue with Sorbo’s analysis. She suggests conservatives don’t generally go into culture-related industries, preferring instead to chase success in “more objective fields such as business, finance or science.” This implies conservatives don’t excel at the arts and…are greedy. Just because someone chooses a career in business or science doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in culture. For a multitude of reasons conservatives opt for more “productive” pursuits and follow their entrepreneurial instincts rather than play guitars on street corners for spare change and hope the next casting call will result in their big chance.

More conservatives will succeed in entertainment and other culture-related fields if they offer alternatives people enjoy. This means more films, more TV shows, more stage productions and more music as well as fostering conservative schools, publications, websites, social media platforms and pop culture gathering places. Rather than merely reacting and objecting to liberal culture, conservatives must take the initiative -- and support the effort with real money and time.

My family particularly enjoys Colonial Williamsburg, which provides first-rate “entertainment” as well as a valuable, fact-based history lesson. It’s second to none in our book.

There’s no other way to do it without being savagely chastised by the left. Conservative singer Kid Rock took Taylor Swift to task for her newfound liberal views and the brushback was severe. Be prepared for it -- that’s what we’re up against.

Apparently, at least according to one observer, the disconnect extends to Trump himself. Tiana Lowe wrote at The Washington Examiner, “The president is also old and fulminating in a city he's never really seemed to embrace. Trump is a creature of decadent Manhattan skyscrapers and Beverly Hills estates, not the staid, Brooks Brothers-decked boulevards of Washington, D.C. His increasing disconnect with the pulse of the culture wars is showing, and no more so than his apparent rant directed at an upcoming Universal Pictures film, The Hunt… 

“Hollywood is a vapid enough place that in the overwhelming majority of films, beauty and sexuality confer goodness and unattractiveness spells villainy. Trump firing off at a random film that basically defends his supporters simply demonstrates that he's disconnected from the content of the culture wars that carried him to the White House.

“Hollywood's liberal bias is real, but if Republicans respond by rejecting the entirety of arts and entertainment outright, they'll lose the culture war for good.”

If you’re interested enough, read the entirety of Lowe’s critique and find out what The Hunt is about -- and why Trump was offended by it. He’s got good reason, believe me. Here’s the trailer. It looks like a rather sick, politically charged adaptation of The Hunger Games. Based on the preview, I’ve decided not to see it!

But Lowe is right in one sense. Conservatives won’t prevail by avoiding cultural challenges that make us uncomfortable. Yet with something like The Hunt it’s hard to figure what would be an appropriate response apart from Trump’s tweets. We’re not going to win by monetarily supporting such cryptic ventures -- and it’s not like you can stand up in movie theaters and patiently explain to your fellow movie-goers why you think the film is offensive.

(Note: Hollywood has decided to drop the release of The Hunt -- for now.)

The answer appears to lie in more of what Sorbo talked about -- diving head-first into the cultural mosh pit and not giving up until we’ve at least reached parity with those who constantly belittle and tear down traditional values. You can’t lead from behind, right?

Conservatives won’t realize cultural success until there’s a determined effort among those with a say to engage with liberals on their own turf and refuse to bow to political correctness wherever it’s found. Retreating before the battle is joined is the last thing we should do if we’re truly to Make America Great Again.

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