Commentary

Has Liberalism Become Unhinged?

By Craig Shirley | March 23, 2021 | 1:22pm EDT
Joe Biden gives a speech. (Photo credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Joe Biden gives a speech. (Photo credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

As we approached Joe Biden’s inauguration, it became clear from the behavior of journalists, talk show hosts, and celebrities on the Left that we were back to the good ole days of Obama’s Washington.

I didn’t anticipate just how much the behavior would be reminiscent of druggies taking a hit after a long withdrawal from their addiction. In the days immediately before and after Biden’s swearing-in, we saw the assemblage sink to a new low in their quest to fawn over the new administration: I’m beginning to question if they are well.

First, we had a New York Times editor tweet that the sight of Biden’s plane landing gave her “chills,” though to its credit the Times had the decency to end her contract. Then, CNN’s David Chalian emoted that the memorial lights on the National Mall, set up to honor COVID victims, were like Biden’s arms embracing America. Or something. And that was before the inauguration.

Since that time, we’ve had a laundry list of liberals acting foolish over the fact Biden wakes up and breathes each morning. CNN wanted us to believe that there was no plan for distributing the coronavirus vaccine from the outgoing Trump Administration, a report that even Chris “Fredo” Cuomo called B.S. Liberal journalists are no longer concerned about the slew of executive orders coming from Biden, even though any time Trump signed one, it was a portent of the apocalypse. None of this is what I would call, in my unprofessional opinion, healthy behavior.

But most disturbingly, in concert with the slathering of praise for Joe Biden, many on the Left suddenly want to “deprogram” conservatives. Indeed, the mere fact the word is eagerly tossed around is perhaps the biggest red flag indicating our liberal friends may need psychiatric counsel.

The word “deprogram” was recently used by Katie Couric during a segment with Bill Maher when she said there was a need to “really almost deprogram these people who have signed up for the cult of Trump.” The problem is, taken at face value – which many liberals no doubt will – Couric was suggesting the need to reeducate more than 70 million voters who cast their ballot for Donald Trump last November.

I have no doubt a fair number probably behave like card-carrying cultists when it comes to Trump, but painting that many Americans with that broad a brush is not a good idea, especially when you consider all the disaffected Democrats who voted for Trump. Do they need to be deprogrammed too? What about those who didn’t care for Trump’s antics but held their nose because they held even less regard for Biden? Those voters certainly weren’t among the screaming lunatics who broke into the Capitol on Jan. 6.

A cult of personalities has indeed become a problem in politics, but it’s an issue on the Left just as much as it is on the Right. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders have comparable numbers of fanatical followers on Twitter who would believe the sky is purple if the Senator or the Congresswoman told them so. And Couric seems to have forgotten the insane Sanders supporter who tried to murder members of the GOP during baseball practice a few years ago. He certainly didn’t like Trump. That aside, I’d advise Couric and her fellow liberals, who want to be thought police to look at their colleagues currently worshipping Biden if they’re worried about cult behavior.

Deprogramming citizens is not the sort of thing we do in America. It’s certainly not something a healthy person would think as rational. Kim Jong Un does that to his people on a daily basis. He is certainly not an individual I would deem mentally stable. We aren’t in that line of business: educating the populace is one thing; controlling how they think is another.

The point is, talk such as this, mixed with how the Left genuflects to Biden makes me wonder if American liberalism is evolving into something doctors might call unhealthy.

I’ve been in politics for about four decades. Anyone who knows me knows where I fall politically. I’ve always believed that it is good to have a healthy counterbalance to the conservative movement. One-party or one-ideology rule is not healthy for any Republic. But neither is letting hatred for Trump or a desire for things to be “normal” again turn one into a fawning, sycophantic wimp who believes that the only way to win is to blot out anyone who remotely disagrees with you.

If Joe Biden does anything good as president, he can solicit his people not to act like the insane cultists they believe conservatives to be. This mistake transforms them into the very thing they claim to hate.

Craig Shirley is the author of four bestselling books Ronald Reagan's campaigns, including "Reagan Rising: The Decisive Years, 1976-1980," out March 21, 2017. He is also the author of the New York Times bestseller, "December 1941," and is the president of Shirley & McVicker Public Affairs.

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