When it was announced that Harriet Tubman would displace President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, there were two sets of dramatically different reactions among Republicans on social media.A great essay.
One group passed around links to a National Review piece celebrating the decision to “tell the story of a deeply-religious, gun-toting Republican who fought for freedom in defiance of the laws of a government that refused to recognize her rights.”
“If it was political correctness that drove this decision, who cares?” it asked.
Much of the Republican base, the other group, cared. Donald Trump noticed and denounced the move as “pure political correctness”.
Political correctness is the defining element of the culture war today. It’s also one of the driving forces of Trump’s candidacy. Republicans and conservatives who ignore the backlash to it do so at their own peril.
When the left exploited the Charleston church shooting to begin a purge of Confederate flags that extended all the way into reruns of the Dukes of Hazzard, Republicans failed to defy the lynch mobs and even cheered the takedowns, some of which took place under Republican governors, as progress. Congresswoman Candice Miller, a Republican, announced recently that state flags in the Capitol featuring confederate insignia will be taken down due to the “controversy surrounding Confederate imagery”. The “controversy” is another term for the left’s manufactured political correctness.
There are legitimate positions on both sides when it comes to the Confederate flag, but the historical debate is not the issue. Just as it doesn’t matter very much that Harriet Tubman was a Republican. It matters far more that both moves were driven by the social media mobs of political correctness.
Culture wars are not about actual historical facts, but a tribal conflict over culture between clashing groups. This is a conflict in which it mattered a great deal that northeastern elites were lining up to get $400 tickets to see Hamilton, a hip-hop musical praised by many of the same Republicans who wouldn’t be caught dead watching reruns of the Dukes of Hazzard. That New York theater trend led to Southerner Andrew Jackson being displaced on the currency instead of New York’s own Alexander Hamilton.
Some conservatives would argue that Andrew Jackson founded the Democratic Party while Hamilton, a longtime foe of its political forebears, would likely have aligned with the modern Republican Party. And like Tubman on the $20 bill, they would be completely missing the forest for the factoid.
Imagine that you live in a world in which the theater tastes of New York elites combined with a media pressure campaign by two obnoxious New Yorkers determines who shows up on American currency? It isn’t nearly as grating if you are a Republican living in New York or Washington D.C. and share much of the culture of the liberal upper class, even if you generally dissent from its economic and social policies.
But it’s a lot more irritating if you live in Alabama or Mississippi and your culture is not only an object of mockery and contempt, but you also have it rubbed in your face that the momentary whims of an entitled elite operating out of a handful of overrated cities matter more than your entire history...