My wife and I were looking at a map of Boston the other day, planning an upcoming vacation in old Bean Town.
As usual, Marleen’s done most of the work to get us ready to go, but as I looked at the map I asked, “Would you have any interest in seeing the Harvard Yard? It’s certainly historic and not too far from where we’re going to be staying.”
“Absolutely not,” she replied, not skipping a beat. “I’m sick of those spoiled rich kids rioting and burning flags and killing police.”
I was a bit taken back by the vehemence of her reaction; she sounded more like me than I sound like me. While she’s married to a former politician, and I know that her views are more like mine than not, she not infrequently has to advise me not to get “too ramped up” about politics. And here she was, pretty much doing just that.
One might take issue with the specifics of her indictment of college kids as”cop killers.” But I certainly don’t take issue with the generalities. Especially those in elite schools like Harvard that embrace what President Trump has accurately described as the icons of the “alt left:” “white privilege,” the “antifa,” “Black lives matter,” and, my personal favorite, “micro-aggressions.” Come on people, if you’re going to dish it out, you better be ready to take it.
This little vignette with my wife is a pretty good measure of just how far out of touch the left, and its handmaiden, the rarified world of academia, is with ordinary Americans.
For 35 years, Marleen worked hard as a registered nurse. And her back, from shifting patients-of all races-between their beds and carts, has the aches and pains to prove it. Despite her diligent efforts to keep it at bay with physical therapy and exercise, pain is her nearly constant companion. She doesn’t tolerate fools gladly on things in general. So start lecturing her on white privilege, and you’ll run up against the limits of that tolerance pretty quickly.
She, in other words, is about as close to the political middle of the road as you’re likely to get. Equally removed from the alt-right as she is from the alt-left. I would be surprised if she’s even heard the terms. And stunned it she knows what they mean. Like most Americans, the fine detail of politics is not her thing.
Marleen gets much of her political information from the national, evening news. Which, if you believe as I do, would probably lead you to conclude that she’s hard left, the slant I tend to see in the mainstream media.
But that overlooks how she actually “watches” the news. She’s often making dinner when it’s on. Which means she misses most of it, what with the chopping and stirring. And supervising me. Which also means that “if it bleeds, it leads,” is true in spades with her. So, once the Harvard and Berkley rioters have faded from the screen early in the broadcast, so has Marleen; she’s too busy.
It’s a rich irony, therefore, that while the mainstream media may intend to push average Americans to the political left, the way they actually deliver their message, makes it tough to do so. It is the left, after all, that is most likely to employ street violence. And that’s where the TV cameras gravitate. So, while my wife, and so many other average Americans, might not fully understand the “story behind the story” of campus riots, they fully understand that they don’t like them. And the spoiled college kids who perpetrate them.