Opinion

Confessions of an Accidental Culture Warrior

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Posted: Jun 06, 2019 12:01 AM
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not represent the views of Townhall.com.
Confessions of an Accidental Culture Warrior

Source: AP Photo/Tom Copeland, File

Not all conservatives are culture warriors. Many just crave less government and more control over their lives.

Once upon a time that was enough. It didn’t require much beyond a trip to the voting booth. That’s how I came of age. Vote Republican. Consume news beyond the biased mainstream media.

Leave the culture alone. It’ll work itself out. It’s America, right? Baseball, apple pie and the rest of that Chevy jingle.

Then things changed, and the times forced me to change, too. Ignoring the culture wars no longer seemed like an option, and it didn’t always boil down to a Left/Right skirmish. I’m betting this reluctant warrior is far from alone.

For years I shared my right-leaning views on as many platforms as possible. I wasn’t obsessed with winning hearts and minds. I needed a paycheck. I’m a writer with few other bankable skills. So penning pieces that reflected my point of view made sense. I focus on Hollywood, and most entertainment scribes bring their liberal beliefs to their work. Doing the same for right-leaning audiences proved a snug fit.

That’s where my “activism” started and ended.

For two years I worked at Breitbart News, a haven for culture warriors. My colleagues were smart and scrappy, and we talked about the “war” site founder Andrew Breitbart waged against the media.

I was on board, no doubt, but my heart wasn’t in it like my peers. They hungered for the battle in a way I couldn’t fully embrace. I eventually left to start my own site, a place where I could labor under my terms.

Then Donald Trump elbowed his way onto the political scene. At first, I recoiled at virtually every part of the Trump phenomena. I rejected his bruising style, longing for the Mitt Romney Republicans of yore.

Then Trump won. And his ascension caused the culture to buckle in unexpected ways. No, the dystopian nightmare progressives predicted didn’t happen. Far from it. But his presidency caused the Left to throw off the remaining shackles of decency.

In short, the Left declared war on me and everyone like me.

Conservatives got chased out of restaurants or found their homes under assault. 

They endured protests nationwide, at universities and beyond, for simply holding right-leaning views. Conservatives had targets on their heads, sometimes literally, like Rep. Steve Scalise.

Stars like Roseanne Barr found their careers canceled for one awful Tweet while others thrived for doing, or saying, far worse. 

Barr’s real crime? She supported President Trump.

We saw a Supreme Court nominee savaged in the most despicable ways possible last year on charges so flimsy you could see through them like Glad Wrap. Reporters treated every absurd accusation as if it were gospel, making things monumentally worse.

Social media giants began deplatforming both fringe, far-right voices as well as others who dared criticize liberal Group Think. They demonetized or harassed conservatives with little transparency or rationale.

Squeaky-clean radio hosts battled video services who found the most innocuous content not suitable for young minds.

The media, in turn, ramped up its biases in ways that made us long for Dan “Fake, But Accurate” Rather. Every anti-Trump news story demanded a 24-hour waiting period before one could believe it. The stories usually collapsed long before that period ended.

High school students became national pariahs thanks to media bias and narratives too juicy to be fact-checked.

Hollywood became the Left’s attack dog, wagging its finger at conservatives while ignoring the decades of sexism, racism and ageism within its ranks.

From that Hollywood lens I saw similar clampdowns on the principles I held dear. Filmmakers who dared share a pro-life story got harassed on a number of critical fronts.

Comedians eager to tell jokes for the “other” half of the country found fewer and fewer opportunities.

Comedy kings started telling other comics what jokes they could, and couldn’t, tell.

Show business discrimination, which once lurked beneath the surface, suddenly found its voice.

The few stars who assumed an apolitical tone, like Jimmy Fallon and Taylor Swift, got bullied by the press until they changed their ways.

How couldn’t I notice?

Now, my writing has another, more complicated component. I lift up emerging, center-right artists ignored by other platforms. I embrace liberals like John Cleese, Tim Pool and Ricky Gervais who value free speech, knowing that matters more than current policy skirmishes.

I aggressively cover entertainment stories the media strains to ignore … while still cheering stars who deliver great art or help humanity in ways both small and large.

Andrew Breitbart wrote in 2011’s “Righteous Indignation” about teaming with disparate conservative sites to shred media bias. Breitbart’s death remains a devastating loss, but his words – his message – endure. More conservatives should stop trolling each other over minor beefs and work together.

There’s a culture war afoot … whether you’d like to admit it or not. One side wants to silence debate, rewrite the Constitution and enact policies that have sent other nations into ruin.

I’m ready to fight … are you?