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Make Hashtag, Not War

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

The "hashtag" is the pound, or number, sign on a keyboard. Many on social medial place the symbol before words, allowing those words to be tracked as keywords on social media. Listeners to my radio show, for example, often tweet with #EERS at the end for "Erick Erickson Radio Show," making it easy for listeners to see each other's tweets.


In 2014, State Department spokes child Jen Psaki held up a sign for twitter showing the #UnitedForUkraine hashtag. She then followed it up a month later tweeting, "The world stands #UnitedforUkraine. Let's hope that the #Kremlin & @mfa_Russia will live by the promise of hashtag." Yes, she wanted Russia to live by the promise of a hashtag.

After Boko Haram, the extremist Islamic group in Nigeria, kidnapped 276 mostly Christian schoolgirls, the Obama Administration took to Twitter, with Michelle Obama and others holding up signs with the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. In June of 2014, ISIS sympathizers captured a number of American Humvees and began photoshopping Mrs. Obama's picture changing #BringBackOurGirls to #BringBackOurHumvees. The hashtag never recovered the children.

In light of the events in Paris, adults might recognize that "hashtag diplomacy" is no substitute for men with guns. But our foreign policy is controlled by the American left, which descended into self-parody after the attacks in Paris.

CNN's leftwing commentator Sally Kohn tweeted, "Y'all realize ISIS wants to provoke a war, right? If we go to war, we're doing exactly what the terrorists want." Should Kohn, a lesbian, find herself trying to hug it out with ISIS instead of killing ISIS, she would probably find herself in an awful situation, wherein she would want American firepower to save her. But, with Paris halfway around the world from her and ISIS an abstraction to her, she had the luxury of being stupid on twitter. One can only imagine what she would have thought after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor.


Rosa Brooks, a law professor at Georgetown University who formerly worked for Barack Obama's State Department, took to Foreign Policy magazine's website to declare the hashtag #LoveWins will conquer ISIS. Her article's title was "Can Gay Marriage Defeat the Islamic State?" She believes it can.

Still, others on the American left believe we have nothing to worry about. Brian Beutler, a writer for The New Republic, tweeted, "There are many more armed loons in the U.S. than committed jihadis. Being scared of the latter, but not the former, is revealed bigotry." In fairness to him, he was shot in Washington, D.C. at a time the District of Columbia was a virtual gun free zone. So his perspective is a bit skewed.

He saw -- first hand -- a young man try to mug him, then shoot him. The attacks on Paris were just something on a television screen halfway around the world. But then that is the problem with the American left today. They are far more worried about gun control in the United States than they are the fact that a group with territory larger than many American states wants us all decapitated. It really is striking that the American left's rhetoric has been far more hostile to their fellow Americans than to ISIS. The former, to the left, are racist bigots for being worried about Syrian refugees. The latter are an abstraction who the President of the United States, on the day of the Paris attack, said was "contained."


Hashtags will not stop ISIS. Gay marriage will not stop ISIS. Sweet thoughts about love will not stop ISIS. The only things that will are men with guns and planes with bombs. The American left can afford to treat ISIS as an abstraction for now. More than one hundred French citizens cannot do so because ISIS killed them. There is evil in the world, and it cannot be hugged or tweeted or gay married to death. Sadly, our nation is governed by a man who blames global warming, not evil, for an enemy he believes was contained the day Paris exploded. I hate to think of the numbers yet to die at the hands of ISIS before the American voter replaces hashtag diplomacy with grownups willing to make serious decisions.

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