Left-wingers have always had a knack for activism. In the '60s and '70s, they were the ones flooding the streets, protesting civil rights violations and the Vietnam War. Now, they're conjuring Twitter mobs out of thin air, organizing boycotts galore, and hectoring politicians, celebrities, corporate CEOs, and even their family members, friends, and neighbors, in response to any and all perceived violations of wokeness. Leftists seem always to be poised on a hair-trigger, ready to pounce on their enemies, and when they do...God help whomever bears the brunt of their searing wrath.
Often, we hear the argument on the right: why can't we be as organized, as shrill, and as relentless as the Left? Why are corporate boards and advertisers, for instance, seemingly unafraid of offending us, when they blanch in terror at the first sight of a progressive with an upraised fist?
The answer, as usual, is staring us in the face: no one is afraid of us because we aren't scary in the least. Conservatives are mild-mannered (by and large), law-abiding, church-going, family-oriented, and usually polite and deferential. Heck, most of us even have jobs, which makes throwing rotten produce, or hurling digital invective, at those we find disagreeable difficult to reconcile with our busy schedules.
President Trump recently encouraged conservatives, and not for the first time, to follow the Left's playbook and begin boycotting companies that publicly condemned Georgia's new voting law. Let Coke, Delta, and Major League Baseball have it! “Don’t go back to their products until they relent.”
And, in response, you guessed it: Coke, Delta, and baseball didn't bat an eyelash. In fact, the MLB Commissioner wasted no time in moving the All-Star game from Atlanta to Denver. Meanwhile, have Coke, Delta, or Major League Baseball's profits withered overnight? Hardly. In fact, we have no reason to suppose even that President Trump has given up his beloved Diet Coke, which for him is the elixir of life.
The lesson here? Conservatives will simply never be as ruthless as progressives. We don't believe in the politicization of every consumer decision. We don't seethe with rage in our spare time, waiting to be told who and what to hate next. Besides which, we're not naive enough to believe that, if Coke, Delta, and Major League Baseball occasionally knuckle under to leftist intimidation, that makes Pepsi, or United, or the NFL any better. Give them time: they'll disappoint us with their cravenness too.
The answer, I suggest, is to organize conservatives as much as possible not around protests, boycotts, and upsurges of outrage, as around positive demonstrations of solidarity with those rare — very rare! — politicians, celebrities, corporations, organizations, and ordinary citizens who make themselves conspicuous by their decency, their rationality, and their patriotism. If the symbol of leftism is the clenched fist, then why not make the symbol of conservatism the high five?
The most successful demonstration of such constructive conservative “activism” in recent years was the failed leftist boycott of Goya Foods, and the much more effective right-wing “buycott” that followed it. When Goya CEO Robert Unanue, a Hispanic, triggered liberals with his praise of President Trump in July 2020, they vowed to bring his company to its knees. Conservatives, however, rallied, and many, including me, bought Goya products for the first time in our lives. Goya sales soared.
Americans of all stripes already know that leftists can be powerful, implacable, and vicious enemies. There's no need for conservatives to demonstrate the same malice and fanaticism. Instead, let's show that we can be loyal and generous friends to those who have the courage to stand up to the Left's incessant tirades and bullying.
After all, as Ben Franklin once reminded us: you can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar.