The only thing worse than listening to a screaming toddler is seeing his smug, tear-stained but smiling face after his parent gives in to his irreverent outburst and rewards him for his tantrum. That’s all I could think about as I walked the streets of Madison, Wisconsin, Saturday night after several news outlets called the presidential race for Joe Biden.
A hopeful energy pulsed through State Street, the bustling pedestrian mall of restaurants and storefronts bookended by the university and the Capitol. I walked past business after business boarded up tight in anticipation of a fiery post-election purge, but instead, front doors were propped open on the uncharacteristically warm November night as groups of friends chattered and shopped and drank in merriment. No sirens or chanting interrupted my pleasant patio dinner date.
I breathed easier than I would have under different circumstances, I’ll admit. Had the media called the race differently, I likely wouldn’t have left the apartment and I certainly wouldn’t have neared downtown. Underneath that peaceful veneer, however, remains the gross reality that things are calm only because the snotty toddler got his way.
These are the infantile adults that were told “no” in 2016 by the half of the country they most despised and spent the next four years screaming that everything was unfair and that those who disagreed with them were racists, sexists, bigots, and homophobes. Instead of biting and hitting, they looted and vandalized, and the equally childish media covered for them.
They promised to “impeach the motherf-cker,” canceled dissenters, and maligned anyone who wanted to “Make America Great Again.” They smeared mask rebels and churchgoers as grandma-killers and squawked in our faces that boys are girls, silence is violence, and all women are inherently trustworthy, straight white men be damned. Only now that they think they’ve won do they have any interest in faux “unity.”
In a recent editorial, the Washington Examiner posited, “Biden has a historic opportunity to heal the country’s wounds, and if he wants an admired legacy, he will start now to fulfill the promise of his Delaware speech and bring uniters, not dividers, into his administration.” Conservatives who fall for this “unity” schtick are hopelessly naive.
While things might be quiet now, all hell is sure to break loose again the moment things don’t go in the way of the tantrum-throwers. This is because the wrong side won — or at least the fact that they believe they did proves the point. The toddlers got what they wanted. Their abhorrent behavior was reinforced with their most prized reward: the end of the Trump presidency.
Now rather than watching the thugs tear down and set ablaze our livelihoods, we’re stuck looking at their smug faces instead. It was always going to be one or the other: Elect us and we’ll destroy the country, or elect Trump and we’ll destroy your property.
For this reason, the relative peace in our cities now is a bad omen. This cultural calm is a reminder that, like the short-sighted parent capitulating to her toddler, the electorate traded long-term stability for short-term quiet. We didn’t bring an end to the fearmongering and the incivility; we put the uncivil fearmongers in power, and they have sinister plans for their political opponents.
Political Religion Makes All of Life a Holy War
This all goes back to the infantilization of the left, and it’s not surprising. There’s a reason shop-owners were afraid of spurned Biden supporters but relaxed when they remembered the frustrated Trumpsters had no intention of acting out.
When Trump supporters heard the unwelcome news that Biden would ostensibly be the president-elect, they were bummed. Some were mad, others were suspicious, and others felt defeated and discouraged — but they dutifully returned to their daily grinds, clocking in for work, caring for their families, and carrying on their commitments to their churches.
That’s because, for so many on the right, politics is an add-on. Family and faith, however imperfectly, inform civic values, but politics is no replacement for those superior institutions.
For many on the left, that isn’t the case. For those who have chosen to worship at the feet of progressivism as religion, this election was life or death because it was central to everything else.
For a population who has pushed off marriage, disposed of its children, abandoned church, and relinquished its independence to the nanny state and its individualism to identity politics, to lose an election is to lose it all. All battles therefore become moral, meaning victory by any means necessary — including stealing and destroying and sometimes even killing — is justified.
Don’t Let the Leftist Toddlers Get Their Way
That leaves us quite a divided America. How can we ever hope for unity when one side holds the other hostage? Give us what we want, or else. That’s no way to start a mutually beneficial negotiation.
So conservatives are left with a choice. Will we continue caving in to the boisterous toddler until it becomes an unruly and insufferable adult? Or will stand our ground and endure the tantrums until the left tuckers itself out on its own fickle rhetoric and runs its own cities into the soil? Don’t relish the present quiet; realize what it stands for.
Presidents come and go, and if Trump does finally lose re-election after all the legal battles run their course, so be it. The worst thing for our country isn’t a Biden presidency. It’s giving the leftist toddlers what they want.
Kylee Zempel is an assistant editor at The Federalist. Follow her on Twitter @kyleezempel.