Simultaneous events last week epitomised the ever increasing chasm in Western society. On the same night, we were treated to the spectacle of the White House Correspondents Association Dinner and Donald Trump addressing a crowd at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Normally the WHCA dinner would see a room filled with well-heeled and influential celebrities clad in dinner jackets and gowns as they ate their expensive meal congratulating themselves on being able to joke with and at the president of the United States. You don’t get much more ‘in’ than that.
This year was different. Trump was the first president for 36 years not to turn up. In effect, he told the correspondents that they were not quite as wonderful as they think themselves to be. In the absence of Trump much of the star power normally drawn to the event were attending another political rally disguised as an ‘event’ thrown by Samantha Bee, an alleged comedienne.
The Bee event proceeded to mock the President of the United States, and not in an affectionate fashion. The celebrities see themselves as leading players in the ‘Resistance’. They no doubt see themselves as brave guerrilla fighters hiding out in the in the maquis, only to emerge to engage to take part in valiant and hazardous acts of resistance against the Nazi takeover of the USA.
This year the WHCA dinner became what John Mason, head of the WHCA, described as a celebration of the First Amendment. It actually was an extended rebuke to and attack upon the absent President. Not so much a dinner, more an extended sneer. This is hardly surprising. Despite celebrating diversity, there is not a single registered Republican in the White House press corps.
Typical of the reaction to the absence of The Donald was the Huffington Post. The Huff Po invited a group of high school students to the WHCA dinner. The students had exposed their school principal’s fake CV and forced her resignation. The article about the event was headlined ‘High Schoolers Who Investigated Their Principal Visit DC: President Hides’.
There is nothing like a fair and balanced media, and the USA has nothing like a fair and balanced media. We are little better in the UK. The mass media are the stormtroopers of the left elites. If the Left is to succeed in changing the culture, their views must be disseminated as widely and persistently as possible. They are incredibly effective, which makes outlets like TCW so valuable.
Meanwhile, 100 miles away in Harrisburg, Trump celebrated his first 100 days in office by attending a rally of the faithful. The WHCA diners feasted on dishes, such as petite filet steak au poivre, paired with honey and orange-infused shrimp. Side dishes included duck confit soufflé potato, asparagus, zucchini, carrots and a roasted pepper. At Harrisburg, Trump served up raw red meat.
The President flayed the media for its bias, and the adoring faithful roared their approval. He spoke of ‘the swamp’ and they agreed. He derided the media, and they laughed. He heaped scorn on the ‘Hollywood actors and Washington media consoling each other in a hotel ballroom’ and the crowd cheered.
It is difficult to think of a clearer demonstration of the gulf between the media and elites and the ordinary people. Not only in America. The same disconnect between the activist Left and the rest of the nation can be seen with growing clarity throughout Europe.
This is not the rise of the Right. It has little to do with conventional politics. This is something much more dangerous than a battle of ideologies. This is deeply personal. The message that comes across with frightening clarity in the USA and which is repeated across Europe is: ‘The metropolitan elites don’t get you, they think you are thick and out of touch. You don’t have the pieces of paper they have and they confuse going to university with being educated. You don’t wear dinner jackets and attend fancy dinners, and probably wouldn’t know which wine to order. They forget that you are the country’.
The great danger is that Trump appears happy with the situation. While he can hold rallies before adoring crowds of blue collar workers who roar their approval, he will convince himself he is succeeding. Meanwhile the gulf grows wider.
There was another straw in the wind from the USA last week which indicates troubling times ahead. Ann Coulter was scheduled to speak at UC Berkeley on free speech. Once the home of free speech, Berkeley is now the focal point of violent censorship. The university made things so difficult that Ann was forced to cancel.
The university did not, as some argue, give in to the threat of left-wing violence. The authorities gave in to the threat of the left-wing media. If a college faculty asked police to come on to campus to protect a conservative speaker from left-wing violence and some of the student domestic terrorists were to be injured while attacking the speaker, then that college president would be destroyed by the media.
Libertarians were so angered that the authorities should give in and work hand in glove to with left-wing protesters to stifle free speech they took action. Gavin McInnes and others went to the university grounds and read out Ann’s speech.
Are things going to get any better?
Many commentators reckon that at Harrisburg, Trump won that round. But that’s just a single battle, not the broader war. And he seems oblivious to the fact that running a government isn’t like running a business you own.
It takes more than simply telling the people who support you what they want to hear. Sometime in the next few months, Trump will have to find ways to bridge the gap and convince the people who don’t support him why they should. Otherwise things could get worse, much worse.
(Image: Gage Skidmore)