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Donald Trump is only the beginning of a mighty disruption in American politics and culture, thanks to the rise of the militant Normals in America.
They built this country, they make it run, and when called on, they fight for it. They are the heart and soul of the United States of America, They are the Normals, the regular Americans of all races, creeds, preferences, and both sexes who just want to raise their families and live their lives in peace. And they are getting angry. . .
For decades they have seen their cherished beliefs and beloved traditions under attack. They have been told they are racist, sexist, and hateful, but it was all a lie. Their ability to provide for their families has been undermined by globalization with no consideration of the effects on Americans who did not go to Harvard, and who live in that vast forgotten space between New York and Santa Monica.
A smug, condescending elite spanning both established parties has gripped the throat of the nation. Convinced of their own exquisite merit while refusing to be held accountable for their myriad failures, these elitists managed to suppress the first rumblings of discontent when they arose in the form of the Tea Party. But they were stunned when the Normals did not simply scurry back to their flyover homes. Instead, the Normals came out in force and elected Donald Trump.
Now, as the ruling caste throws everything it can into the fight to depose Donald Trump and reestablish unchallenged control, the Normals face a choice. They can either surrender their country and their sovereignty, or they can become even more militant. . .
The whole idea behind this book is to give the reader a simple and coherent explanation for why American society has become so polarized over the last few decades, and during the last few years in particular. It is not meant to be a dreary slog. It is not a political science treatise. You will not find academic theories or a lot of citations and footnotes. That is just one of several reasons that no college student will ever see this book show up on his syllabus.
The primary reason is that it is entirely sympathetic to Normal Americans and their struggle to reclaim what belongs to them—the United States of America.
So, this book is not strewn with the kind of jargon I learned as a poli sci major. I hate jargon. It is one of the many tools that experts tend to use to make their areas of expertise seem more complex and difficult than they really are, thereby making themselves indispensable. What’s happened and is happening now in our country is not that difficult to understand. My purpose is to provide a clear, uncomplicated way of thinking about what is going on so the reader can more effectively exercise his or her birthright—sovereignty. I hope I have done that.
This book was written for Normal Americans. Note the capitalization—the term Normal appears throughout the book, and the concept is important. One way to understand American society today is to see it divided into two general classes, an Elite and the Normals. The Elite are those people, the experts, who run the day-to-day operations of society’s institutions—like the government, the media, academia, and Hollywood. But today, America’s Elite also includes those who merely identify with the values and ideology of the Elite. You don’t actually have to be elite to be Elite, and the consequences of that low bar to entry explain a lot about why the Elites are so upset that the Normals elected a guy like Donald Trump.
The only real qualification for joining America’s modern Elite is to choose to affiliate with the Elite. The guy who runs Goldman Sachs? He’s Elite. But so is the twenty-three-year old dude with the goatee and knit cap spending all afternoon in the Starbucks tapping away on his iPad Pro, sipping a cruelty-free green tea as he tweets “TRUMP RUSSIA TREASON!” at conservatives on Twitter.
Let me reiterate something. Being in the American Elite has nothing to do with actually being elite, as we typically understand that word. You don’t have to be special to affiliate with the Elite. To the extent our Elite is a meritocracy, it is a meritocracy without merit—and without a willingness to accept accountability when it fails to perform adequately. If the last thirty years have taught us anything, it is that.
To be Elite today, you just have to decide that you aren’t like regular people.
The Normals are everyone else.
The Normals cede day-to-day control of the operations of society’s institutions to the experts. Those experts and those who identify with them are the Elite. The Normals would happily let the Elite do what the Elite does and focus on living their own lives if the Elite would both perform competently and not subject those it is supposed to be serving to an escalating series of petty oppressions—and some not so petty oppressions.
Now, those are very broad generalizations, but generalizations are useful. Not every member of the Elite will precisely conform to the general characteristics of the Elite, nor every Normal precisely conform to the general characteristics of the Normals. But in general, these generalizations are generally sound.
Within each broad caste you will find further divisions. While most of the Elite holds to a center-left political ideology—enough so that sometimes as you read this book you will see that it is almost identical—there are members of the Elite who lean to the right. It gets interesting when class loyalty clashes with ideology, and you often see people prioritize the premises and assumptions of their class over their alleged political ideology.
That’s where the tiresome Never Trump contingent comes in. When you see alleged conservative and noted cruise shiller Bill Kristol tweet about how he hopes the mandarins in the bureaucracy will step in to neutralize the policy choices of our elected president, you see someone ditching his putative conservatism in favor of class solidarity. And it probably does not hurt that if his fellow Elites were to succeed, Captain Kristol and his crew would stand to return to the positions of relative prestige they held before the Normals tired of Conservative, Inc.’s inability (or unwillingness) to win and elected Donald Trump.
Normals is not a synonym for conservative. The Normals tend to be center right, if you have to place them on the political spectrum, but that’s mostly because traditional American values like faith, family, and patriotism have become identified with center-right politics as liberals have either stopped defending them or abandoned them altogether. However, Normals do embrace some concepts that ideological conservatives (like me) consider heresies, such as doubts about “free trade.” Further, some Normals are on the left—there were Normals who supported Bernie Sanders. They feel the high and mighty are giving them a raw deal, and many of them chose Trump over Hillary Clinton for just that reason.
The Normals embrace traditional Main Street values—faith, family, and patriotism—and a sense that America and Americans must be the priority. This puts Normals in conflict with an Elite that has eschewed traditional patriotism for at best a kind of ironic detachment from outright manifestations of it—the “flag waving” they find so déclassé—and at worst, an idea that they are “citizens of the world,” immune from the crude nationalism you will find should you be forced to venture west of I-95. When your central image of yourself is not as an “American,” then why would you put either America’s or Americans’ interest before anywhere or anyone else’s?
The tension between the Elite and the Normals arose largely because today’s Elite no longer shares such core values (even if, like the Kennedys, they merely pretended to do so for public consumption), and because the Elite no longer respects the Normals as the reservoir of those values. Back in the forties, Hollywood made movies extolling the Normals as the source of those values—It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), anyone?—but no longer. Starting in the sixties, the young members of the Elite began to reject these traditional values. This sparked a conflict both with the older Elite and with the Normals, who struck back in the guise of Nixon’s “Silent Majority.”
The Elite today are the heirs of those Elite rebels from the sixties. But unlike previous generations of the Elite, this generation is imbued with the anti-Western, Marxist poison they learned in academia thanks to the faculty acolytes of the Frankfurt School. (For a closer look at those monsters, see Michael Walsh’s essential books The Devil’s Pleasure Palace: The Cult of Critical Theory and the Subversion of the West [New York: Encounter Books, 2017] and The Fiery Angel: Art, Culture, Sex, Politics, and the Struggle for the Soul of the West [New York: Encounter Books, 2018].)
And because of this, combined with their own class prejudices and the temptation to preserve and enhance the privilege and power that comes with their status, the Elite has allowed itself to believe that the Normals are mindless, racist bigots bewitched with religious nonsense and an irrational love of firearms. Class membership has thereby become a moral test, and the Normals fail.
Today’s Elite hates the Normals—hates them—and it acts accordingly.
Except the Normals have noticed. And they are starting to hate the Elite right back.
The Sleeping Giant Awakens, and Boy, Is He Pissed Off
I did not start out as a Donald Trump fan. That actually puts it mildly—I started out as a hardcore Trump opponent, though I was never Never Trump. I would have voted for pretty much anyone else before checking the box for that monstrous harridan Hillary Clinton. I had proved that in the past—I voted for John McCain and Mitt Romney, though they were each unsatisfactory in their own way. I drew the line at Jeb! Bush, though—I would have refused to vote for either Sr. Please Clap or Felonia Milhous von Pantsuit. Instead, I would have spent election night consoling myself with a full-bodied California cabernet while I watched Fox report on what America did when faced with the political equivalent of choosing between a cold sore and leprosy.
You see, I was an ideological conservative. I dug the ideas, the wonderful mix of individual freedom and ordered liberty envisioned by the Founders. I had for as long as I could remember. I was deep in the conservative movement, and joined up in the mid-eighties when I fought Marx-loving ex-hippie professors among the eucalyptus trees at the University of California, San Diego, while writing for its conservative campus paper, California Review. I read National Review and the American Spectator, because if you were a conservative back in the day, you had nowhere else to score your conserva-fix but National Review and the American Spectator.
So, when Donald Trump came down that escalator with his latest wife and announced he was running, I wasn’t paying attention because the whole idea was ridiculous. Hell, I had been laughing at Trump since reading Spy magazine thirty years ago. I even remembered the whole tiny hands thing from back then. I was vaguely aware he had a television show in the 2000s, but I never took him seriously. Why would any conservative? Trump was a novelty act, a joke distracting from the seriousness of the mission to stop the progressive onslaught.
We were losing, and our country was at stake. And some people were putting their money on the host of The Apprentice?
Nope. Count me out.
So, like most hardcore cons, I ignored Donald Trump and focused on the real candidates. You know, the ones who could actually win.
Those would be the ones Trump eventually mopped the floor with.
Pretty soon Trump was running at the top of the polls, besting sixteen other candidates, and I was shaking my head. It baffled me, and many like me. We Republicans were running a bunch of accomplished, intelligent, truly conservative candidates, as well as Jeb!, and they were all losing to… this guy?
Who the hell was supporting Trump anyway? Where were these people? I sure didn’t know any of them. By then I had recently retired as an Army reservist, and I was mostly hanging around other Los Angeles lawyer types on the western edge of Los Angeles. The rest of my time was spent with doctrinaire conservative activists. Not a lot of diversity. The upshot was that I wasn’t around many normal Americans.
And like my conservative comrades, I had forgotten about them.
That was the problem, and I didn’t even know it. I had forgotten about the very people who fueled our movement, who fueled our country, figuratively and literally.
Who are they anyway?
These are the normal Americans, the Normals, the people who made America into what we think of when we think of America. They built this country, and they defended it. They grow the food and truck it to our Trader Joe’s. They don’t unfriend people on Facebook for having wrong thoughts, and they aren’t focused on perfecting their neighbors through the power of social justice. They just want to live their lives in a stable society, meaning they don’t want to be robbed walking down the sidewalk, and they want to be shown a little respect.
What they are not defined by are color, sex, religion, or even sexual orientation. They don’t inform you of their preferred pronouns when they meet you and shake your hand. They don’t obsess on those things, like their alleged betters do.
They don’t read policy papers, and they find politics a necessary evil. Most don’t live in big cities on the coasts. Most don’t drive Priuses or bike to work. And most don’t eat kale, to their credit—if you need a reason to doubt the eliteness of the Elite, you need only cite its inexplicable fondness for salads made with that noxious weed.
Normals don’t think about their carbon footprint, mostly because they think that if Channel 7 Eyewitness News Action Weather’s weatherman Sunwood “Sunny” Blueskies is hit and miss about the chance of rain next Monday, nobody has an actual clue about what the weather will be in the year 2118. They’ll roll the climate dice and keep driving their Ford Explorer with the third row of seats that holds most of their kid’s soccer team, thank you very much.
They just want to live their lives freely, while having a say in their government and culture. They do not want to do politics 24/7 like I do, and maybe you do. They would prefer to leave that to the Elite to do, the self-appointed caretakers of the duties of running the country at the macro level.
But what they are done tolerating is an uppity Elite that has screwed up its macro task of running society’s institutions yet has taken unto itself the job of micro-regulation of Normals’ lives. You see, the Elite finds the Normals morally deficient and thinks it has to correct them.
The Elite is wrong.
Normals want to be able to support their families without being disrespected by Elitist snobs and without being exploited by the ruling class. They prefer their kids not get killed fighting wars the politicians who send them do not consider important enough to win.
And in 2016, Donald Trump was the only candidate really talking to them.
Hell, he was the only one who acknowledged the Normals even existed.
But I didn’t see that.
Nor did the vast majority of my fellow ideological conservatives. Most of us had signed on with the Elite—yes, conservatives can be part of that caste, though they are not the majority—and we had adopted many of their tribal prejudices and preconceptions. But we forgot about the people whose hard work and, sometimes, blood let us be Elite.
Because he had no respect for the things I thought he should have respect for, like ideology, Trump set off my charlatan detector big time. His embrace of conservative heresies, like protectionism and not bombing the shit out of anyone who looked at us sideways, did not impress me. This guy wasn’t a Republican, not like the ones I knew, not like the kind I was. He was certainly not like Saint Ronald—one of my greatest memories was seeing Reagan’s last campaign appearance ever in 1984 at a shopping center in San Diego just before he pummeled that hapless sap Walter Mondale in the first presidential election in which I ever voted. But while Trump may not have had the conservative ideological rigor Reagan had, he did have something else.
He connected with people. Just not with people like me.
In fact, he did the opposite. By going all in on the Normals, Trump drew the wrath of the Elite, this time including both the majority on the left and the minority on the right. Except instead of being crushed by the Elite, like Mitt Romney was or Jeb! would have been, Trump reveled in the Elite’s hatred. He fed on it. He wore it like a medal.
My primary season Townhall.com columns about Trump were scathing, and pretty soon CNN was calling me in as a coherent conservative who would reliably trash Trump. I didn’t mind—I was simply saying what I sincerely felt, and I thought it was my sacred duty to talk my fellow Republicans out of their growing insanity. The day of the debate in Las Vegas on December 15, 2015, I sat on an outside set with CNN’s Brooke Baldwin, cracking her up with my latest column about how Trump was the GOP’s crazy girlfriend—sure, she’s fun for now, but one morning you’re going to wake up alone with the bed on fire plus your credit cards and the keys to your Porsche gone, if not your kidneys.
We laughed. Then that night, onstage, Trump slaughtered the opposition.
Trump’s message was resonating. Not yet with me, but with others. And he was saying some good things, too, things I liked. While other candidates were dancing around the idea of cracking down on illegal immigration, if not embracing all-out amnesty, Trump was all in for enforcing the law. And I had to admit, the idea of not getting into any more wars where we were not willing to do what was necessary to win was starting to appeal to me. Killing bad guys is one thing, and I’m all for it. Killing our own guys because we are playing footsie with our enemies and tying our boys’ hands with rules of engagement that put them in danger? I had deployed twice, and there was a lot to be said for win or go home.
It all came together for me a week later on December 22, 2015. A CNN producer contacted me at the last minute to come on and do a segment about Trump, of course, because CNN never talked about anything else except Trump. It would be a short Skype hit from my office instead of up in Hollywood at the Sunset Boulevard studio, which was fine. I hated that drive through Los Angeles traffic—everywhere is over an hour away from everywhere else in Los Angeles. I did not ask the specific topic because I didn’t really care. Whatever they pitched me, I’d hit.
So, I threw on a jacket and tie and sat down, hooked up on Skype, and there was Don Lemon guest hosting. I never liked the little weasel much, but whatever. He was just another lightweight host to joust with on a Tuesday morning. There was also a Trump supporter on the panel, a nice lady who would barely have a chance to speak, and then me, the designated Trump hitter.
Lemon then started up with the Trump atrocity du jour. Every day, something was The Worst Thing Ever. That tradition continues to the present.
That fateful day, The Worst Thing Ever was that Trump had characterized Hillary’s loss to Barack Obama in the 2008 primary as her having been “schlonged.” Yeah, Trump uttered a minor Yiddish vulgarity. Colorful and evocative, sure, but from Lemon’s demeanor and breathless outrage, this was apparently the greatest crime any man had ever committed in the history of ever. Lemon fulminated for a bit, and then he threw it to me to comment.
But something snapped.
I just didn’t care.
I couldn’t care.
And I told Don Lemon so. I explained to him that Trump uttering the word “schlonged” could not stir within me even the most rudimentary concern. I believe I suggested that only Dr. Stephen Hawking could calculate the inconceivably vast figure quantifying my lack of caring.
I simply refused to give a damn.
Lemon was stunned.
I was off narrative, and he struggled to wrangle me back into the herd. But I felt ornery, and I went further astray.
I mentioned that I especially couldn’t care about Trump saying “schlonged” when Hillary Clinton was herself a notorious sex abuser enabler.
Oh, and I pointed out that Bill had used his intern as a walking humidor.
I think I pointed that out twice.
Lemon went nuts. Failing to deliver the Trump thumping I was so good at was bad, but to disrespect Her Majesty in such a colorful and memorable manner? Well, that was unforgiveable.
Lemon told me I couldn’t talk about Hillary’s history of covering up for her perv hubby. It was verboten.
Now, I didn’t go to war to come home to seek permission from the likes of Don Lemon to speak my mind, so I repeated my point because the hell with Don Lemon.
Things got a bit heated.
Suddenly, my Skype screen went blank.
I thought it was a technical glitch—Skype television appearances are always hit and miss. But then a monotone voice came up from my speakers.
“You’re clear.” Then nothing. The connection closed.
CNN had hung up.
Usually the producer would tell me how awesome I was before clearing me. I figured she was probably just busy. I thought no more about it and started back to work on some legal brief when my iPhone went crazy.
Texts. Twitter direct messages. Emails.
It seemed Don Lemon had cut me off on-air. And the conservative world loved it.
I have never been back on CNN since, which saves me the nightmare drive. And getting cut off got me a bunch of media hits and a couple thousand new Twitter followers, so advantage Schlichter.
Yet, it seemed… odd. Why the overreaction? Things had gotten testy on the air before, but it was never a thing. Sure, I was hinting pretty graphically about Bill’s Cohiba peccadillos, but if you’ve ever seen Lemon looking like he’s half in the bag pawing at his co-hosts on CNN’s New Year’s Eve shows, you know he’s no prude.
But this time I had, at least for a moment, disrupted the network’s attempt to derail Trump, and its flunkies had freaked out. Then I realized why.
They were afraid of him.
But that was not the specific moment that I knew Trump could win. That was just one of many moments that were slowly opening me up to the possibility that perhaps Trump could win, that something was happening with the Trump movement that posed a profound threat to the status quo. To the Elite.
The moment I first knew Trump could win, that it was not just a theoretical possibility, occurred when my wife and I were talking to another couple in our Los Angeles beach-adjacent town. I’ll mask their identities a bit to try and keep the identity of the gentleman who convinced me secret—if he were unmasked he might end up un-masculated. Literally.
It was in the midst of the primaries. We were out somewhere in town and met this other couple, your typical upper-middle-class SoCal people with good jobs, a nice but hugely overpriced house, and some kids they treat like royalty. The wife is a nice lady, but let’s just say she was not a Trump fan. She was getting wound up. You know the drill. “Trump’s a racist and sexist and a misogynist and hates women and Mexicans and blah blah blah.”
I expect that even today, somewhere in her walk-in designer custom closet, she’s got a gyno sombrero just waiting for the next ridiculous march of the unoppressed.
Anyway, I decided to let Irina deal with her—I preferred drinking my cabernet to being bombarded with her basic opinions. These were the same ill-formed, simplistic, and condescending bits of consensus leftist group-think that the establishment and its poodle media were dumping on all Americans every single day. Pure Elite drivel.
I took a sip and I pitied her husband. The poor guy. If she nattered and ranted like this to random people, I could only imagine the bombardment of grating Trump whining he endured day in and day out. I looked over at him standing silent out of her line of sight.
Then it happened. He did something, and I just knew.
He rolled his eyes.
Not hugely, not theatrically, but subtly.
She was droning on about Trump’s myriad failings, and he rolled his eyes.
He was not yet completely broken.
He was rebelling.
He wasn’t going to scream or shout, or get in her face. He wasn’t going to say a word. No, he was just going to march into that voting booth, pull the curtain shut, and mark his secret ballot for whoever he damned well pleased regardless of what she thought.
He was just a Normal guy, and he wanted Trump.
Maybe he truly liked Trump, living vicariously through him as the candidate told off all of the kinds of people who sought to squash this average suburbanite dad. Maybe he hated Hillary, since he had to deal with the progeny of the movement that had turned The Smartest Woman Ever Was from a nice, repressed Goldwater Gal into a spiteful, repressed commie-lite crone. Or maybe he just wanted to flip his wife the bird without getting a shit-ton of grief and being cut off from the suburban booty.
Maybe it was all of them.
Regardless, he was going to tell her he voted for Hillary, but he was really going to pull that lever for Donald J. Trump because the hell with you for telling me I can’t.
I knew then that Trump could win.
Could win. I wasn’t certain of it, not even early on Election Day, that most glorious of days when Frau von Pantsuit’s dreams died in such a public and humiliating way. I thought Trump might pull it out, with some luck and some divine intervention, but I was pretty certain we would be inaugurating another President Clinton. With her unique combination of malice, stupidity, and absolute certainty of her superior moral and intellectual standing, I gave that dizzy diva a fifty-fifty shot at pushing our country into a civil war.
But when it came to Hillary, the American people had other ideas.
Trump’s voters, the Normals, were a lot like that husband. For a long time, they have been disrespected, taken for granted, and bossed around by their purported betters. Now they are done with it. Openly or covertly, they’re down for a fight.
Typically, Normals aren’t political, except when they have to be. They have better things to do, like their jobs and barbecues and anything else besides obsessing about other people using their proscribed pronoun. They just want to support their families, and be with them. They want to be able to count on a stable society where their families are safe on the streets, and they want a stable economy where their talent and hard work can get them ahead. And, instead of being needled by social justice warriors and smug late-night hosts about the faults liberals always seem to find in them, they want a modicum of respect.
But for so long, America’s ruling caste—the Elite and its adherents in the media and academia—have failed to provide any of that. There was once an unspoken agreement with the Elite: You can be the Elite and do your Elite things and we won’t pay much attention, but you have to do it well and let us live relatively undisturbed. If you do that, we’re cool.
But the Elite didn’t keep its end of the bargain, so we’re not cool.
The Elite did not just fail to do its job running our institutions and providing us a stable society and economy, though it has failed to do those things. The Elite has decided to declare war on the people who make up the backbone of this country because it just cannot live knowing the Normals are out there living free and uncontrolled. And in doing so, the Elite ignited the conflict we are living through today.
The Elite decided they had to burn down the country to save it.
There was an economic war on the Normals. You saw it on your bank statement when you diligently saved for a rainy day, like responsible people do, and you scored a big 0.5 percent interest because the Fed is holding down the rates. The Elite loves low rates. But if you are saving for retirement, you can’t tolerate that, so where do you have to put your money? In the market, which means you are giving your money to Wall Street, which means… the Elite.
Weird how that works out for the Elite and not for the Normals. But then, everything always works out for the Elite and not for the Normals.
- On Sale
- Oct 2, 2018
- Page Count
- 288 pages
- Center Street