The President sneers at anyone opposing his vaccine mandates, claiming they want only the freedom to kill you, and undercover video reveals Democrat operatives describing your fundamental rights as literal “shit,” but the mainstream media doesn’t see anything out of the ordinary here as they chase after the latest Trump phantoms.
Trump is an authoritarian, or so the mainstream media and experts insisted for the past five years. Politico wrote “Trump is an Authoritarian. So are Millions of Americans.” Vox said simply, “Call it authoritarianism,” declaring that the “Republican Party has embraced an agenda that rigs the rules in their favor. There’s a name for that behavior.” USA Today was concerned that other countries “quietly slid into authoritarianism. Should the US be concerned under Trump?” Monmouth University went so far as to publish a study on “Authoritarianism Among Trump Voters,” focusing on “what motivates supporters of Donald Trump.” New York Magazine went a step further, declaring that “Anybody Fighting Joe Biden is Helping Trump’s Next Coup” merely three weeks ago. “All Republican politics is now functionally authoritarian,” they claimed. Wherever you look, the conclusion is said to be beyond dispute: Trump and his supporters are authoritarians, end of story, and by comparison the Democrats aren’t. They’re the champions of all that’s good in democracy, protecting your freedoms every step of the way.
Ultimately, it’s enough to make one wonder if any of these media outlets or political scientists possess even a passing definition of the term. If you actually bother to look it up, Oxford Languages defines authoritarian as “favoring or enforcing strict obedience to authority, especially that of the government, at the expense of personal freedom.” Consider a nationwide vaccine mandate, what is it other than enforcing strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom? You might believe a mandate is the right course of action, but there is no doubt it’s also a course of action that forces people to do something many would prefer not to for various reasons. Yet, when President Joe Biden was asked about precisely this mandate policy by Anderson Cooper at a CNN Presidential Town Hall last week, his response was to openly mock people for desiring their freedoms. “I have the freedom to kill you with my COVID,” he sneered. “Come on,” he added, using his signature phrase when confronted by something he feels is too ridiculous for comment.
Further, President Biden tacitly admitted he only arrived at a policy of force out of expediency, meaning it’s taking too long in his mind for people to get vaccinated voluntarily, telling Mr. Cooper, “And, by the way — by the way, I waited until July to talk about mandating, because I tried everything else possible.” Previously, both he and his surrogates had said that vaccine mandates didn’t fall under the purview of the federal government and the administration wouldn’t pursue them. “I will do everything in my power as president to encourage people to do the right thing and when they do it, demonstrate that it matters,” he explained last December while claiming he doesn’t support mandates. In late July, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walenksy said flat out, “There will be no nationwide mandate.” Clarifying even further on Twitter, “There will be no federal mandate.” What could be more clear?
Now, however, there is a federal mandate working its way through the administration, a plan to literally compel a “strict obedience to authority” at the actual “expense of personal freedom,” combined with mocking advocates of freedom itself, and yet no mainstream media outlet seems to be the least bit concerned about a new, creeping authoritarianism. Instead, it’s all about expediency: They support the goal of this policy and, therefore, whether or not it expands government power into a radically new sphere is entirely irrelevant. This same scenario has played out over and over again throughout the pandemic: Progressive governors rarely hesitated to wield government authority, shutting down churches, schools, and small businesses, and compelling people, even small children to wear masks, all backed by the force of the government. Any objections in the name of freedom itself were given short shrift, often outright mocked, exactly as Biden himself.
The underlying message was clear: You will submit to their will no matter what, even as they repeatedly change their minds.
The contrast with President Trump’s federalist approach to the pandemic couldn’t be more clear. Despite intense criticism, he repeatedly resisted the urge to pass sweeping mandates or use federal authority in new, previously untried ways. The result was some odd logical contortions from the mainstream media as they sought to explain why a would-be strong man wasn’t taking advantage of a situation tailor made to expand their power. The Atlantic argued that Trump was just too lazy to be an actual authoritarian, noting “Before the pandemic occurred, worrying that President Donald Trump might take advantage of a crisis like this one to chip away at democratic constraints on his power would have been within reason. Yet Trump has taken a different approach: complaining.” Quinta Jurecic and Benjamin Wittes argued that Trump continued to be “authoritarian in character” but had “crumpled when he’s come up against bureaucratic restraints.” They concluded that on “the one hand, he loves the trappings of dictatorship,” “But wielding actual authority is hard work for a lazy man.” Ironically, they then proceeded to laud now-disgraced former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, but essentially their argument can be reduced to: Trump likes to talk tough, but we can’t actually find a single instance where he exceeded his authority, even though the pandemic offered plenty, so we’re just going to say he’d love to be dictator, he just doesn’t have the work ethic.
Today, we’re confronted with actual authoritarianism including concrete plans to expand government power into previously unheard of areas and they have absolutely nothing to say. Instead, they’d rather talk about Biden’s perceived empathy and his folky style. In that regard, CNN’s resident propagandist, Stephen Collinson, declared the town hall a smashing success, if you can look past the President’s tendency to create opportunities for those dastardly Republicans to unfairly pounce. “Joe Biden, showing candor and good humor, on Thursday reminded America why it picked him as President in a dark hour of crisis.” He continued, “at its most basic level, presidential politics is about character. Successful presidents must show control, authenticity and empathy for the struggles of the people that they lead. Biden came across as humble, decent and humane — in his element with the audience.” Yes, he’s humble, decent, and humane while he says it’s perfectly acceptable to fire first responders and mocks even the idea of personal freedom. That’s humane? In that sense, we might consider Biden as the anti-Trump, at least in his scripted comments: He talks softly, can sound reasonable at times, but he has no compunction whatsoever about forcing a needle into your arm, call it compassionate coercion if you will.
Perhaps even worse, it appears Democrats are well aware this authoritarian approach isn’t popular with the public and are willing to lie about it for political purposes. Biden pretended he would never pursue mandates, then completely changed course. Now, he’s busy insisting the mandates are working even though vaccination rates have slowed since their announcement and his CDC is also considering whether they should force you to get three shots instead of just two. This means many people, myself included, that are currently fully vaccinated would suddenly find themselves no longer vaccinated, unless of course we bow our heads and comply, there’s that authoritarianism again.
In my home state of New Jersey, incumbent governor Phil Murphy is likely to be re-elected next week, but discussion of mandates has largely been missing from the campaign and he has not taken a publicly pro-mandate position. This week, however, undercover video surfaced of one of his senior advisors, Wendy Martinez, explaining that Murphy will be moving ahead with mandates right after the election. “He’s [Murphy] going to do it [vaccine mandates], but he couldn’t do it before the elections,” she said in Spanish. Ms. Martinez went one step further to explain that Governor Murphy hasn’t publicly announced this to undecided voters and independents for fear they wouldn’t be on board. As she described it, “They’re into all the shit. My rights, my shit. They don’t care if they kill everybody.” Ms. Martinez even added “Right now it is about [Gov. Murphy] winning [re-election], it will be fine.”
Nor was Ms. Martinez alone in her belief and her willingness to scoff at people’s concerns about freedom. Mathew Uquijo is a manager at NJ Forward 2021, a group funded by the Democratic State Committee. When asked if Governor Murphy would pursue a vaccine mandate despite not talking about it on the campaign trail, he said “I think so. I think the problem is right now because it’s election season, he’s not going to have people say, like, we’re gonna have a mandate now cause, you know, that’s—for some people that’s—it’s going to piss them off.” In other words, stating Governor Murphy’s actual position on the matter honestly and openly is a bad thing. They’ll just do it once he’s reelected and no one can do anything about it. There’s a word for that, isn’t there?
Nor is this open and obvious trend towards authoritarianism and their willingness to lie about it limited to the best policies to address the pandemic. Another candidate for governor, Terry McAuliffe, actually came out and said parents should have no say in their children’s education. “I’m not going to let parents come into schools and actually take books out and make their own decision,” he declared at a recent debate. To ensure there was no mistaking his meaning, Mr. McAuliffe added, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” He then proceeded to lie as part damage control from these remarks, claiming he didn’t even need to define the topic at issue, Critical Race Theory, because it wasn’t being taught in Virginia schools. Schools in Virginia, say otherwise, however, paying tens of thousands of dollars to consultants and writing memos pushing the practice. The former superintendent of schools in a suburban county in Virginia, Eric Williams, described it this way, “While LCPLS has not adopted CRT, some of the principles related to race as a social construct and the sharing of stories of racism, racialized oppression, etc. that we are encouraging through the Action Plan to Combat Systemic Racism, in some of our professional learning modules, and our use of instructional resources on the Social Justice Standards, do align with the ideology of CRT.”
The progressive drift towards authoritarianism isn’t limited to government either. Cancel culture can be seen as a cultural extension of the practice. After all, what is calling for someone’s cancellation for not doing precisely what you say other than an attempt to force them into doing what you say? Likewise, what are the speech codes currently in use on social media and the censorship of speech the establishment doesn’t like other than forcing you to only see and do certain things? In all cases, the underlying story is the same: Comply or else, and there’s only one party and political movement actively pushing these techniques inside and outside of government, but don’t tell the mainstream media that as they chase after the latest Trump phantom.