(The Academic Redneck and husband Mike on inauguration day, perfectly content to celebrate at home, away from the D.C. Crowds.)
I’m seeing a lot of Facebook posts today about how, nanner, nanner, nanner, Trump’s crowds were not that yuge for the inaugural as President Obama’s were in 2009 and 2013. This is news?
Let me clue you in on how conservatives think. We’re not generally public activist-oriented types. Progressives will show up in support of the snail darter, the spotted owl, the non-spotted owl. They’ll turn out to show contempt for big oil, big Wall Street, GMOS, NGOs, nukes, or whichever conservative they’ve currently condemned as Hitler incarnate.
This just isn’t how conservatives typically roll. Oh, a few fringe types may show up to protest at an abortion clinic, and you may get a crowd at a pro-Second Amendment rally, but average conservatives will only congregate in large groups when they think the country become sufficiently screwed up to say, “Oh, hell. I guess we have to do something, damn it.” Jonah Goldberg even has an article today in National Review explaining that he didn’t attend the inaugural activities because of his distaste for crowds. I think his views resonate with a lot of right-leaning Americans.
Protest is not something that comes naturally to us. As conservatives, we tend to want to conserve the status quo. Granted, refusing to embrace new ideas can be problematic, but so can this constant impulse to organize and make things better. We were completely horrified with Obama’s notion to “fundamentally transform” America. With a few minor exceptions, we liked the country as it was pre-Obama. Beyond a few minor tweaks, we were content.
Furthermore, we often get exhausted just trying to understand the latest progressive cause du jour. The “Make America Great Again” slogan reflects our view that progressives tend to keep meddling and changing stuff until they’ve made things that were pretty good for most people lousy for everybody. But even Trump’s slogan may require more active effort than we’re comfortable with. A real question is whether we have the stamina and energy to embrace the kind of change to make America as great as we think it once was, or if we’ll get preoccupied with our own lives and not bother. Our inclination may be to stall. Or maybe we’re just lazy.
D.C. is home-field advantage for Democrat and progressive activists, so it isn’t surprising that Trump’s crowds weren’t as big as Obama’s. Besides, you can walk out on the Washington Mall at just about any time and join some progressive cause’s march. Trump’s supporters are mostly in flyover country, far removed from the Beltway. Most like it that way. Still, enough showed up to discourage any anti-Trump protestors from sabotaging yesterday’s festivities. Our activism in the last election consisted of grassroots networking from our home computers and showing up at rallies in swing states. Fortunately, it worked.
Yes, Trump will exaggerate his crowds, because that’s how he rolls. It’s a bit like embellishing the size of fish you caught until you’ve turned a guppy into a whale. Obama indulged in hyperbole from time to time, too: (“We are the ones we’ve been waiting for,” “This is the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and the planet began to heal.”)
I hope progressives enjoy the Women’s March on Washington today and take pleasure in the crowds they’re able to muster—or pay—to show up for the cause, whatever it is. We conservatives are just happy that our guy got elected and hope he’ll do a sufficiently good job so that we can go on with our lives and not be bothered with the sort of political activism that progressives appear to relish.
Progressives, we’ll throw you a bone and concede your crowds are bigger. Such matters aren’t that important to us.