DANIEL VAUGHAN: The culture wars won’t solve any problems

Every time it seems that the protests — whether in-person or of the social media variety — have jumped the shark, they take a new leap into insanity.

Now, streaming companies are looking through their catalog of popular shows and quietly removing episodes that could offend. Whether any actual offense is made is irrelevant; only a perceived slight is needed.

If this seems worlds removed from the original purpose of the protests over the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and others, that’s because it is. The point of those initial protests was clear: end police brutality, and address accusations of systemic racism in law enforcement in communities like Minneapolis.

Silently removing a television episode, changing the name of a maple syrup brand, and toppling a statue won’t fix those problems. None of that addresses any point made during the initial protests, or even any protest before the recent demonstrations in Minnesota.

There’s a reason that progressive activists and Democrats are reaching for empty platitudes: they don’t have any solutions, nor do they want to enact any. And not only do they not have answers, but they also don’t want anyone to look at where these charges of systemic racism are coming from: Democrat-controlled cities.

The Washington Post ran a hilarious (and widely mocked) fact-check last week that attempted to shoot down a claim from President Donald Trump that Democrats run the top 20 most dangerous cities in America. The Post called this claim false, and in support of their fact-check, they provided a set of charts: one that listed the U.S. cities “with the most violent crime” by raw numbers, and one that listed the top cities for violent crime per capita.

Between both tables, only one city — Jacksonville, Florida — was run by a Republican. The rest were Democrat-led, with a few independents sprinkled in for good measure.

The charges of systemic racism come from Black communities in Democratic-controlled cities where not one progressive policing solution has worked in over 50 years. These progressives are left with beyond-crazy ideas like defunding the police — which has been done in Minneapolis, where violent crime is now spiking — and tearing down statues.

But the left has no real solutions. National Democrats walked away from a Senate bill negotiated by South Carolina Republican Tim Scott in conjunction with the White House, opting for a left-wing partisan wishlist in the House that shut out all GOP voices. Scott, for his trouble, has received a torrent of racist abuse from partisans on both sides of the aisle.

Indeed, while blocking any solutions from the right, the left now turns to empty cultural answers. They’ve come up empty in cities, and they refuse to acknowledge conservative solutions to the problem. The left simply marches around with signs saying “silence is consent” on racism.

How about this: inaction is consent.

It’s not impossible to get bipartisan legislation through Congress on criminal justice reform. Republicans passed, and Trump signed, the First Step Act in 2018. The liberal-leaning Brennan Center called it modest but “historic criminal justice reform.”

Republicans and the president stepped back up to the plate on the Justice Act in the wake of George Floyd’s death, and Democrats walked out. Commenting on this development, Sen. Scott reportedly said of Democrats: “The actual problem is not what is being offered. It is who is offering it.”

Democratic leadership makes big displays like going out and kneeling, wearing kente cloth, and talking about how much they like and support the protests. But they aren’t going to do anything to address the real problem.

Reforming police protocols, weakening police unions, and putting an end to qualified immunity are all solutions that take power away from the government and give it back to communities. But that’s not an acceptable answer for progressives. They’ve spent the last half-century consolidating power, strengthening public-sector unions, and dictating what happens in minority communities.

The left doesn’t want to give this power back.

And so we get the culture wars. It’s easier to tweet than to act. It’s easier to spraypaint or topple a statue than it is to listen to the real pain, and institute the change, long asked for by Black communities.

There’s probably another reason all this is being missed. These protests aren’t full of only Black people trying to achieve the dream of racial equality and justice. According to cell phone tracking data cited by BuzzFeed News, 75-80% of those in these protest crowds are white people. And if you go by pure anecdotal evidence on social media, and news reports, it seems these are your standard-issue white progressives.

The only way to address the issues of our time is to solve the real problems. And there are problems. We can make policing better, and we can make public education better, and we can even go beyond that. The areas that Black communities say are broken do have issues, and these problems have festered for decades.

Toppling a statue won’t solve that. Nor will silently deleting television shows.

Progressivism is bankrupt. If conservatives are willing to listen and act, there’s an opening to retake the Party of Lincoln mantle and provide liberty and justice for all. The right can’t expect anyone to vote for them until they reach out and do the work.

But if things continue as they are, it’s hard to disagree with one Black voter’s sentiments in Michigan. He told Politico reporter Tim Alberta, “Nothing ever changes no matter who wins anyway. Obama. Trump. Biden. Nothing ever changes.”

That’s a far cry from fulfilling the prophetic dream of Martin Luther King, Jr. But until the right listens and acts, or the left decides to provide real solutions, that’s all that’s left.