Last week at the MAGA rally, Sebastian Gorka spoke by the Supreme Court, loudly demanding to the Plural Left, “Where’s all the looting and burning?” Much applause followed, and conservatives proudly reminded themselves how much better they were than their liberal opponents. After further marching and cheering, they all went home.
Gorka’s comment and the behavior it refers to are important because they help encapsulate the very heart of conservative attitudes towards resistance or civil disobedience. Over the summer, the Right continued spinning narratives about how they supported “law and order” versus the historically butthurt and rich leftist protestors who milled about, smashing businesses and looting stores. The idea was that the “good guys” would defend small businesses and “Back the Blue,” while their enemies ran amuck to cause destruction.
Such a storyline works well so long as you maintain power, because it projects the Boomer idea of communities under assault by the wild and communistic. Once elections go the other way, however, the message is a completely dull edge. Peacefully protesting election officials or courts while maintaining support for the establishment (laws, police, military), effectively implies acquiescence to whatever outcome they are sworn to protect. “Law and Order” now means accepting a Bidenesque presidency, even if the tagline is that fraud has been perpetrated across the country.
Herein rests the heart of conservative struggles with any form of a civil standoff. Much as they might enjoy parading around with their gun collections and body armor wardrobes, the fact remains that any sort of outright defiance requires them to break their own political talking points on defense of public order. Doing battle with police or the military makes them “traitors,” or “unpatriotic,” so instead the approach involves softly declaring opposition and then disappearing off into a SuperBowl Sunday watch session.
For all those reasons, it is hard to imagine any significant conservative action to overturn balloting results. The courts so far have been rather timid, and individuals themselves remain caught in the same conflict of belief. Do the people defending tradition and “the way it has always been” take a risk and break their own vows?