Three New Year's Resolutions for Americans
Reject Bitterness, Make New Friends, Stand Up for Our Kids
The first time I felt myself tipping into bitterness, a small-minded woman had barred my daughter from a youth soccer team. It wasn’t a competitive league. I had registered early. But, suddenly and incomprehensibly, there was no room on the roster for my eight-year-old.
In youth soccer, you apply to a league and only later are assigned to a team and learn which parent has been appointed coach. In my case, the woman chosen to lead my daughter’s team had also barred me from attending a local book event and loudly denounced me in our community for having written Irreversible Damage in the months prior, which is the only reason I understood what had happened. There I was, struggling to explain to a tearful eight-year-old whose every laugh makes a marionette of my heart, that this was not her fault. That she was a great soccer player and we’d find a way for her to play. But also—just as importantly—that while we were being punished because of me, I hadn’t actually done anything wrong.
Like those who opposed the lockdowns, the masking of children, vaccine mandates, our southern border and immigration policy, or Woke racial intolerance, those of us who applied reasonable skepticism to pediatric gender transition were treated shabbily. The coercive tools of social ostracism and censorship were wielded against us with smug pride. Then, in 2023, our positions became conventional wisdom, but we were still unacceptable. It was all so obvious, suddenly, even to members of the MSM. They’d arrived where we’d long been, but seemed to think they’d discovered the land by dint of their own wisdom, preferring to ignore the grotesque inhabitants.
All of a sudden, in 2023, our positions were conventional wisdom, but we were still unacceptable.
Conservative influencer Matt Walsh had a tweet a few weeks ago, venting a sentiment widely held on the right, which goes something like this: You liberals finally agree with us? Well, what took you so long? And no apology to conservatives? You make me sick. We’ve been yelling this stuff for years!
Of liberal author Fareed Zakaria’s CNN segment on the decline of elite American universities, Walsh tweeted:
Many on the Right are giving this guy credit for this monologue. He’s saying what conservatives have been shouting from the rooftops for decades, yet he never acknowledges that fact or apologizes for ignoring us.
A recent letter to the Wall Street Journal, lodged a similar charge against billionaire liberal, Bill Ackman, for what the writer considers Ackman’s johnny-come-lately campaign to hit back at Harvard in the weeks after revelations of its alarming antisemitism and general moral mediocrity.
American Jews have a left-leaning political history that has been hard for me to understand, but Mr. Ackman is the epitome of capitalism at work. How could he have missed the decadeslong movement of Harvard—and most of higher education—toward its antisemitic, anticapitalist and anti-American philosopher of today?
This is an understandable reaction; I’ve felt its tug more times than I can count. The transparently reckless progressive policy vision should have been a nonstarter with centrists and liberals. It didn’t take a PhD to know that cutting the breasts off teen girls in mental distress was a disastrous failure of psychology and medicine. Or that mandating social isolation for children and teens during a pandemic that didn’t threaten them would harm their emotional and intellectual development.
Or that unrestricted illegal migration would cause the collapse of cities and the social safety net. Or that hamstringing law enforcement would invite an explosion of crime that would primarily victimize the underprivileged. Or that letting American kids use Chinese social media apps was handing the CCP the H-bomb of psychological warfare. Or that DEI bureaucracies making “white” and “whiteness” into epithets represented a dangerous and depraved descent into open racism.
Were we supposed to wait patiently until the New York Times and The Atlantic lazily gathered the gumption to do their jobs? Or were we to speak up and stoically accept our due stigma? And now, after the foreseeable catastrophes have been laid bare, must conservatives pretend that no one could have seen it coming? Or worse, play cheerleader to liberals for finally—finally—waking up to a disaster that should have been easy for them to prevent?
Not cheerleaders, no, but perhaps not elementary kids screaming “no fair!” either. And here is the pill: Bitterness is something we shouldn’t indulge. Turning away fresh recruits for their late and uncertain arrival is something that perhaps a winning army can afford. That is not where we are. We who are raising American children find ourselves today in very different circumstances.
Turning away fresh recruits for their late and uncertain arrival is something that perhaps a winning army can afford. That is not where we are.
Anyone who’s been paying attention knows, this civilization is in desperate need of a rescue mission: from those who would teach our kids to hate their bodies and to hate this country. From those who pretend that any nation can survive the unimpeded invasion occurring along our southern border. From district attorneys who refuse to prosecute criminals out of an ideological marriage to “equity,” and now apply the same coddling to the pro-Hamas crowd openly defying our laws and vandalizing our national monuments. If we can find new friends now to stand next to us, we ought to welcome them, and log the win. In a moment of emergency, we haven’t the luxury of behaving otherwise.
We all wish that more Americans had understood the dangers of DEI earlier. None of us should ever have allowed “white” to become a dirty word. A country committed to racial equality ought really to have known better. And letting teenage girls harm their bodies in irreversible ways based on ineffable gender identities? Was sounding the alarm even hard?
For some, it was. And the shallow gratification of “I told you so” does not actually advance any worthy goal. Our kids need a broad coalition of fighters for their future. And we won’t get that broad coalition if we force late arrivals to grovel or perform a Walk of Shame. Their need to save face is human and universal; allow for it.
Here is a humbling truth, which all conservatives must face: If you have been shouting anything from the rooftops for years, it is not to your credit that no one listened. That you did not change minds. That you did not form a winning alliance. That you instead earned attaboys online from the same crew who pledged you loyalty from the start. Bitterness is deeply unattractive; that may have been one reason the more rational side sometimes fails to win enough support.
Here is a humbling truth, which all conservatives must face: If you have been shouting anything from the rooftops for years, it is not to your credit that no one has listened.
We must be effective in defense of this country because our adversaries are remarkably so in its deconstruction. In just the last month, the pro-Hamas rallies shut down Grand Central Station, wrecked the Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Rockefeller center, blocked access to JFK airport right before Christmas and LAX right after, and defaced the Lincoln Memorial. Christmas day, hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters chanting “Christmas is cancelled here” flooded the streets of New York City and clashed with police. They vandalized the office of Democratic House Representative Ritchie Torres, leaving him a baby Jesus doll soaked in red paint, and shut down the Oculus Transportation Hub at the World Trade Center. And, yes, it bears remembering that these “protesters” gaze at a conflict between a gang of homicidal rapists and a peaceable democratic ally, and side unequivocally with the jihadists.
They want to reshape the character of this country—to make it more like Western Europe—where Christians tread quietly and no longer have kids, and even Orthodox rabbis remove their kippot before walking home from synagogue. Our adversaries want Christians to think twice about coming to Jews’ defense, or hosting an apolitical public Christmas celebration. We can’t allow any of this, for America’s sake.
Our kids deserve to tromp up the granite steps of the Lincoln Memorial and stare at the great man and not see his defacement. We must not allow our kids to be force-fed lies about America by an educational system we subsidize. Our children deserve to be treated as capable, not made weak by a mental health establishment that seeks to stamp a diagnosis on every child. Our kids are not weak unless we make them so. Stand up for them.
And when we are treated shabbily by the bullies of the left, we must show our kids that you don’t let a nasty soccer coach wreck your good humor. You find a new team, strap on your shin guards and play on. (Or you sign up to coach the following year, make a hash of plays and strategy, and somehow wind up in second place.) To do all that requires that we find new friends where we can.
So maybe get a little less sleep in the New Year? Grab some coffee. Do some pushups. Find your voice. Welcome new teammates. There is so much work to do. Didn’t we say we wanted lives filled with purpose? We got our wish. We cannot afford to blow it.
Happy New Year! Let’s do this.
Coming Soon: Bad Therapy: Why the Kids Aren’t Growing Up.
Available for Pre-order Now. Pub date: Feb 27, 2024.