In a recent BBC interview, Nigel Farage, leader of the Britain’s Brexit party (the group that advocates for the U.K. to leave the European Community) condemned those who refused to acknowledge the wishes of the British people to remain a sovereign nation.
Painting with a broad, but accurate, brush, Farage declared, "You're in denial, the BBC is in denial, the Conservatives are in denial, the Labour party is in denial."
Something similar is going on in the politics of this country.
The Democrats and their allies in the media cling to the belief that somehow there must be something illegitimate in Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton.
The Russia collusion delusion having been exploded by Robert Mueller, there has been a quick shift to the Barr canard, the ridiculous suggestion that somehow U.S. Atty. Gen. William Barr misrepresented to Congress and the people that the president was innocent of obstruction of justice.
Wiser heads realize, of course, that the president, if he obstructed anything, was obstructing injustice, that is, he was seeking to counter the wrongful use of federal investigative and intelligence agencies by Obama administration officials and the Clinton campaign to undermine his campaign and later his presidency.
We should soon see prosecutions of those errant officials, but it is time to come to grips with the source of the denial of those who still seek to tarnish this president and his administration.
Even without training in psychology it is easy to understand that when one’s most basic values are threatened, when it is demonstrated that one’s basic assumptions about reality are shattered, one does not easily accommodate.
Human nature being what it is, it is more common to indulge in fantasy that supports one’s former views than to make the difficult adjustment to actual reality.
Progressives and the left believed with former President Obama that the arc of history was bending in their direction, but they were deceived. What history actually teaches us is that humans flourish when they adhere to a traditional set of moral values, and when their primary loyalties are to God, to their families, to their "little platoons" as Edmund Burke called them (their local, fraternal, ecclesiastical and charitable organizations), and to their country itself.
Hillary Clinton (following in the steps of President Obama) stood, for many Americans, as a repudiator of these traditional values and loyalties, and the current advocates of Democratic Socialism such as Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., similarly spurn what, in Donald Trump’s felicitous phrasing, made America great.
There are several causes for Trump’s victory in 2016.
Among them are the poor job that Clinton did as a candidate, the perception of Mrs. Clinton’s perfidy involving the conduct of the Clinton Foundation and her cavalier treatment of national security with her "home brew" server, the wisdom of the Framers in creating the Electoral College that demands that a president have the support of Americans living in a wide geographical area, and the sense on the part of many Americans that they were losing control of their country to bureaucrats in the federal Leviathan.
More important than all of that, though, may have been the sense that the identity politics of the progressives were driving us apart from each other, and were causing us to lose sight of what used to more strongly bind us together as a nation.
The progressives have quite correctly pointed to the fact that equality before the law has also been an important value in American history, but, contrary to the thought of some of them, equality of outcome and a socialist levelling have never been something most Americans have embraced.
Someday the mainstream media may acknowledge this reality, and the scales may fall from the eyes of Mr. Trump’s enemies. Their blindness now causes them to rail against him, and to imagine he is everything he is not.
Fortunately, given time, misconceptions tend to dissipate, especially when good men and women of faith and courage bear appropriate witness. That task now falls to the Trump administration and its supporters, as well as those now investigating the perpetrators of the Russia hoax.
The true friends of the Constitution are not those in Congress who seek wrongly to harass the president and his family by endless political proceedings having nothing to do with the needs of the nation.
The show trials sought to be conducted by congressional enemies of the president may play to the zeal and financial support of the Democratic base and may strengthen the position of some Democrats among their supporters.
They will do nothing, however, to preserve the rule of law, or to restore the foundation of shared beliefs on which this country, Great Britain, and, indeed, many other nations, depend.
Stephen B. Presser is the Raoul Berger Professor of Legal History Emeritus at Northwestern’s Pritzker School of Law, the Legal Affairs Editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, and a contributor to The University Bookman. He graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School, and has taught at Rutgers University, the University of Virginia, and University College, London. He has often testified on constitutional issues before committees of the United States Congress, and is the author of "Recapturing the Constitution: Race, Religion, and Abortion Reconsidered" (Regnery, 1994) and "Law Professsors: Three Centuries of Shaping American Law" (West Academic, 2017). Presser was recently appointed as a Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy at the University of Colorado's Boulder Campus for 2018-2019. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.