There are some troubling undercurrents in the mainstream media these days. You must listen carefully to catch them, but they are essentially different versions of this: “Just grin and bear the spiking inflation, crime surge, and shortages and be thankful you aren’t in Ukraine.”
There’s a very real “you don’t know how good you have it” narrative being spun lately, and its purpose is simple. It’s an attempt to normalize the decline in the American economy and explain away the pain. The liberal media mob can no longer say, “Don’t believe your lying eyes,” on inflation or crime. Gas prices are just too high, and they’re displayed on gargantuan signs. Further, the crime wave has hit virtually every major city. Local news stations couldn’t ignore it if they tried.
It’s all reminiscent of Jimmy Carter’s 1970s. Remember Carter’s July 1979 speech amid inflation and an energy crisis? Intended to be a national “pep talk,” it seemed to blame Americans with lines like “too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption.” Phrases like “crisis of confidence” and “the loss of a unity of purpose for our nation” were not well received by the public. It was forever dubbed his “malaise” speech. Two years earlier, Carter compared the energy crisis with the moral equivalent of war, and that too was mocked with the acronym of a cat’s cry for help—MEOW.
Democrats and their media allies know their history, and Democrats know they are an endangered species this election year. Thus, they are seeking to minimalize and normalize the misery we see around us. Ukraine potentially gives The Left the ability to achieve that goal. How?
Yamiche Alcindor of PBS and NBC lamented the missed opportunity in Biden’s State of the Union speech. “There are critics, including Democrats. Some really wanted him to tie the fight for democracy in Ukraine to the voting rights struggles and the challenges with American democracy here at home. He did not do that.”
Princeton professor Eddie Glaude said of Biden’s speech on NBC’s Meet the Press: “We have to address the question of what’s happening across the country in terms of the assault on voting rights. And we would also have to address the illiberal forces within our country that are driving the challenge to voter rights.”
Georgia’s Democrat candidate for Governor Stacey Abrams added to the lunacy with, “My mission is to make certain that everyone can cast a ballot,” while discussing the loss of democracy in Ukraine. Of course, all these pronunciations about people struggling or being denied the right to vote or the war on voter ID in America leaves one to ask, “What struggles are these leftists talking about given that elections last for weeks now rather than a day and an ID is required for nearly every aspect of our lives?”
MSNBC anchors are also talking about comparisons between threats to Ukrainian democracy and our own. They want to rehash January 6th again. That network’s Joy Reid said, “[Biden] did not mention the January 6 insurrection. If you want to talk about a profound hit to our democracy, there’s nothing more profound than a violent physical attack on the very building he’s standing in.” Reid even suggested Americans were only paying attention to Ukrainians because they’re white. David Frum of The Atlantic flat out implored Biden to “blame the invasion of Ukraine on Republican ideology.”
Will Americans accept this bloviating from The Left that America is fraught with problems but that we should be glad we are not Ukraine? Is the “things may be bad here but look, they are worse over there” argument going to save Democrats this year?
I say no, though I have fresh memories from twice running for office in blue Providence, Rhode Island (2004 and 2006). The state ranked at the bottom for favorable business climate and at the top for tax burden. I showed these and other statistics to many while door-knocking. Many Democrats, though polite to me, said straight up, “Look young man. In this state, this is the way it is, this is the way it’s always been, and this is the way it always will be.”
Many reacted as if I were trying to “confuse them with the facts” into voting Republican. It was a lost cause, at least in the capital city. But I remain more hopeful that our country as a whole will be wiser and that voters will choose not to be fooled into accepting American decline and instead vote to change course this November.
Jeff Szymanski works in political communications at AMAC, a senior benefits organization with 2.4 million members. He previously taught high school economics for 15 years and ran for state representative in Rhode Island as a Republican.