January 28, 2020 - Tuesday
CNN's Contempt Serves Up A Lemon
January 28, 2020
"A house divided against itself cannot stand." Those were the words Abraham Lincoln used in 1858 when opening a speech about slavery in the states -- the most divisive issue of that time. Those words were not Lincoln's own, of course. They were borrowed from Jesus, whom all three synoptic gospels record saying the phrase. It's a truth that's older than the nations, and it's no less true in 2020 than it was in 1858 or two thousand years ago. Division was there then, and division is here now, and nothing drives division more than contempt.
Presidential campaigns of recent years have showcased contempt with great fanfare. In 2008, Barack Obama derisively talked about working-class people who were bitter and clung to guns or religion. In 2012, it was Mitt Romney's infamous, not-meant-for-release, "47 percent" comments that came off as contemptuous of half of the American people. In 2016, it was Hillary Clinton's very public remarks following Donald Trump's speech at the Values Voter Summit about how half of his supporters could be put into a "basket of deplorables."
Now it appears that already in January, 2020 has reached its high water mark for contempt. It could be seen with absolute clarity on CNN recently, when host Don Lemon, in a discussion with anti-Trump strategist Rick Wilson and CNN contributor Wajahat Ali began laughing at, mocking, and belittling those whom they apparently see as the most ignorant people in America: Trump voters.
Rick Wilson joked that the president's administration is, "...defined by ignorance of the world. That's partly him playing to their base, and playing to their audience -- the credulous boomer-rube demo that backs Donald Trump -- that wants to think that Donald Trump's the smart one and y'all are elitists are duuuumb." Ali joined in the mocking, adding, "You elitists with your geography and your maps, and your spelling."
For one minute and twenty seconds last night, CNN became a reality TV show. As Wilson and Ali launched into their extended hardy harr harr-style tirade, Don Lemon -- the Cable News Network host, mind you -- lost complete control of himself as he broke down laughing, lapping up the reverie like a man dying of thirst. The curtain was pulled back. This is really what the cultural elites think of half of their fellow Americans. Such simpletons!
Ivanka Trump tweeted about the segment, "You consistently make fun of half the country and then complain that it is divided. The arrogance, mocking accents and smug ridicule of this nation's 'Real Elites' is disgusting." I couldn't agree more. What this episode reveals is that many of the same people who refuse to engage with this president's policies and instead focus on his tweets harbor just as much contempt toward Trumps supporters as they do him. It's apparent that their goal is not to win over Trump supporters, but to put them in their place.
Contempt is not the way forward for America. Contempt is a cop-out from having an earnest discussion of the issues at hand. And that is what America needs, both left and right -- to look at what's at stake in the world we live in. Christians, especially, need to be vigilant in cutting through the chatter and contempt to evaluate how a biblical worldview affects the way they vote. Because there is too much at stake to build our foundation on the divided house of contempt.
Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC Action senior writers.