Columns, Opinion

Minority Report: A New General for the Culture Warriors

A Midwestern senator who loves the current American culture war is on the rise. His name is Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and I want to warn you about him.

Right-wing populism has a place in the Republican Party’s future, which creates an opportune circumstance for Hawley. He is seizing this opportunity by appearing on Fox News programs like “Hannity” and giving speeches at venues such as the National Conservatism Conference.

On such programs and at such venues, he has but one talking point: the culture war.

Hawley’s website states that one bill he introduced aims to “empower Americans to sue Big Tech companies who act in bad faith by selectively censoring political speech.”

So much for the almighty free market.

The Hawley breed of culture-war crybaby is becoming more prominent in the Republican Party, especially among those who consider themselves populists. These querulous creatures were displayed prominently at the Republican National Convention this year. 

Most painfully, the Catholic smirker of Covington, Kentucky bloviated about “being canceled” — the American right’s newest excuse to claim victimhood.

One hot new issue for right-wing culture warriors is the naming of military bases after traitors against the United States — sometimes called “Confederates.”

Hawley chimed in on this issue, offering his signature blend of disingenuous hot air to defend military bases retaining their Confederate names. In the same speech, Hawley had the nerve to quote the Gettysburg Address, saying, “these dead shall not have died in vain.”

His quotation bastardized former President Abraham Lincoln’s enduring words by trying to preserve the practice of naming military bases after the people who killed Union soldiers — despite Union soldiers being the very men Lincoln honored in his address.

Hawley should be ashamed of himself for perverting Lincoln’s words. Doing so proved that Hawley is foolish at best and sinister at worst.

To think that Hawley could be ashamed of his erroneous actions assumes that he can even feel shame to begin with. After all, Hawley is a man who, with a straight face, criticized “the political agenda of the leadership elite” while holding degrees from Stanford University and Yale Law School.

If you think a U.S. senator who graduated from Stanford and Yale is not a member of the leadership elite, then I have a bridge to sell you. Hawley also sees no issues with taking cheap shots and name-calling.

In a spat over Supreme Court rulings, Hawley called Pete Buttigieg “Ex-mayor Pete” on Twitter. This exchange with Buttigieg exposed Hawley for the menace that he is.

The exchange originated from Hawley’s disgust with a week of Supreme Court rulings that saw LGBTQ employment discrimination struck down and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program upheld. Hawley and his lot were heartbroken that they could no longer discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

After all, how free are you if you cannot fire people for being gay?

It is established that Hawley thinks it’s acceptable, and that it should be legal, to fire an employee for whom they love or for their gender representation.

But why is Hawley so bad? What makes him different from anyone else who shares his nasty opinions?

The answers to those questions also lie in Hawley’s exchange with Buttigieg.

Hawley’s “enjoy retirement” jab at Buttigieg demonstrated not only his shamelessness, but also his belief that the only goal in politics is getting elected and staying in office. The remark suggests a perhaps insatiable and sickening lust for power that should frighten all Americans. 

Americans should beware of impudent, ladder-climbing opportunists like Hawley, whose words are both sinister and insincere.

In the 2024 presidential elections, keep an eye out for a man with a handsome face and a polite tone. He will rail against “the leadership elite” and praise the “American middle.” If you hear those words, keep in mind how inwardly ravening the man is.

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