Where were you the night they chalked Emory U with a message that’s been airing constantly on American cable news since June 2015?
Eventually lefty activists are going to figure out a way to protest Trump without overreacting in a way that doesn’t obviously redound to his benefit. But between this and disrupting his Chicago rally a few weeks ago, they ain’t found it yet. If you want to stop the guy who’s winning by hollering that America’s too soft and politically correct, the obvious thing to do is demand protection from your local authorities from the very idea of his candidacy:
Students at Monday’s protest chanted, “You are not listening! Come speak to us, we are in pain!” shortly before [Emory President Jim] Wagner agreed to meet with them, Emory’s student newspaper, The Wheel, reported.
Slogans such as “Trump 2016” were written in chalk on campus sidewalks and some buildings sometime during the weekend. At least one of the chalk messages stated “Build a wall,” said one of the students at the protest, Jonathan Peraza, 19, who said he is of Latino heritage and went to high school in suburban Atlanta.
“That is a direct reference to brown people on campus,” Peraza told The Associated Press Wednesday, adding that “we feel unsafe on our campus.”
Naturally Wagner sent out a letter after the meeting insisting that he felt their pain because that’s the rational way to deal with a fledgling campus protest movement. Humor it quickly and modestly and hope that it goes away satisfied. Resisting it will be treated as a challenge to the ultimate authority of leftist orthodoxy over campus life and that invites a test of strength. Wagner did the “right” thing, if rightness means snuffing a would-be crisis before it could get rolling. And yes, via Ace, it’s apparently true that he promised to take action against whoever was responsible for the chalkings — if, that is, the perpetrator was from off-campus. Emory said in a statement to WaPo that students have the right to express their political views with chalkings, albeit only in certain parts of campus and so long as they don’t deface any property. If the person responsible isn’t a student then they can nab him for trespassing. It’s not the pro-Trump viewpoint that the university is concerned about — supposedly — in other words but the violation of time/place/manner rules regarding political expression. Good luck enforcing that against campus liberals who feel moved to scratch out their love for Bernie Sanders or BLM whenever and wherever they’re moved to do so.
This line, from the Emory Latino Student Organization statement on the chalkings that was republished by WaPo, made me laugh:
Yesterday, the Emory community was witness to an act of cowardice, when someone decided to plaster pro-Donald Trump slogans all over campus. The people who did this knew that what they were doing was wrong, because why else would they do so in the dead of night when no one else could witness them? They did not do this merely to support the presidential candidate, but to promote the hate and discrimination that goes along with him. While some students only see the name of a potential nominee, others see hostility and venom which promises to destroy lives.
Is that right? Can anyone think of a reason why someone inclined to express a right-wing nationalist viewpoint on an American college campuses might want to do so anonymously besides “they knew what they were doing was wrong”? Hint: It might have something to do with what I said about who the ultimate authority on campus is. That’ll never fail to be the most ridiculous thing about these “safe space” eruptions against speech that isn’t impeccably progressive. When all the political and institutional power is on one side of the ideological scale, whose safety is really at risk? The chalker’s or his audience’s?
The best argument you can make against the chalking, I think, is that it was less a genuine expression of support for Trump than a form of trolling the campus hivemind. What’s the most politically incorrect, incendiary thing you could write on the ground at a university and not risk real trouble for it, as you might if, say, you displayed a Confederate flag? “Trump 2016” is a pretty good bet. Maybe the responsible party was simply trying to provoke. But even if he was, so what? The “safe space” mentality invites that. Ninety percent of the reason Trump’s fans will defend their guy no matter what boorish thing he says, I suspect, is because he’s doing an ace job of invading the political class’s safe space. They don’t get to hide from it. Why should Emory’s snowflakes?