I’ve been watching the press gleefully covering all of the plans for massive protests and disruptions which are scheduled to take place during Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday with a growing sense of annoyance. Adding fuel to the fire was the unified front being presented by Hollywood and the music industry in their outright rejection of the election results and endless snubs and insults. Yesterday it got to the point where the audience would not only miss out on seeing Bruce Springsteen perform for the next president, but a Springsteen tribute band even cancelled their appearance at a New Jersey inaugural event. (WaPo)
The Bruce Springsteen cover band B-Street Band, which performed at the two previous New Jersey state inauguration galas, is backing out of its 2017 gig out of deference to The Boss.
“We felt that we had to make it known that we didn’t want to seem disrespectful, in any way, shape or form, to Bruce and his music and his band,” bandleader Will Forte told Rolling Stone. “I don’t want to upset them. We owe everything to him and our gratitude and respect to the band is imperative above all else. It became clear to us that this wasn’t working and we just had to do what we thought was the right thing to do and that was to pull out.”
At least in my mind, this one was probably the straw that broke the camel’s back. One of the reasons for this simmering feeling of foreboding crystallized for me last night and I remarked on it in my Twitter stream.
I was just going back and looking at the video of all the Tea Partiers disrupting Obama's inaugurations. It took exactly zero seconds.
— Jazz Shaw (@JazzShaw) January 16, 2017
But that’s when it struck me. As unpleasant as liberals of all walks are being right now, this could actually work out for the best. Conservatives have both a serious opportunity and an oppressive challenge in front of them when it comes to the unhinged response from the Left in Hollywood, the music industry, “social justice” movements and the Democratic Party itself. The opportunity is that a stark contrast may be drawn between how the Tea Party and other conservative groups reacted in 2009 and 2013 as compared to what we’ll see this week. The challenge is the predictable way in which the MSM will cover the two instances entirely differently. In fact, I would be willing to wager right now that both CNN and MSNBC will dedicate close to the same amount of screen time to the protests taking place as the inauguration and the celebrations which follow. In fact – and this one may put me out on the limb a bit – I won’t be at all shocked if at least one of those networks doesn’t split-screen the swearing in with some protest coverage.
But through conservative media outlets, the public might be reminded of precisely how differently things played out during the last two inaugurations. Anyone watching events unfold during the 2008 election knew that Republicans and conservatives were pretty disappointed in Obama’s victory. (And that’s putting it mildly in many cases.) But when Obama’s big day came, you didn’t see them acting like this. In fact, here’s an article from the New York Times published just after the swearing in ceremonies which sounds almost sad about the lack of outrage and boorish behavior from the Right.
Few Protesters at Inauguration
Protesters, a fixture of every inauguration since President Nixon’s in 1973, were few and scattered on Tuesday as Barack Obama assumed the presidency. It appeared there were far more vendors looking to make a buck selling Inaugural Chocolate Bars and Obama Incense than protesters seeking to make a statement.
Those who raised their voices were more likely to be expressing gratitude that former President George W. Bush was leaving office than displeasure that Mr. Obama was replacing him.
The Times even goes on to note that there were, in fact, some examples of rude behavior, but they weren’t coming from Obama’s detractors.
Some boos could be heard in the crowd gathered on the mall when Vice President Dick Cheney and Mr. Bush were introduced for Mr. Obama’s swearing-in.
They go on to describe the chanting of, “na na na na, hey hey, goodbye” as Bush’s helicopter lifted off to take him away from Washington and into retirement. Even then the Left was being characteristically nasty and unpleasant. But where were the Tea Party protesters trying to disrupt the event? The article mentions, “an occasional anti-Bush sign …protesting his treatment of the Kurds in Iraq or just urging him to get out of town.” The other signs they found called for George W. Bush to be indicted.
Surely there must have been some protests against Obama, right? If you look hard enough you can find a couple videos taken during Obama’s parade. There was this guy with a megaphone.
I have no idea what he was going on about. So did things change four years later? Conservatives were pretty riled up about Obamacare and a massively spiraling federal debt, among other things. Did we break up the big show then? During the 2013 inauguration this small group showed up in the streets after the swearing in, but nobody seemed to be able to figure out exactly who or what they were protesting. But I’m pretty sure it has the added bonus of an appearance by Vermin Supreme.
That’s about it. And in terms of the musicians and Hollywood stars boycotting Obama? Never happened. You can read through the list of celebrities at yet another glowing New York Times salute to Obama from that period. Performers ranged from Beyonce to James Taylor and the A-List turned out in droves. There were no stories I could find of people refusing to show up.
The real question to be answered is whether or not the media will be shamed into mentioning all of this. Will they celebrate all of the protests as a great victory for free speech? And assuming they do (as I’m sure they will) will any of them at least feel enough shame to provide a retrospective of how differently conservatives behaved four and eight years ago? I’d love to be proven wrong, but I’m not holding my breath. That’s why it’s up to the rest of you to put the word out and remind everyone.