Ayanna Pressley’s disturbing progressive threat – Washington Examiner

President Trump’s racial insensitivities are nothing new, most recently shown by his tweets attacking Reps. Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Rashida Tlaib. But while the media do their usual due diligence in focusing on Trump for multiple days on end, they’ve largely ignored the open displays of radicalism by “the squad” as they’re now apparently called. Comments by Rep. Ayanna Pressley on Saturday at the Netroots Nation convention in Philadelphia went barely noticed, and were equally troubling. She said:

It’s a pretty stunning statement if you’re in the political mainstream. Unfortunately, it is not an alien concept to the far-left that populates academia, the media, and online discourse. This notion has been around since the late-19th century and was popularized in the Progressive Era, only to recede after World War II and re-emerge after the 2016 election.

Pressley was launching a blunt attack on the politics of individualism, in favor of group identity and thus intergroup conflict.

You could be forgiven for thinking the Democratic Party was fueled by a liberal, pluralistic mission of injecting diversity into American life. Their rhetoric has long revolved around the buzzwords of diversity and inclusion. Bringing more voices into the conversation would open up more possibilities and avenues for change. The Left may have believed this at one point, some still do. Even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her older allies in Congress seem caught off guard by lurch leftward in their caucus. But that’s the thing about these young progressives. As George Will wrote in his recent book, The Conservative Sensibility, “A progressive’s work is never done, because everything is progressivism’s business.”

Diversity has been a threat to progressives’ vision of America ever since their movement crystallized under President Woodrow Wilson. While the word may have entered the common vernacular of the Left, diversity implies a range of inputs, experiences, and thus outcomes that are possible. This simply cannot stand when your ideology requires that factionalism, a product of individuality, be replaced by a shared understanding of history and common cause.

For any digital native, Pressley’s comments are run-of-the-mill discourse on Twitter, where the woke community resides. This highly educated generation is inheriting a worldview that’s been baking for a century in elite universities, waiting for “a moment.” The problem for progressives now is the same as the problem back when Wilson was studying his Marx and Hegel: individualism, borne from a uniquely American sentiment that each man and woman is a sovereign, and the idea that government exists to protect that.

Pressley, Omar, Ocasio-Cortez and the rest of the social justice Democrats are not working on the same project as Democrats we’ve seen move through Washington for the last 40 years. In their minds, more women, Hispanic, black, Asian, or gay Americans being added to the halls of Congress can’t be hailed as a progress if their views aren’t keeping with progressive goals. To go the other way is, in their view, to participate in white supremacy. Group mentality, based on collective experiences and not that of your own life, is central to the politics of the squad. This is why social justice activists include individualism in the nexus of ideas that uphold “white-supremacy culture.”

There has to be a more robust response to the radical identitarian politics of Pressley and her allies. Diversity is worth defending and over time we’ll likely see the Democratic Party move away from being its champion. Diversity doesn’t foster order, and without order you can’t enact progressive reform. If the president really wanted to test the squad, he would open America’s doors to as many Venezuelan refugees as possible. Surely Pressley values the voices of this huddled mass yearning to breathe free — even if the majority rejects her socialist agenda.

Stephen Kent (@Stephen_Kent89) is the spokesperson for Young Voices, host of Beltway Banthas Podcast, and an entertainment contributor for the Washington Examiner.

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