Editor’s note: The following column originally appeared in the National Review Online.
What is a better word for the more than 6,000 black men shot dead on the streets in 2015?
The media have been clucking their disapproval at the “darkness” of Donald Trump’s inaugural speech. “Uniquely dark vision of the U.S.,” read a New York Times headline on Saturday. The Washington Post reported that “Trump delivered a dark inaugural address” — adding, somewhat contradictorily — “in which he pledged fealty to all Americans.”
A New York Times op-ed by a former speechwriter for President Bill Clinton decried Trump’s “dark, counterfactual picture of ‘American carnage’: an economy in decline, communities under siege by ‘the crime and the gangs and the drugs.’”
A New York Times editorial, “President Trump’s Dystopian America,” scoffed at how President Trump “waxed apocalyptic in imagining the prevalence of crime in the nation’s cities. ‘This American carnage stops right here and stops right now,’ [Mr. Trump] vowed,” the Times wrote incredulously.
The press unleashed an identical outpouring of criticism for Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, which was likewise said to adopt a counterfactually bleak view of the nation.
Are you scratching your head and wondering, Since when did liberals and the Left embrace a sunny, light-filled vision of the United States? If so, you’re not misremembering things.
These are the same liberal elites who have been telling us for decades that America is shot through with an ever-expanding array of hatreds and injustice that disenfranchise large portions of the population and force them to live in fear. While the conceit of an endemically bigoted and unjust America is longstanding, you need look no further than Saturday’s Women’s March on Washington, D.C., to refresh your memory.
Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal. Mac Donald's newest book, The War on Cops (2016), warns that raced-based attacks on the criminal-justice system, from the White House on down, are eroding the authority of law and putting lives at risk.