Democrats

Imagining Bill Belichick analyzing film of the Left's strategy

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was the man I’d been looking for. I needed keen insights, and only he could provide them.

Belichick was famous for analyzing the game film of opposing teams, identifying their strategies and beating them. His team, once again, was about to play in the Super Bowl. My mission was delicate. Who else could I rely on?

So I collected film of the American Cultural Left’s recent games on the Washington Mall, on various news outlets, and in the halls of government, put them in an envelope and, in my imagination, I took it straight to Belichick’s office in Foxboro, Mass.  

At first Belichick complained of being busy, what with a Super Bowl and all. But seeing the obvious importance of this, he made time for me. With a cigar in one hand and a remote control in the other, he broke down the film with his usual attention to detail. Although he was hard to understand at times — he mumbles a lot — he missed nothing. The man is truly a genius.

Coach Belichick stamped out his cigar and turned on the lights. I was dizzy from this whirlwind of coach-speak, and he knew I might not remember everything he had said, so he gave me one of those clever wristbands that quarterbacks wear so that they won’t forget the plays.

Deftly maneuvering a laser pointer, he identified five primary strategies to which the Left defaults in any game where playing by the rules isn’t enough to win:

1. Referees. When the other team scores a touchdown in a tight game, Belichick said, note that the Left wastes no time appealing to the referees. Challenge flags are thrown, lawsuits are filed and, in Tom Brady-like fashion, they take their deflated balls to federal court. Slowing down the game and gumming up the works is the point, rather than an excuse for more commercials.

2. Ideals. They find ways to (vaguely) identify their cause with the average fan. Do their ideals conform to the average American? Of course, not. Americans want the sidelines clearly defined and guarded from fans illegally running onto the field; they want the referees and the league to mostly stay out of their lives and out of their pockets, and they want to play the game according to the rules. But, Belichick noticed, the Left often defeated teams that employed this defense by making them feel like this was somehow an un-American and bigoted way to play. Boundaries and first-down markers are moved mid-game, and by shifting the center of the game continually to the left, they manage to convince many Americans that they are out of step with other teams in the league.

3. Obfuscate. That which is black and white, they make gray. What is clear, they make blurry. Rules are intentionally made ambiguous to ensure that everything becomes a discretionary call by their selected review booth. Take marriage, for instance. We all thought we knew what that was. Man and woman. Flange A, Slot B. What could be more obvious? But by the time they are through talking about it, they have convinced you that sex as you know it — as the whole of history has known it — isn’t natural at all! Indeed, they have convinced you that defining words like “man” and “woman” is a very, very difficult thing to do. It’s certainly not a job for ordinary people.

4. Tacitus. Was this a famous coach or quarterback from a previous era? No. It turns out that Coach Belichick is an educated man. He went on to explain that Tacitus, a Roman historian, had spoken of a principle called “divide and conquer.” The Left knows that evangelicals, 26 percent of the U.S. population, pose the greatest threat to their game strategy. So the Left tries to run a spread offense, to get evangelicals running sideline-to-sideline. And getting evangelicals off their assignments is easy. Relying on misdirection, the Left simply finds a verse in the Bible that appears to support its agenda. Failing that, it finds a Christian — or someone who at least says he’s one — and quotes him liberally against other Christians.

5. Scream. This, Belichick declared, is the Hail Mary. They use this play, he insisted, when all else fails. This chiefly means they storm the field and pull down the goal posts — but for precisely the opposite reason that this is usually done — that is, after winning a big game. This, the coach said, was the play they ran on the Washington Mall. Ashley Judd and Madonna were the halftime show. (On this point, he did not seem impressed.) The idea, it seems, is to bully, ridicule, demonize and isolate anyone who is in opposition. This is where fans are useful. They are encouraged to boo the opposition loudly on social media.

Coach Belichick stamped out his cigar and turned on the lights. I was dizzy from this whirlwind of coach-speak, and he knew I might not remember everything he had said, so he gave me one of those clever wristbands that quarterbacks wear so that they won’t forget the plays.

On it he had inscribed:

R.I.O.T.S.

“It’s an acronym,” he said. “It’ll help you remember.” Noting my confusion, he added: “It’s Patriots — without the P-A-T, of course.”

I tested my memory on the meaning of each letter: Referees, Ideals, Obfuscate, Tacitus, Scream.

“Got it, coach.”

Our meeting now over, I left a sadder and a wiser man.

Larry Alex Taunton is the author of The Faith of Christopher Hitchens: The Restless Soul of the World’s Most Notorious Atheist (2016) and the Executive Director of the Fixed Point Foundation. You can follow him at larryalextaunton.com or on Twitter @LarryTaunton.

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