No Grace. The Code of the Left Requires Perfect Obedience. Just Ask Nick Sandmann.
There is no grace. There is only the Code, which must be followed without perfectly, no flaws allowed. Nick Sandmann wasn’t perfect. He had to be punished.
The Code is broad in sweep and specific in application. It allows no exceptions, certainly not for a case like Sandmann’s. Sure, his group was out of town in unfamiliar surroundings. Granted, they’d been racially taunted and harassed for close to an hour. Yes, Nathan Phillips could have walked around them just ten yards to the right, but he chose to go through them instead, somberly beating his drum. Of course it was a completely unexpected, weird, even foreign situation for them all. And yes, they responded with near-perfect equanimity — especially for teenagers! — up to that point.
Not good enough. The circumstances make no difference. Sandmann wasn’t perfect, by the Code’s standard of perfection. That’s all you need to know. WHACK! Down comes the hammer.
And just how imperfect was he in that strange situation? He smiled. It was a bit of a confused, uncomfortable smile — in a massively confusing, uncomfortable situation. And it was wrong. Smiling was wrong.
There could be no grace given for such an offense. WHACK! The hammer fell hard upon him. For smiling.
The Code is Far Better at Shouldn’ts Than Shoulds
Well, not just for smiling. He smiled imperfectly, where “perfect” means smiling so that no one can possibly grab a still from it that could be interpreted as a smirk. The Code doesn’t just demand perfection, you see. Its WHACK! also falls on those who can be edited to appear less than perfect.
Where the Code is not clear is in explaining what he should have done instead. It’s far better at shouldn’ts than shoulds. My guess, though, is he should have turned to his friends and called out, “Make way! These noble people want to go to the Lincoln Memorial! Let them pass through! Silence yourselves in deference as they go by!”
And to maintain perfection, the crowd of teens should have parted, just as spectators move off the roadway to let the first float go by in a parade. How they should have known they were on a parade route is, again, unclear, but no matter. Sandmann didn’t follow the Code perfectly. His friends didn’t make way for the parade.
Later Sandmann said, “I wish we could have walked away.” But the Code doesn’t allow wishing, nor does it permit one to reflect on options after the fact. You must get it right the first time. Otherwise, WHACK! The hammer comes crushing down.
The Code Expects Perfection No Matter What
But hold on a minute. It’s ridiculous, isn’t it, to expect perfection that way? It reminds me of the day my mother unexpectedly died. My wife, my kids and I were at the hotel pool without our phones, so my sister drove over to tell us the sad news. We were back in our room by the time she got there. She knocked, I opened the door, and she stood there and said, “Mom’s dead.”
Days later she called to apologize for saying it so bluntly. I answered, “What? You have nothing to apologize for! It was a horribly hard thing to do, and not the kind of thing anyone gets any practice at. Why should anyone expect you to do it perfectly — whatever that would even mean — the first time?”
Similarly, Sandmann was in a really difficult and completely new, unfamiliar situation. How many of us have had a Native American man beat a drum and walk up to stare us in the face, while onlookers are shouting racist taunts? How much practice does anyone get in responding perfectly in a place like that?
No matter. Sandmann didn’t follow the Code perfectly. WHACK!
Almost Satire — But Not Funny
The story almost plays out like satire. It’s just too ironic that this took place in front of the Lincoln Memorial, one of our nation’s greatest symbols of release from bondage. The left claims to be tolerant and free. It’s almost hilarious. Everyone knows there is no freedom in their Code.
The left is deadly serious. They’ve forgotten how to laugh. Maybe they’ve forgotten what it means to smile.
It’s laughable that anyone could expect teens to respond absolutely perfectly in such tense and confrontational circumstances. It’s ridiculous that a smile — even an awkward, uncomfortable smile — could be punished so.
But we dare not laugh over this. Ask Sandmann and his friends. They’ve been convicted of a crime against the Code, and punished with very real punishments. Ask other violators of the Code, people guilty of “misgendering,” for example, or not wanting to support gay weddings with their artistry. The Code rules; the hammer falls.
So no, this isn’t funny. The left is deadly serious. They’ve forgotten how to laugh. Maybe they’ve forgotten what it means to smile.
Tom Gilson is a senior editor with The Stream and the author of Critical Conversations: A Christian Parents’ Guide to Discussing Homosexuality with Teens (Kregel Publications, 2016). Follow him on Twitter: @TomGilsonAuthor.