Victorious Democrat: Our Party is Not About the “Individual”

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Lost in all the bigger election-week news was the story of a 21-year-old leftist who won a race for state representative in Maine. Justin Chenette is now the youngest person in the Maine legislature. He’s also the youngest openly gay legislator in the nation (here I’ll add the obligatory “not that there’s anything wrong with that”).

What is wrong, massively, horrifically wrong, is Chenette’s vision of America. And as a delegate at the DNC this past September, Chenette spelled it out. After ridiculing the notion of free-market choice in education, Chenette told a reporter, “This is not about each individual. This is about how each individual can contribute to a society. And that is what we’re all about here at the Democratic National Convention.”

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Chenette won his race with 60% of the vote.

The notion that an individual’s worth is determined solely by how he contributes to “society” is the main guiding principle of the socialist/communist school of thought. Years ago, I heard Shelby Steele give a speech about the relationship between the individual and society. I’m paraphrasing here, as there’s no way I can do justice to Steele’s beautiful prose, but essentially he said that when the individual is left alone and allowed to be free, good things follow for society. In other words, the best way for a government to ensure that an individual benefits society is to leave him or her the hell alone.

It upsets me to see someone as young as Chenette so boldly stating that it’s “not about” the individual, but about how the individual serves “society” (a word that many leftists equate with “the state”). It might be that Mr. Chenette is (as often is the case with today’s young Democrats) misinterpreting JFK’s iconic “ask what you can do for your country” quote, as if Kennedy was attempting to say that the role of the individual is to serve the state (that was neither the meaning nor the context of that quote).

During his 1962 State of the Union Speech, Kennedy had this to say about the role of the individual (emphasis mine):

“The dynamic of democracy is the power and the purpose of the individual, and the policy of this administration is to give to the individual the opportunity to realize his own highest possibilities.” Kennedy went on to say that his purpose was to “make society the servant of the individual and the individual the source of progress, and thus to realize for all the full promise of American life.”

“Make society the servant of the individual.” Not the individual the servant of society, Justin. But, of course, there’s no sense in arguing with this young fellow. Chenette is a far leftist, and he represents the future that many of our countrymen voted for last week. It’s sad, it’s depressing. To be fair, I’m sure that many voters in Maine voted for him because it seemed all “progressive” and “cool” to vote for a gay kid (one of many ways in which social issues affected the election). And, if what I’ve read in Stephen King novels is correct, Maine is a pretty messed up state filled with serial killers, vampires, murderous clown demons, and shape-shifting aliens.

But still, I look at Chenette as a harbinger of a future that may soon overtake us, if we don’t push back, and intelligently.

Funny thing is, even though I’m a hetero guy, I’m probably better-schooled in musical theater than most gay men. So I tend to think theatrically – to associate events with scenes and numbers from plays I acted in. And after learning of Chenette’s victory, the first thing that came to mind was the “Tomorrow Belongs to Me” scene from “Cabaret.” As it was staged by Bob Fosse, the number is jarring, as patrons in an early ‘30s Berlin café witness the fanaticism and optimism of Nazi youth.

To be clear – I am NOT calling Justin Chenette a Nazi. Nobody should be called a Nazi except actual Nazis. The power in the scene is its universality. The scene represents the moment when the rational citizens of a nation realize that the youth have become brainwashed with a destructive ideology. It represents the moment the adults realize that the young people have become fanaticized. In Fosse’s film, it depicts the moment that the main characters know they’re screwed.

The scene could just as easily depict communist youth in Bolshevik Revolution-era Russia, or in Cultural Revolution-era China, or during the reign of the Khmer Rouge. It could depict Islamist Iranian students in 1979. The theme is the same…young ideological fanatics riding a wave of hope and confidence that the future belongs to them.

The far-left youth in this country are singing that refrain right now. They are emboldened, they are energized.

See if you can watch this clip without feeling just a little more depressed than you did before you clicked on this post.

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