When Vince Vaughn, a Hollywood actor mostly known for his roles in romantic comedies, publicly shook President Donald J. Trump’s (R) hand, a media-frenzy erupted. Many on the left thought that what would have been a normal, no-news sort of thing a few years ago, was so atrocious that Vaughn should be “cancelled” (today’s woke language for: shunned out of the public light).
Vaughn and Trump had been in the same skybox at the College Football Playoff National Championship game between LSU and Clemson. A video shows Vaughn and Trump chatting amiably as the audience sings along with “Sweet Caroline.” Based on their expressions, it looks like they had a classy exchange. Classy behavior, when it comes to interactions with Trump anyway, aren’t permitted, according to many on the left.
A social-media frenzy quickly ensued. Some condemned Vaughn for being respectful to the president of the United States. Others pushed back by pointing out that something is wrong if we’re not even allowed to be respectful to a U.S. president.
Suddenly, we’re in a moment when George Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) feels more and more prescient, the left seems to be in favor of bringing the novel’s “Two Minute Hate” to modern America. In the novel, citizens were forced to publicly exhibit hate for two minutes every day as they looked at pictures of people the state deemed to be enemies. It’s not hard to imagine, given the level of “Trump-derangement syndrome,” many on the left doing this anytime they happen to see an image of President Trump on TV or the internet.
Vaughn has described himself in the past as a libertarian. He has even supported Republicans. He is even a gun owner; in fact, there is a scene in his comedy “Couples Retreat” (2009) where Vaughn thinks he hears someone breaking into his home. He grabs his pistol from a self-defense safe and investigates. The prowler turns out to be his friend (Jason Bateman). During this scene Vaughn handles the pistol deftly and without any anti-gun-flavored mishaps. He simply makes having a self-defense gun seem like the normal thing it is. This wasn’t an accident. Vaughn actually helped write the script.
When Playboy asked him, in its March 2015 issue, “Do you own a gun?” Vaughn said, “I do, yeah. I believe in the right to defend yourself if need be. Hopefully you’re never in that situation, but I think you’re fairly naïve to believe there will never be a cause for self-defense. But again, I believe it’s up to the individual. I don’t believe rights come in groups. You shouldn’t get more or fewer rights because of what you believe in or what nationality you were born into.”
So Vaughn is for individual rights, including our right to keep and bear arms.
The left’s reaction to Vaughn’s behavior exhibits a sudden and scary unwillingness to even be civil to those who hold different views. This fixation is so rabid that they want to shut down or “cancel” anyone not in step with their politically correct wokeness. This mindset makes it difficult, even impossible, to have reasonable, fact-based discussions with them about what can be done to make our society even safer.
This tendency is so toxic, in fact, that in October 2019, when talk-show host Elle DeGeneres was seen laughing with former President George W. Bush at a Dallas Cowboys’ game, a lot of people on the left attacked her for being friendly with the “enemy.”
DeGeneres decided to respond. She said “people were upset,” as “they thought, why is a gay Hollywood liberal sitting next to a conservative Republican president?” DeGeneres said the moral of the story is: “We’re all different. And I think that we’ve forgotten that it’s okay that we’re all different.”
That’s a fitting answer to her critics.
Vaughn, meanwhile, has declined to respond, which is also a classy thing to do.