Steve Bannon Tries To Stifle Dissent — An American Value We Must Defend

By on October 10, 2017

Steve Bannon has some strong — and hypocritical — words for anyone critical of President Donald Trump: we’re at war, and your criticisms help the enemy.

Bannon was responding to Sen. Bob Corker’s (R-TN) recent criticisms of Trump, in which the soon-to-be retiring senator told the New York Times that Trump’s behavior could create a catastrophic situation, even possibly igniting a third world war.

“[Trump] concerns me,” Corker said. “He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation.”

Corker also addressed how the president treats his office like a reality show, and that his rhetoric with North Korea could set us “on the path to World War III.”

Bannon’s response to Corker? Do not wait until the end of your term, and resign immediately.

Bannon expressed how our soldiers, currently overseas in a wide range of nations, are threatened by such talk. “It’s totally unacceptable,” Bannon said. “In a time of war, we have troops in Afghanistan, in the Northwest pacific and Korea, we have a major problem that could be like World War I in the South China Sea, in the Persian Gulf, we have American lives at risk every day.”

Conservatives have sung this song before. When George W. Bush was president, the same idea rang true in the right’s minds. It was downright un-American to say that Bush’s foreign policy ideas were against our best interests. We were fighting terrorism, after all!

But dissent is necessary, even in time of war — a value that conservatives learned after Bush and during the presidency of Barack Obama. The obstruction of his domestic policy, as well as questioning his every foreign policy move, was appropriate, if at times over the line — Republicans were within their rights to debate the merits of Obama’s decisions. Dissent, after all, is a necessary feature of democracy.

Yet dissent isn’t valued much anymore by the right. Whether it’s insisting that NFL players stand during the national anthem, or whether it’s pointing out the foibles of a healthcare plan that actually costs more and provides less care, Trump and his allies are constantly critical of the left’s dissent.

In this instance, however, Bannon is critical of a fellow Republican, which demonstrates just how brash and demanding of loyalty the far-right is with respect to President Trump. If you so much as step one inch away from this president, you are branded public enemy number one.

Dissent is a necessary feature of our politics. Even when Democrats are in charge, we should celebrate this minor annoyance as one that is a required component that actually betters our government. Without dissent, we would not consider other outcomes or possibilities.

Dissent strengthens our nation — it doesn’t hamper it. And individuals like Steve Bannon need to tone down their scorched earth rhetoric while defending Trump.