Charlie Kirk: Six Lessons That Jussie Smollett Taught Us About America's Culture War in 2019 | Opinion

When reflecting on a 2019 "year in review" column during an impeachment year, one glaring challenge stands out: How do you find "green space" to say something unique and not become just another voice in the choir?

After all, this is only the third time in U.S. history that a president has been impeached (at least as soon as Speaker Pelosi decides to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate). On the other hand, the entire charade has been incredibly boring and the outcome is all but predetermined. The most compelling question that remains is this: Should the Democrats' Stalin-esque impeachment effort succeed in influencing the 2020 election, then it will be the greatest political coup in modern American history. However, if the president wins re-election, then this impeachment will become known as the Democrats' Bay of Pigs.

Stay tuned.

But aside from this almost perfunctory selection, the most instructive story of 2019 is one that comes from my former home state of Illinois, specifically Chicago. I refer to the curious case of the on- and off-stage actor, Jussie Smollett, and the hoax he perpetrated on the American people.

It was back in late January when the news was first reported that the mini-star of the TV series Empire had been the victim of a "hate crime". As was reported on CNN and elsewhere, the account read like this:

Smollett was attacked by two people who were "yelling out racial and homophobic slurs" and "poured an unknown chemical substance on the victim," police said. One of Smollett's alleged attackers also put a rope around his neck, according to police. Both fled the scene.

It was only after the initial report to police that Smollett added the MAGA hats and "MAGA country" references to his description.

You know the rest: After an exhaustive effort on the part of the Chicago Police Department to investigate, they concluded Smollett had actually hired two Nigerian-born brothers to stage the event in order to gain publicity. District Attorney Kim Foxx seemingly agreed, at least initially, and then in a logic-defying turn, the DA dropped all 16 counts of disorderly conduct against Smollett and let him walk.

So, months after Smollett's story has come and gone, why is it worth recounting such an appalling act all over again? Because it contains several elements which are emblematic of the larger culture war raging inside this country. Instead of wasting column space giving you the background on each hate hoax or fake news story of the past year, I can simply reference Smollett and extrapolate multiple lessons from his case (beyond the obvious that if you are trying to stage a white supremacist hate crime, don't hire two Nigerian brothers and pay them with a check.)

Jussie Smollett
Actor Jussie Smollett speaks with members of the media after his court appearance at Leighton Courthouse on March 26, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. This morning in court it was announced that all charges were dropped against the actor. Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

So here are the six lessons that Smollett taught America in 2019.

Lesson one: The road to success is paved with victimhood instead of hard work.

As it has been portrayed, the motivation in staging this attack was to gain publicity and enhance Smollett's public profile. In theory, this would lead to more prominent acting roles and bigger pay checks (for Jussie and the Nigerian brothers, presumably). There was a time in America that people sought to advance by practicing relentlessly and persevering through challenges. Today, if you successfully claim victim status you'll likely be promoted before other, more deserving candidates.

Lesson two: The media will destroy anyone who questions the authenticity of a victim who fits their narrative.

From the very beginning there were holes in Smollett's story big enough for a real journalist to drive a truck through. Despite the inconsistencies and the many inexplicable details from the fictitious crime scene, the mainstream media was harsh in its treatment of anyone who publicly questioned Smollett. They predictably suggested that skepticism was thinly veiled racism. On the other hand, for the lemmings who mindlessly embraced Smollett, like ABC's Robin Roberts, there has been no backlash or repercussions.

Lesson three: It's fine to watch the world burn in the pursuit of your version of "justice."

In contriving a plan to attract public sympathy, there were a number of storylines that an actor in his own play could adopt. The one Smollett created involved "white men in MAGA hats." Charles Manson himself could not have thought of a better way to launch a "Helter Skelter" race war. Smollett was willing to watch America rip herself to pieces if it led to people believing, like Smollett does, that America is a racist and homophobic place. So what if he had to lie to make you believe that too. The truth be damned.

Lesson four: There is no such thing as a victimless crime, but if you're on the side of Team Left, politicians and pundits will act like there is.

The investigation of the Smollett case took detectives and patrol officers off the streets in a city where police data showed a 15.4 percent homicide clearance rate during the first six months of 2018. At the time of writing, 508 people have been murdered in Chicago in 2019. Aside from the race war he nearly ignited, which would inflict unspeakable harm on all Americans, it was Chicago's most vulnerable citizens, many of whom are black, who were Smollett's most immediate victims. Nevertheless, Smollett shamefully gets a pass.

Lesson five: The double standard of justice for liberals and conservatives is alive and well.

Imagine if a conservative actor, say Jon Voight, was caught inventing a story that he was attacked by two black men wearing "Feel the Bern" hats. Then after a seemingly conclusive investigation, a white DA refused to prosecute and let Jon off the hook. Can you imagine what would have been the outpouring of written and physical rage across the country? Had this reverse scenario been true, it would have been 2019's defining moment, and nearly every year in review column would have referenced it. Yet, when you look at the New Year's Eve that faces Roger Stone, Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, and other conservatives who have run afoul of the law, you can't help but wonder why their liberal counterparts face no such punishment. What about James Comey? What about Lisa Page and Peter Strzok? In today's culture war, these players are viewed by many as warriors and not villains.

Lesson six: No matter how vile the act, if you are willing fight against America and defame her, you will be embraced by allies in the culture war.

Not long after his hoax was disclosed, Jussie Smollett was still up for an acting honor at the annual NAACP Image Awards. Recently Empire showrunner Brett Mahoney suggested he was considering Smollett for a return to the series finale. Part of his resurgent popularity is the criticism he has received from people like me and President Donald Trump. Calling him out for his behavior has made him a martyr. Ironically, and shamefully, his PR stunt may ultimately work.

With any luck, Americans will be forever spared from again seeing Jussie Smollett's face on television or in film. But we should never forget his detestable, phony acting job on the streets of Chicago. He and his allies are waging a war on our traditional, American culture and values, and they are willing to do whatever it takes to advance their own agendas. This is a war in which every right-minded American must fight back against a radical, progressive left which is both militant and relentless.

We must also remember that we, the reasonable, generous, and compassionate people of America, outnumber the liars, the cheats, and even the cultural Marxists. In recent years we have been the silent majority and they the bullying, tyrannical minority.

So, let's let Jussie Smollett's final lesson to us be this: We must never be silent again.

Charlie Kirk is the founder and executive director of Turning Point USA, the nation's largest and fastest growing conservative youth organization with a presence on over 1,400 college and high school campuses; he is also host of "The Charlie Kirk Show."

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.

Charlie Kirk: Six Lessons That Jussie Smollett Taught Us About America's Culture War in 2019 | Opinion | Opinion