Something About Our Country Today
I’m afraid I have a more pessimistic take on Jim Geraghty’s good piece today. It’s not that I think America won’t ultimately reelect the president. I think we will reelect George Bush, and for just the reasons Geraghty says. But what does it say about the changes in this country that the battle is so close? It’s true that, historically, Americans don’t walk away from a fight. But if that’s so, why is this election such a nail biter? Why didn’t Joe Leiberman, or a Democrat with similar views, do better in the primaries? Why is the mainstream media backing McGovernite policies? I think the reason for all this is that conservative pessimists like Robert Bork have a point. The fact that a candidate who called America’s soldiers war criminals and threw away his metals could get this close shows that something has changed for the worse. And the reason is that even cultural leaders like the owner and publisher of The New York Times were once radical antiwar activists. Recall that after his second arrest for anti-war protests, Pinch Sulzberger was asked by his father what his son called, “the dumbest question I ever heard in my life:” “If a young American soldier comes upon a young North Vietnamese soldier, which one do you want to see get shot?” The younger Sulzberger answered, “I would want to see the American get shot. It’s the other guy’s country.” The reason John Kerry and his “global test” have even a ghost of a chance in this election is because Sulzberger and the folks who thought like him are now in charge of the media–and much of the rest of our culture. I still think Geraghty’s wise old head is right that Americans with a more traditional view will win in the end. But it would be blindness not to see that something has changed. The rise of the boomer left has put traditional American cultural views in doubt in a way that has never happened before. That what this election is all about.