Two days ago, we had an editorial called “After Boston.” (When I say “we,” I mean National Review.) It began,
The terrorist attack on the Boston Marathon in many ways played out along predictable lines: The bombers were foreign-born Islamic militants with an affinity for jihad, our law-enforcement and emergency medical personnel responded with the awesome speed and skill that we too often take for granted, Bostonians behaved with prudence and restraint while the manhunt unfolded, the media performed in the opposite fashion, and, rather than turn into the “Islamophobic” lynch mob of the Left’s fevered fantasies, the American public took a few days to raise millions of dollars to help care for victims of the attack.
On this last point: Last year, I attended a dinner party on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. All liberals, of course, and then me. A lady said, “After 9/11, we were all united. And then Bush divided us.” I know you’ve never heard this before.
Another lady said, “Yeah — we were ‘all united’ beating up Muslims!”
I don’t remember it that way, actually. Do you? Do certain people . . . want it to have been that way?
I’m reminded of something else — and I’ll now quote from a piece I wrote in 2002, about the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI):
Consider the case of Sheikh Muhammad al-Gamei’a, as “mainstream” a Muslim as one could have hoped for. He was head of the Islamic Cultural Center and Mosque on New York’s Upper East Side, the very symbol of Muslim splendor in America. Al-Gamei’a was the kind who participated in interreligious services and offered soothing words about peace, healing, and brotherhood. This is the sort of role he played — speaking in English — immediately after September 11.
But then he went home to Egypt and, on October 4, gave an eye-opening interview to a prominent Islamic website. The sheikh told his audience that, after September 11, Arabs in America could not go to hospitals, because Jewish doctors were making them sick; that Americans were firing on mosques and murdering Arabs in the street, with impunity; that Americans knew that the Jews — not radical Arabs — were responsible for the attacks, but were afraid to speak up about it, for fear of being labeled anti-Semitic.
One more thing: For the last two years, I’ve been harping on something the Obama State Department did. In “human-rights talks” with China, our guys essentially expressed guilt over the Arizona immigration law. And also over our “treatment of Muslim Americans.” (I most recently wrote about this episode on Monday, here.)
Honestly, there is nothing to apologize for. America is just about the most tolerant, most forgiving, least racist nation on earth. We may be taught the opposite in our schools, and by our culture at large — the movies, the news media, and so on. But if you grow up and find out a little about the world, you know it’s true.
Some people keep waiting for the United States to heave with retribution against innocent Muslims. I think they’ll wait a long, long time . . .
Mitt Romney attended the interfaith service in Boston. He said this about Barack Obama: “I thought the president gave a superb address to the people of this city and the state and the nation.”
If the American people had made the other choice in November, Romney would be in the third month of his presidency. I think that sensible government would be taking hold, and that a touch of grace would be emanating from the White House. As it is, we have nastiness, petulance, and narrowness.
I think the American people made a lousy choice. (I realize I’ve never said that before.)
With the retirement of Saxby Chambliss, there will be an open Senate seat in Georgia. This Associated Press report tells us that two House members have announced they are going for the Republican nomination: Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey, “both conservative physicians.”
Interesting. Congressman Tom Price is from Georgia, and he too is a conservative Republican physician. What is it about conservative physicians and the Georgia congressional delegation? More broadly, what is it about conservatism, physicians, and politics? It seems to me that doctors in politics tend to be conservative.
(By the way, I said Price was from Georgia, and he is, in a way. But his English is pure Michigan. I discovered he was from my home state when I met him. Listening to him, I thought I was at home.)
This is a funny story. Someone, or some committee, wrote a song in honor of Holland’s incoming king, Willem-Alexander. According to the article I’ve linked to, the lyrics “urge people to raise three fingers — forming the W of Willem — while singing.”
I thought of our presidential campaign in 2000. Governor Bush said, “If Al Gore invented the Internet, how come all the addresses begin with W., W., W.!” He would hold up his hand in a W sign, and his crowds would do the same.
Ah, memories . . .
So, Anthony Weiner, the former New York congressman, is making a comeback. Apparently, he wants to run for mayor, again. Can he overcome his “sex scandal”? Frankly, I thought his district would have reelected him — but he resigned before giving them the chance. I’m not sure the American public holds such immorality against a guy.
(You know the Groucho Marx joke, don’t you? “If I told you you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me?” I’m not sure it was Groucho — it was somebody.)
Think of Bill Clinton: He left office more popular than ever, I think. And today, he’s something like America’s Sweetheart. Just about the most popular person in public life, right? What do people think of George W. Bush? Or Ken Starr?
I’m not sure that Anthony Weiner has anything to worry about in today’s America. Then again, I’m in a bit of a cynical mood . . .
Have you heard that Jane Fonda is going to play Nancy Reagan in a movie? She is. And a lot of Reagan fans don’t like that. I guess the governing principle should be, Acting is acting.
I remember way back to 1980 — that was the year Reagan was elected, of course, but I’m thinking of something else: There was a movie called Playing for Time, about musicians in Auschwitz. And Vanessa Redgrave played such a musician-inmate. This upset a lot of people, because Redgrave was pretty much the PLO moll.
Another memory from 1980? Jane Fonda reacted to the presidential election this way: “Ronald Reagan was a lousy actor and he’ll make a lousy president.”
Wrong again, Jane.
This headline made me slightly dizzy — see what you think: “Ex-bishop’s widow wants optional priestly celibacy.” (Story here.)
Shall we end with a little music? This has been kind of a short Impromptus, but you have enough to read. I thought I might remark on the death of Sir Colin Davis, the British conductor. I won’t say much — I have written about him a lot over the years. He was one of the best conductors we’ve had. He was known for Mozart, Berlioz, and Sibelius in particular, I would say — along with the British composers. But he was a complete musician, a musician without specialty, really.
You will not find a better Messiah than his. I mean this one.
From time to time, I’ve spoken of the three B’s of British conducting: Beecham, Boult, and Barbirolli. There needs to be a D, for Davis, to go with those B’s.
I’m traveling, so am not sure I’ll be scribbling at you again this week, but have a good one, regardless.
To order Jay Nordlinger’s book Peace, They Say: A History of the Nobel Peace Prize, the Most Famous and Controversial Prize in the World, go here. To order his collection Here, There & Everywhere, go here.