Foundering on the Founding

by Carol Iannone

In her speech at the Democratic Convention, Michelle Obama said: 

If farmers and blacksmiths could win independence from an empire…if immigrants could leave behind everything they knew for a better life on our shores…if women could be dragged to jail for seeking the vote…if a generation could defeat a depression, and define greatness for all time…if a young preacher could lift us to the mountaintop with his righteous dream…and if proud Americans can be who they are and boldly stand at the altar with who they love…then surely, surely we can give everyone in this country a fair chance at that great American Dream.

She made no reference to the American Founding, and the “farmers and blacksmiths” remark makes the American War of Independence sound something like the French Revolution. The rest of the paragraph is pretty much an enumeration of the different interest groups that the Democratic party now cobbles together to get their majority. The Depression generation is of course the generation that learned to live under the New Deal — the Second Founding, and the real one, for modern Democrats. There is no longer any appeal in the Democratic party to the unity of the nation as a whole. Their entire approach is to define America as haves and have-nots and to keep demanding the elusive “fair chance” that they want the have-nots to believe has been denied them. And that only the Democrats can deliver to them.     

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