The Corner

Hard Sayings

The Republicans have delayed their convention for the hurricane in New Orleans. Is that wise? Is it right that the whole country be mesmerized, in a way, by a weather event in one part of the country? Of course, it makes perfect political and PR sense to delay the convention. But does it make sense sense?

This is “an hard saying,” to use King James language, but I think the answer is no. This delay is part of the ongoing softening of America.

Thank goodness I’m not in politics — what freedom there is, in writing for a publication that allows you to say what you think! Let the hate mail flow. I can write it as well as the writers: “I wish it were you in New Orleans, getting blown away. Die, die, die!” (Of course, much of my Corner mail reads like that anyway. If I commented on the weather, I would get such mail.) (Hang on, this is about the weather!)

Let me tell you a story. Years ago, in Beecher, Ill. — a rural community — there was a wedding. Took place at a farm — the home of the bride’s family. That morning, her mother was killed in a car accident. The wedding went on. The reception was both a wedding reception and a wake, as I understand it.

Now, that is an extreme example — of a type of American hardiness, or human hardiness. And that day is long over. The thinking that allowed that wedding to go on is now completely alien to America, which is Oprahfied (in a word). But it lives, of course, in other parts of the world: places that are less cosseted, where psyches are less tender.

Of course, there would be no delay by Gustav, if not for Katrina and the political manipulation of that catastrophe. We bow to realities. But that doesn’t mean that, sometimes, realities don’t stink.

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