The Corner

Politics & Policy

Nadia, Etc.

Former gymnastics champion Nadia Comaneci attends a tennis tournament, the French Open, in Paris on June 9, 2018. (Charles Platiau / Reuters)

Today, my Impromptus column has a variety of items, as it should: Simon Biles, Iran, Fidel Castro — even 800 numbers. But the main issue is January 6 and the current congressional committee. This is important in a number of ways, though many people, understandably, would like to avoid the issue. Or obfuscate it.

Yesterday, I spoke with George F. Will, for my Q&A podcast: here. “I happen to have been rocked to my very foundations by what happened that day,” said Will, referring to January 6. Twenty years ago, “9/11 proved that we have external enemies. Knew that already.” But “we did not know that we had mobs that could be incited by a president to try to halt a constitutional process.”

George Will does not pussyfoot around.

We also talk about the issue of Big Tech, about which Will says the following:

Conservatives who want to break Big Tech to the saddle of government should understand that, big as Big Tech is, it’s nowhere near as big or as powerful or hence as dangerous as big government. So before conservatives get onboard with the progressive impulse, which is now more than a century old, to break all of American society to the saddle of government, they should stand back and say, “What do we fear most?” and, “What reasonably should we fear most?”

Will goes on to say that his approach to politics is “not to define the good and pursue it but to define the worst and avoid it.”

Then there is critical race theory, a menace to education, a menace to the country, says Will.

Obviously, we have done an insufficiently good job of communicating some aspects of the darker side of American history. Like all nations, we have a dark side. I reached the age of almost 80 without knowing anything at all about the Tulsa pogrom — let’s call it what it was — a hundred years ago, and that’s not right.

On the other hand, a correction can be worse than that which needs to be corrected. What critical race theory says is, America is not just tainted by racism and white supremacy, it is defined by it. Critical race theory says all politics is everywhere and only a power struggle, a zero-sum power struggle, between the oppressed and the oppressors.

Which is bunk.

There’s a lot more, including Taiwan, Hong Kong, Russia, and, of course, baseball. George Will says it’s time for baseball — of which he is a keen and life-long student — to undergo serious reforms. And if Will says it’s time, I think it’s time, too. Again, our podcast is here.

I will end my post with a touch of mail. Earlier this week, I had an Impromptus devoted to the Olympics, mainly. Talking about my “history” with the Olympics, I said,

Naturally, I fell in love with a succession of Olympians, mainly gymnasts and figure skaters, I guess: Cathy Rigby, Olga Korbut, Peggy Fleming, Dorothy Hamill, Nadia Comaneci, Katarina Witt . . . Most of these women must be grandmothers by now.

A reader writes,

Nadia Comaneci moved to America after her Olympic triumphs and married the American gymnast Bart Conner. They live in Norman, Okla., and run a gymnastics school there. Back in the late ’90s when I was on staff for Governor Frank Keating, they were to come to the state capitol for some event. As a group came down the main corridor, I noted that one person was distinctive in the way she moved and walked. The best way I could describe it was like a big jungle cat, all fluid motion and grace. Of course it was Nadia, by then about 40. She may be a grandma today, but I bet she still stands out in any crowd you might put her in.

I bet. And thanks to all letter-writers. Today’s Impromptus, again, is here.


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