The Corner

The People, the Sainted People

I have a longstanding theme: that, in a democracy, people get what they deserve (or at least a majority does). I did not invent this theme, of course. I’m just a nuisance about it.

The other day, I was writing about the Bork nomination. And it occurred to me that it failed because the American people caused it to. They did so by filling the Senate with men such as Biden, Leahy, and Kennedy. Two of those three are still getting elected. The third would, but he’s dead.

I used to torment my friend Eddie, and to a degree still do. In his mind, everything he liked was “American.” What he did not like, was not American. Therefore, football, free enterprise, and hunting were American. Jane Fonda, Oberlin College, and tofu were not.

I’d say, “Those things are at least as American as what you like!” The great Paul Johnson has identified Hollywood, Harvard, and the New York Times as the most harmful forces in American life. Maybe (though I’d cut Harvard some slack) — but they’re as American as apple pie. In fact, those things have probably had a better run than apple pie.

When I was in college, it occurred to me that leftists — “un-Americans” — did not shoot their way into power. Not in our country. Ron Dellums, Pete Kostmayer, John Kerry, Pat Schroeder, Chris Dodd, John Conyers . . . All the guys who wrote “Dear Comandante” letters. All the ones who trekked to Cuba to sit at Fidel’s feet. They did not storm Capitol Hill with guns and bombs. They were sent there, democratically, by the sainted American people.

Which brings me to today’s Impromptus. I praise Mitt Romney, and lash out at his “revisionists and revilers,” as I call them. Romney is a “failed” presidential nominee, I suppose. But, in my view, the electorate are what’s really failed. (You see that the chances I will ever be elected to office grow remoter. The Republic is safe.)

A defamed and magnificent man said, “You go to war with the army you have.” Similarly, you make do in your country with the people you have. (While working on improvements all the while.) 

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