The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
UPDATED -- Are we allowed to question the "Will of Landru"?
Maybe the day when we are required to be within the "Body of Landru" (or else...) is not as far off in the future as the producers of Star Trek surmised.
One wonders--given the tone of yesterday's Inaugural address and the "follow the pied piper" vibe which seems to be suddenly virulent in our culture--whether the collective energy of "hope" that President Obama will be successful has not engendered willful blindness in many ordinary Americans.
Sure I can understand it--we have been here before. Take the 1930's: Economy in the tank. Not a lot of hope on the horizon. Trouble spots in the world. And people looking for someone, anyone want to put their faith in. In Germany, Italy, Spain, and the Soviet Union men stepped forward to fill that "role".
So how did that work out?
Yet despite a long sordid history of what can (and inevitably does) happen when the masses put too much of their hope and faith into one figurehead, our irresponsible news media seems bound and determined to transform a two term State Senator with no executive experience into God Almighty himself. Hell the guy hasn't even raised a finger yet and yesterday Brokaw was comparing him to Vaclev Havel! Perhaps they should wait until he actually does something besides showing up for a speech.
Thus I spent much of the day yesterday in stark horror--not necessarily because of anything Obama said or did not say--but because of the sheer over-the-top hubris, exaltation and sickening glorification emanating from the televised media yesterday; their fawning went well beyond cheerleading to the point of idolatry. Allow me to be the first to coin a term for the psychological affliction which seems to be spreading amongst long-suffering BDS victims: let's call it ODS--Obama Deification Syndrome.
Meanwhile, (in just one day!) objectivity, criticism and dissent seem to have become so....passé:
Yesterday Obama in his speech almost seemed to be suggesting that there can only be one point of view, one theory of economics, one faith in the ability of government to solve problems. The time for disagreement must now yield to lock-step conformity. And then the media uttered its collective Hallelujah.
Do all Americans truly have a yearning to fundamentally "remake" our nation? There must be a subversive minority out there that still believes the United States — even with its imperfections and sporadic recessions — is, in context, still a wildly prosperous and free country worth preserving.
Some of you must still believe that politicians are meant to serve rather than be worshiped. And there must be someone out there who considers partisanship a healthy, organic reflection of our differences rather than something to be surrendered in the name of so- called unity — which is, after all, untenable, subjective and utterly counterproductive.
How about those who praised dissent for the past eight years?
Is there anyone who still believes the Constitution was created to ensure each citizen liberty and the ability to pursue happiness rather than a guarantee of happiness — and a retirement fund, health care, a job, an education, a house ... ?
Yes, two important historical events transpired Tuesday: The first was the peaceful transfer of power from one freely elected politician to another (an uninterrupted streak we often take for granted). Then there was the first presidency of an African-American, which proves we can transcend our unsightly past.
After that, what we had was just another election. We conduct one every four years. For those of you not shouting hosannas, it might have occurred to you that we are suffering from a rampant sickness in American life that casts government as the author of your dreams and an Illinois politician the linchpin of your hopes.
Haven't we been here before? Is there not anyone left who lived through the 30's and 40's?
If allowed to run unchecked; if people don't start to get a grip on reality soon, this is the kind of collective insanity that can quickly lead to tyranny. Of course I too want the country to move forward, but not with blinders on. And what I saw yesterday was truly Orwellian.
Welcome to the "Body of Landru"; Beam me up Scotty.
UPDATE: With that said, David Horowitz does manage to find a few rays of sunshine in all this idolatry (emphasis mine):
All over the country Americans have invested their hopes in Obama's ability to pull his country together to face its challenges. Among these Americans are millions -- most likely tens of millions -- who have never identified with their government before, who felt "outside" the system they regarded as run by elites, who ascribed its economic troubles to the greedy rich, who bought the Jackson-Sharpton canard that America was a racist society and they were locked out, who would have scorned the term "patriot" as a compromise with such evils, and who turned their backs on America's wars.
But today celebrating their new president are millions of Americans who never would have dreamed of celebrating their president before. Millions of Americans -- visible in all their racial and ethnic variety at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday -- have begun to feel a patriotic stirring because they see in this First Family a reflection of themselves.
The change is still symbolic and may not last. A lot depends on what President Obama will do, which is not a small question given how little is still known about this man and how little tested he remains. Some of this patriotism may be of the sunshine variety -- in for a day or a season, when the costs are not great. Or more cynically: in to show that their hatred for America is really just another form of political “dissent.” Yet whatever the nature of these changes they cannot for now be discounted. Consider: When President Obama commits this nation to war against the Islamic terrorists, as he already has in Afghanistan, he will take millions of previously alienated and disaffected Americans with him, and they will support our troops in a way that most of his party has refused to support them until now. When another liberal, Bill Clinton went to war from the air, there was no anti-war movement in the streets or in his party’s ranks to oppose him. That is an encouraging fact for us in the dangerous world we confront.
If it seems unfair that Barack Obama should be the source of a new patriotism -- albeit of untested mettle -- life is unfair. If the Obama future is uncertain and fraught with unseen perils, conservatives can deal with those perils as they come. What matters today is that many Americans have begun to join their country's cause, and conservatives should celebrate that fact and encourage it. What matters now is that the American dream with its enormous power to inspire at home and abroad is back in business. What it means is that the race card has been played out and America can once again see itself -- and be seen -- for what it is: a land of incomparable opportunity, incomparable tolerance, and justice for all. Conservative values -- individual responsibility, equal opportunity, racial and ethnic pluralism, and family -- are now symbolically embedded in the American White House. As a result, a great dimension of American power has been restored. Will these values be supported, strengthened, put into practice? It is up to us to see that they are.
Points taken--many who have long felt left out of the process may indeed be more encouraged to get involved, and might even in some cases end up supporting certain policies that Obama's predecessor authored and/or supported. Some of those policies may correspond to our belief in strength through power, free markets and trade, etc. But this will not happen if the current media madness continues unchecked.
Even if we accept as a given that many more Americans will take interest in Government (not necessarily a bad thing), more than involvement for involvement's sake, they need objectivity and real debate about what our core values really are: on how our country should face down the threats that endanger us abroad; about whether free markets...or government creates/destroys our standard of living; about whether government is justified in confiscating private property from the productive for the sake of the non-productive; about whether borders and American citizenship--and all the responsibilities citizenship entail--are worth protecting or not; about whether We the People are responsible to the Government or if the Government is responsible to US; about why our Constitution is WORTH preserving and protecting.
THESE are the questions for which the masses' collective ignorance--combined with the media-fanned flames of pop-culture fads (Political Correctness, "Green Correctness", and now the new speak-no-evil "Obama Correctness"...)--have led to our current plight.
Unfortunately our current media culture in no way encourages legitimate discussion on these extremely powerful and important questions; the fact of the matter is that our media "news" entities have become mere propagandistic Party organs rather than legitimate policy discussion forums. This is not what the Founders had in mind with a free press; and this must change if we are to survive as the United States of America they envisioned, and which we know to be possible. If voices of dissent can no longer be heard then our First Amendment is not worth the paper it is written on. And at that point we've lost.
From my perspective, yesterday horrific coverage of the Inauguration was not an encouraging step in the right direction.