The Morphing of America
There’s no getting around the fact that America is not what she used to be. Depending on your worldview, which has more than a little to do with your age, that is either a good thing or the worst thing imaginable. Being a 76-year-old conservative, it should be no surprise that I believe it is the latter.
I don’t believe it is a coincidence that three of the most repulsive candidates in our nation’s history are presently duking it out, hoping to be the next president of the United States. What makes it truly mind-boggling is that I believe the person who is the rudest and crudest of the three is the last best hope America has of recouping some of the enormous losses here and abroad the nation has experienced under Barack Obama.
The reason I hate having to support Donald Trump is because I have no idea what his core beliefs are, or even if he has any. Ironically, it is those very doubts that make him preferable to Hillary Clinton. Whereas I know that Trump has taken more different positions on the issues than even the Kama Sutra would have thought possible, Hillary Clinton has been on the wrong side of every issue for the past quarter century.
Speaking of Mrs. Clinton, it appears that the Justice Department has decided not to seek the death penalty in the trial of Ahmed Abu Khattala, who apparently spearheaded the terrorist attack in Benghazi that left four Americans dead. The theory is that the administration feared that too many embarrassing facts would have come out in the course of a capital trial, thus harming Obama’s legacy and Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy.
Although the focus of attention has been on the possible rupture in the GOP because Trump not only triumphed over Ted Cruz, but over Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney and John McCain, things could get even bloodier over on the other side. The narrative making the rounds is that if the FBI investigation either leads to an indictment of Mrs. Clinton or forces Obama to deny justice by scotching the indictment, her shot at the nomination would be terminated, and Joe Biden would be slipped in as her replacement.
That might sound good to Obama and those 600 political hacks (aka super delegates) who presently support Clinton, but anyone who believes that Bernie Sanders and his millions of young, idiotic, supporters, would simply fall into line is so silly, it verges on the surrealistic.
For one thing, young people don’t really enjoy voting or doing anything else that gets in the way of their tweeting and texting. Sanders only managed to capture their attention and support by promising to provide every last item on their Christmas wish list. The idea that they, who despised Hillary for opposing Uncle Bernie, would suddenly change their allegiance to Hillary’s stand-in is so ludicrous that only a dunce like Debbie Wasserman-Schultz would ever suggest it and only a dummy like Juan Williams would ever believe it.
Sometimes, I look at Bill and Hillary Clinton and find myself wondering what their lives are like when they’re not on stage campaigning for one another. In my latest scenario, I saw them waking up in the morning. He leaned over and said to her “You know I never cheated on you, hon,” and Hillary replied, “I know that, sweetie.” And then his current squeeze, a zoftig blonde neighbor who, according to super reporter Ron Kessler, also resides in Chappaqua, NY, wakes up in between the two of them and tells Hillary: “You know you can count on my vote.”
I marvel at the fact that some people can actually earn a living writing books about economics and others can earn theirs either writing about the conflict between Israel and her Arab neighbors or working for the State Department and trying through diplomacy to bring the two sides together.
The reason I marvel at economists is that it seems to be as much a science as astrology or reading tea leaves, but less amusing. I mean, for decades, one group has argued for a free economy while the other side has waged battle on behalf of government control. On one side, capitalism; on the other, socialism.
Once you listen to them natter on, you begin to understand that the fight is equally important to both sides. Without a dispute that provides a livelihood for both, normal people would quickly realize that one side is obviously right and the other side is certifiably cuckoo.
Those who argue from the Left will insist that socialism is the better option because it provides a safety net for everyone, the smart and the not so smart, those who are ambitious and those who aren’t. One for all and all for one. Not only equal opportunity, but equal results. An end to greed. A little bit of Heaven right here on earth, as we all join hands and sing “Kumbaya.”
The problem is that like all pipedreams, it ignores the reality of human nature. Why should those who work the hardest or think the most creatively have to share equally with those who don’t work or think at all? We might want to share with those we have reason to love, but who wants to work on behalf of people they don’t even know? And if they knew them, chances are they wouldn’t like them. Isn’t that what most people think of as slavery?
Now in my case, I have rather simple tastes. I wouldn’t care to live in a mansion or own a private jet or have several homes scattered around the world. But that’s me. If someone else, say Donald Trump, wants all that stuff, what business is it of mine so long as he’s not a criminal and he only uses his own money?
So the basic problem with socialism isn’t that it inevitably morphs into totalitarian communism, which it does, but that it ignores human nature by denying the competitive spirit of people, and is therefore based in fantasy. Which, if you think about it, is why it inevitably morphs into totalitarianism. Because it is unnatural at its core, it requires force to make people comply.
When it comes to Israel, every American president going back as far as Harry Truman has felt obliged to deal with the conflict in the Middle East. In the early days, it was rather easy for people like Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Nixon, to be rather open about their preference for the Israelis. After all, on one side there was Israel, a tiny speck on the map that happened to be our ally and a democracy in a part of the world where dictatorships were the norm. On the opposing side were an uneducated rabble loyal only to their tribal religion.
But over the decades, the anti-Semitic drumbeat in the press and academia, and eventually on social media, eventually won the day. Suddenly, presidents like Clinton, Bush and Obama, felt that, at most, they had to appear neutral as they went about trying to negotiate a peace settlement between the side that actually wanted peace and the side that wanted the other side annihilated.
In the West, polite society generally restrains people from announcing themselves Jew-haters. Instead, they pretend they see a moral equivalence between terrorist acts targeting women and children and a defensive response to such attacks that they invariably deem disproportionate.
It can’t be easy for most westerners to admit they prefer the side of the Arabs and Muslims, considering it puts the lie to their alleged support of equal rights for women and gays, free speech, religious tolerance and democracy, all of which are opposed and suppressed by Israel’s existential enemies.
Finally, I once again received an email headlined Heaven and Hell. It’s been floating around the Internet for years, but it seemed particularly timely.
It tells the tale of a senator who dies and goes to Heaven. When he appears at the Pearly Gates, Saint Peter tells him that with public officials, the routine is to send them down to spend a day in Hell, then a day in Heaven, and let them decide where they’d prefer to spend eternity.
Although the senator is sure he’ll prefer Heaven, Peter escorts him to the elevator and sends him down.
The senator’s worst fears vanish when the elevator doors open. Not only is everyone happy, but he discovers all of his old associates are there to greet him. He spends the day golfing, and enjoys a dinner that consists of lobster, sirloin and champagne. He even meets Satan, who turns out to be, well, a hell of a guy.
The senator hates to leave, but it’s finally time to return to Heaven. He spends a pleasant, but boring, 24 hours with a group of contented souls. When St. Peter comes around, the senator says that Heaven has been delightful or as delightful as a place can be without golf, lobster and champagne, but he’s opting for Hell.
St. Peter escorts him back to the elevator and bids him adieu. This time, however, when the doors open, the vista is one of desolation. Everyone in sight is dressed in rags and weeping in agony. The senator spots Satan and rushes to his side, demanding an explanation.
“I don’t understand,” the senator says, “Yesterday, this was paradise. Today, it’s a wasteland full of garbage and swill and everyone is in torment. What happened?”
“Yesterday, we were campaigning,” the devil explained. “Today, you voted.”