Sunday I was watching the “Justice League” with my daughter. The episode featured several members of the League being sent into a parallel universe where another group which existed as a comic book in the first world, the Justice Guild, served the same purpose as the League did in its world. Without going overboard about a cartoon adventure, it turned out the Justice Guild sacrificed itself for the survival of the Justice League, who eventually found their way home. At the end of the episode, one of the characters was mourning the loss of the Justice Guild, even though in fact it had never really existed at all, but lived only as the illusory construct of a projecting mentality. Somehow, that struck me as important.
OK, so I was watching a children’s story, one fictional entity musing about another even more illusory identity. But even so, it reminded me that abstracts matter, to all of us I think, and ultimately the distinction is how we pay attention.
Until about 1850, the Democrats were the guys worrying about abstract concepts for the most part; the Whigs were focused on more pragmatic concerns. But where Slavery and the balance between the power of State and the Federal governments were concerned, the Democrats were timid, even hypocritical. The “Missouri Compromise” was a masterpiece of delusion and negligence by design, and its fruit was bitter indeed. Far too few Americans have any idea that the Republican Party originally came about in response to a broad national demand for a party of reform. Even fewer understand the significance of Grover Cleveland, that best of Democrats who took up the cause of reform when the Republicans let it slip, but whose work was overshadowed by the even greater Democrat ignominy of Tammany Hall. When we look back to men like Lincoln and Cleveland, and again in Teddy Roosevelt, we see a broad, deep vision for America, one which has seldom been considered in History and Political Science classrooms, much less national committees. America, these men avowed, stood and stands for something greater than the moment and the single issue, created and supported by the very will of God, though these days such ownership is constantly challenged by special interest groups, usually poked along by lawyers and other infernal minions. And so we find ourselves wondering whither America? And what of our destiny?
To be sure, Republicans have their ogres and warts. Our leading candidates for President include men of dubious consistency and vacuous support for the causes we say we revere. Our leadership in both the House and Senate include men whose spines are made of something rather less than steel and far too much like butter. Yet the Democrats have abandoned the vision wholly in their leadership, and their spokespeople think nothing of slander and deceit. This why they want us to pay close attention to veterans like Murtha and Kerry, yet ignore the Joint Chiefs of Staff, or men like Marc Elias or Peter Damon. This is why they want us to accept stories about the war in Iraq from Dan Rather and Peter Arnett, but ignore first-hand accounts from Michael Yon or Bill Roggio. This is why they want us to consider Bill Clinton a legitimate military authority, even though he never spent a day in uniform, but scorn the service of George W. Bush, who served honorably in the Guard.
This is why when I brought up parallels between this worldwide conflict and the fight against the Nazis, they demanded that I not speak unless I first enlisted and went into a battle zone, even though they never once demanded this of even a single anti-war blogger. This is why they refuse, to this day, to defend their charges in substance and with civil discussion; their purpose is not to discuss or illuminate the issues, but to attack and defame. Ultimately, this is why they lose. While there are just about the same number of self-identified Republicans as Democrats, there is a large portion of reasonable people who listen to their gut, and while we all make mistakes, for the most part the people know who is good for the country, and who is not.
From my experience, people do not worry about a President’s enunciation so much as his character, they do not worry about the opinion of the French nearly so much as they do the effect of a matter on their state and town. They like cornball, when that cornball means the values that mattered to their parents and to their soul. They understand silly concepts like Justice and Democracy, and they don’t think it strange to believe that everyone should have a chance to vote freely and to choose their government. They don’t like being told their hometown is “flyover country”. They don’t like some New York or LA smart-suit making fun of their kids playing football or going to church every Sunday. They don’t like seeing celebrities wearing next to nothing and spouting obscenities telling them that their traditional beliefs are bad for their kids. They don’t like being told that their opinion doesn’t matter, next to some paid consultant or D.C. influence activist.
They don’t vote for traitors.
And they don’t forget the price paid by soldiers, whether those guys fought Hitler, the Koreans, in Vietnam, or took down Saddam and went after Al Qaeda. They don’t forget the Coasties, either, or the Guard, just because those guys do their jobs without all the publicity and big-budget tools.
Call us Cornball, but we are the real America.