Being somewhat long in the tooth , I have lived through some national and international crises in my time. I faintly remember Suez and Budapest, to a certain extent Berlin, but distinctly and profoundly remember Mutual Assured Destruction and the Cuban Missile Crisis, where the survival of mankind as we know it was thought to be a little iffy for a while.
Not including such things as debilitating eras, or long-running conflicts, like Vietnam or Carter’s OPEC/Malaise, or the hostage stand-off, and not counting natural disasters, other events would include of course the Kennedy assasination and the Watergate drama. More recently would be the attacks of 9/11 and the shock, disbelief and uncertainty of the next days and months. There have been random, though permeating and unhelpful, events like financial and so-called ‘housing’ crises. And recessions, with fears of depression. Other political scandals not qualifying as crises would be things like The Keating Five, Enron, the various sex and swindling and influence-peddling scandals. The Gulf Oil spill approached a crisis, before petering out, but a lot of it was manufactured hype and cover for power grabbing by the Central Planners. Still unclear is whether the whole TARP thing was crisis or scandal or mass hallucination. The ’98 thing with Clinton, though involving impeachment procedures, and while messy and disgusting and embarassing and rather more of a distraction from the more sinister aspects of the Clinton family’s corrupt style, was viewed as perhaps just a mini-crisis. Except that it was a focal and turning point for me in viewing the American political scene. Because of that episode, what I consider to be the current crisis we are on the cusp of may have brought me and my generation round full circle to the chilling and anxiety-ridden thoughts of those October days of fifty years ago. This could be the end of America, if not necessarily civilization, as we know it, because patriotism, honor and decency and “asking what you can do” and ‘reporting the facts’ were left twisting in the wind….slowly and forlornly twisting in the wind with the Clinton fiasco, though Mr. Bush did his best to make it up. A lot of the ‘soul’ of America dried up when Bubba walked.
All of the other crises – political, military, economic, world affairs – while agonizing, gripping and full of uncertainty, maybe even including the ICBM kerfuffle, were mitigated by an opposing and equal, if not more than equal, certainty. And that certainty was that there were men and women, and forces and institutions and a society equal to the task of recognizing and combatting them. And not only equal to the task, but committed to the task; indeed not hesitant to cast personal considerations aside for the good of the nation. In these times, despite the sincerity and dedication and devotion of various groups, like patriot groups and the America-first organizations, a few conservative think-tanks and gatherings and the occasional output of individual politicians continually in the limelight and on the stump, that reserve of calm inner assuredness we used to rely on can’t so easily be found. The state of our polity, our socio-political culture, has been so rattled by left-wing attacks and usurpations, bouts of appeasement, and unthinking acceptance of The New Normal, as to not inspire confidence. And there is no Old Guard, no good-old-boy network of senior statesmen, officio or ex-officio, to help steer the stars back on a normal flight path.
The other factor, and the one that makes this current and coming crisis all the more daunting, is that it is multi-faceted. It is not just political, it is not just the fact that we are at war, it is not just that we are near depression-era-levels of anguish, and it is not just that there is a political scandal. It is that all of these things are coming together at once. There are multiple crises happening simultaneously and within each category there are multiples of those. There are multiple wars, there are multiple international intrigues, there are banking, housing, employment, market, energy and global trading crises. Within the sinking Obama administration, there is not just a third-rate partisan politics burglary and bungling scandal, there is a first-rate burglary of taxpayer funds in the Solyndra-type scandals, and political and law enforcement and civil rights scandals – the New Black Panthers, Fast and Furious, ACORN and labor union criminality and thuggery, and an ideological administration team seemingly bent on establishing some sort of Central Authority to override individual, corporate and states’ rights. Damn the crises! Full speed ahead!
And then there are the occupiers. The mindless, shiftless, mobs of mainly youthful miscreants and ne’er-do-wells summoned to the streets of several American cities to create an atmosphere of turmoil, and probably orchestrated by some of the very agit-prop specialists reprised from the 60’s and 70’s who see the current climate as “their time”. And probably at some point to be joined by the labor union thugistas, ala the Wisconsin Experience. And as we strain to hear the voice of the nation’s ‘leader’, the President, urging calm and imploring the mobs to return to their …..classrooms, vocations, homes ….. parents’ basements……..as we strain to hear the reassuring voice of a law-and-order attorney general vowing to maintain, in cooperation with mayors and governors and sheriffs across the land, civil order and peace and security….as we bend our ear and strain to hear just a little whisper of leadership and authority and reassurance, we hear nothing but…..crickets.
We do not see the maladies we describe above as abating anytime during the Republican campaign to unseat Barack Obama and install something resembling a competent administration in Washington. We sort of hopefully proclaim that the current administration is incompetent, because the only alternative to that description would be one of malicious intent, which some have attributed to it, and which would only further exacerbate our fears. We know it is riddled with corruption, the extent of which is being revealed by congressional investigation and a few isolated and rare journalistic investigations by the mainstream press, and the dogged determination of the patriot blogging corps, almost daily. In sum, though it may not be a perfect storm, it is really cloudy out there.
We have not given up on hope yet. There is still the chance for the Great White Hope, or the Great Black Hope, or the Great Brown Hope (Marco, fortify and steel yourself. You may yet be called.) or a Great Lady Hope to come riding in on a big white steed and scatter the forces arrayed against us. There is still the chance that our institutions, so conceived and so ordained and so established as to survive great crises by the sheer will and ultimate sovereignty of the people, may yet prevail and endure. But we see this time as the most dangerous for our Nation since 1860. We don’t know exactly what it’s going to take to preserve the Union, but we think some of the elements are dedication, a coming together on multiple fronts, be it by Tea Party-like movements or by assimilating many interests into the Republican Party, and above all, by some, maybe more than just some, finding the strength within themselves and finding their voices to name the crisis, to name the villains, to guarantee their defeat and to instill that old-time feeling of trust and assurance that has withered away over the years.
We are in crisis. While waiting for leadership to gather itself and emerge, we must substitute ourselves as the leaders. We must speak out, in our schools, our churches, our on-line gatherings, to our families and friends and neighbors. We must educate, educate and educate some more. We must become precinct committeemen and pamphlet passers. We must expose. We must call evil by it’s name. We must display the flag. We must extol traditional American values. Some ‘random acts of patriotism’ might be in order, like spontaneous recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance, or prayer, or, on the odd occasion, careful and proper display of what the right to keep and bear arms looks like. Some of these acts may take a bit of gumption. Some may not be well-received in certain quarters. But be assured of one thing: They are Constitutional.
No, this is not a call to arms in the ultimate sense. It is early days yet. But it is getting later all the time. New revelations about the faults and foibles and ill-advised conduct, and possible felonious intent, of those who presume to govern us are coming ‘fast and furious’, to play off the odorous drama currently occupying center stage. As those who seek to represent us and to protect us, and our property and our rights, as they awaken and become aware of how dire the straits are, they need to see signs of citizenship of the purest and most dedicated type about them, to sustain and guide them. They have to know we have their backs. They have to know that we believe in those eternal and lasting truths that formed and guided this country. Write to them; call them; send them e-mails; send them petitions. Pray for them. Incumbent, contender, neophyte or seasoned pol – send them all the same unifying message: We want our Constitution back. We want our Nation back.
You need to compile your writings for a book, Bob. (Lady P – Ed.)