Four years ago, I and most thinking Americans had a field day, roundly ridiculing a couple of risible strains of “liberal” whinging:
- Stars who claimed they’d “move to France” if George W. Bush won the election.
- Vacuous lefty blog-gerbils who yapped about the Blue States seceding from the union and joining to form “The United States of Canada”, and leaving the red-voting “Jesusland” states to themselves (I had particular fun with this, as well as pointing out the political and historical illiteracy of the idea; most of Canada west of Ontario is as red as Montana). I had extra-special fun with these morons.
- Acres of “He’s Not My President” bumper stickers.
These were many of the same people, by the way, who tearfully demanded that conservatives “stop questioning their patriotism”, by the way.
But I digress. The vacuous snivelling hamsters got their president finally.
It’s the other side I’m concerned about now.
We got a call on the show last Saturday from a guy who’s question echoed one I’d heard from not a few people on blogs, on Twitter, and around about in recent months – itself a reprise of something I heard a lot back in the seventies and, just a bit, in the early nineties.
“When should we stop talking and start the active resistance?”
I often ask these people – why?
“It’s never been worse than this!”
I’m starting to lose patience with some of them.
Whenever anyone says anything is “the worst ever”, they’re almost always wrong. They almost always really mean “the worst I’ve seen”.
Politics is not the dirtiest and nastiest it’s ever been (that’d be the Jackson/Adams contest in 1828, or any election where the Hearst papers uncorked their smear machine); this is not the worst unemployment since World War II (not even close, not yet)…
…and if you’re a freedom-loving American, the Obama administration is shaping up to be a bad one, perhaps a horrible one. But it’s by no means the worst we’ve seen on any count.
Spending? Roosevelt’s New Deal was worse. So far.
Gun control? While Obama’s record is bad, he hasn’t done anything yet; Democrats from FDR through Clinton all took their swipes at the Second Amendment, from Roosevelt’s prohibitory taxes on automatic weapons (which eliminated gang warfare!) to Clinton’s “1994 Crime Bill”, which did for many less-fashionable liberties what Bigfoot does to junked cars.
Civil Liberties? Three words; J. Edgar Hoover. FDR, Truman, Kennedy and LBJ got away with things that’d make any of the ofay gerbils that were protesting George W. Bush’s “Abuses” gag up their skulls. Nixon invoked executive orders that gathered unprecedented “emergency” powers unto the executive – which has had libertarians chattering amongst themselves for almost forty years. Obama bears watching; the Dems in Congress bear even more of it. But so far, the threats are minimal (while still intolerable).
Repackaging vacuity as “change” and “audacity?” OK, there Obama’s in a league of his own.
Overall demoralization of the parts of this country that matter? The seventies were worse. They had everything we have today and more – instability, out-of-control government, the Middle East going nuts, stagflation, Jimmy Carter – and a nation that was coming off of Vietnam, which, if you don’t remember it (and I only do through the prism of a 12 year old’s memory) was the most demoralizing thing to happen to this nation since the mid-thirties. I don’t know if anyone ever ran the numbers, but Carter’s “Malaise Speech” must have prompted more population-wide suicides than any other single event in American history (shaddap about Oberlin undergrads popping too many Valium after Kerry lost).
And even that wasn’t the worst it’s gotten. In my father’s lifetime – well within my grandparents’ early adult lives – there were those in the mainstream who seriously considered socialism, communism, even pre-war Naziism viable models with much from which we could learn, even much to emulate for our own good. There were those in positions of great power who actively sought to incorporate “the best” of these ideologies into our own.
The point being that, so far, the Obama Administration isn’t the worst thing our constitution, our economy and our society has faced – yet. And while the price of liberty is eternal vigilance, and the Founding Fathers well-recognized the possibility that Americans might need to throw off another tyranny someday, this isn’t it.
It’s a big government, and it’s getting bigger. It’s a not-ready-for-prime-time government, run by a lot of very canny people who buffaloed a lot of our nation’s not-too-bright with a lot of breezy platitudes, and which rode to office on an almost-but-not-quite-unprecedented wave of discontent with the status quo. It’s a government full of poltroons and ideological three-card-monte sharks. But it’s not a communist dictatorship.
It was elected, for better or worse. And we have three years and eight months to make the case that it should be thrown out of office and – this is the important part – nobody’s changing that.
If they do? Well, get back to me then; it’ll be then you should think about putting on the camo and grabbing Grampa’s Garand and heading into the north woods.
Until then? It’s still America.
As Douglas Adams said, “Don’t Panic”.