Mosque is pledge of allegiance issue of 2010: bad judgment on values, economy.
It was the picture worth a thousand words.
The emblematic political ancestor of the connection between the Ground Zero Mosque and the economy that is now wreaking havoc in the 2010 campaign.
In the middle of the 1972 presidential campaign that featured President Richard Nixon versus the Democrats’ Senator George McGovern, all of a sudden Americans were talking about something else.
Actress Jane Fonda, already well on her way to transforming her image from glamorous movie star to left-wing radical activist, was visiting Hanoi that July, only days after the very liberal, anti-war McGovern claimed the Democratic presidential nomination. That would be Hanoi, North Vietnam. The enemy capital. In wartime. When hundreds of thousands of American kids were fighting for their lives in the larger cause of freedom.
Befitting an actress, she had her picture taken. Sitting at a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft battery. Smiling, wearing a military helmet, Fonda happily posed as her Communist hosts grinned and laughed along with her at the image of the famous American leftist film star clapping with joy as if she were poised to shoot down their enemy — American pilots. Later, Fonda took to Radio Hanoi to broadcast her views to the world. She accused the President of the United States of being a “war criminal” and insisted that returning American POW’s who said the North Vietnamese had tortured them were “hypocrites and liars.”
In a flash, Fonda won the nickname “Hanoi Jane.” It was not meant with affection.
Her anti-war virulence poured forth as the summer progressed. She showed up in Miami Beach to protest at the Republican National Convention, sharing the platform with Black Panther activist Bobby Seale. A documentary film called F.T.A. was released, with Fonda and actor Donald Sutherland starring in real-life as the center of what the New York Times called a “political vaudeville troupe.” The film featured Fonda’s tour of the war zone (over official opposition) as a sort of anti-Bob Hope USO guerrilla theater. In a glowing review, the Times rhapsodized that the “pageant” that was “anti-American guerrilla theater…momentarily turns revolutionary passion into a romantic gesture of extraordinary beauty.” It also was charmed by “the deep happiness in [the] eyes of Ms. Fonda.”
Fonda’s trip to Hanoi was her own, as was the film. They had nothing to do with the McGovern campaign. Yet it was so broadly cast as such a prominent part of the “anti-war” movement of which McGovern was in fact a decided leader that Fonda’s actions became emblematic of all things “anti-war” and “liberal” or “left-wing” — McGovern’s campaign included.
Her antics were a cultural explosion in the middle of the American campaign season.
At a stroke the photograph personified what was at the time a startlingly new thought: that the American left had so separated itself from the reality that was mainstream America it was essentially in the process of politically self-destructing in an orgy of spectacularly bad judgment. The party of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy had been captured by activist far-left elitists who saw nothing in the least wrong in cavorting with an enemy who was literally sending American sons and daughters home in body bags. And laughing about it in front of cameras in the bargain. The sheer contempt for average Americans expressed in the Fonda photo could not have been more plainly expressed.
That fall, Richard Nixon —- who had lost the presidency to JFK in 1960 by 100,000 votes and defeated Hubert Humphrey in 1968 with a bare 43% of the vote — carried 49 states.
The unraveling of the American left had begun.
Campaigning in 1976 as a hard line Annapolis graduate, an ex-Navy officer and successful businessman, post-Watergate Jimmy Carter barely salvaged victory over the lackluster Nixon-appointed vice president-turned-president Gerald Ford. Within six months of his inauguration, Carter was lecturing Americans from the podium of a Notre Dame commencement that they had an “inordinate fear” of Communism. By 1979 blindfolded American hostages in Iran became the next emblem to succeed the image of “Hanoi Jane” — hopelessly portraying Carter as weak, indecisive and naïve. The Reagan presidency followed.
In 1988 the emblem of left-wing elitism became the Pledge of Allegiance.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?