When I wrote last week that I was encouraged by recent events in the Northeast -- particularly the potential purpling of some of the truest, bluest states -- some readers accused me of promoting gradualism, in that I opined that RINOs are an infinitely better governing alternative than leftist liberals. They inferred that I believe that straight conservatism is not sellable in the New York/New England region; often citing the fact that Ronald Reagan won all of these states in 1984.
While all of this is true, might I suggest that quite a lot of water has flowed under the proverbial bridge since the Gipper graced the White House. In some ways, the political climate seems to approximate that which ushered in the days of Reagan; high unemployment, financial uncertainty, unease in the area of foreign policy and particularly a loss of pride in the American Way, due to poor leadership in Washington. But there is a dramatic difference.
I don't know about the rest of the country, but things sure have changed here in the Northeast since the 1980s. For one thing, in those days, the brainwashing of American schoolchildren was scarcely underway, only a few decades old. Today, it is not only the kids, but the parents as well that are the products of liberal indoctrination. Hence, issues that should be, at best, open to intelligent discussion, are treated as done deals; like the absolute acceptance of "a wall between church and state" and the "settled science" of anthropogenic global warming. Indeed, the idea that man himself is but a necessary nuisance on the planet seems to be gaining in popularity. Even in some religious circles, you can't shake the notion that love for the Earth and its four-legged creatures seems to outpace that for the Creator and those made in his image.
Political correctness, once the butt of comedians' jokes, now rules the day in nearly all aspects of life. Its effect on education is only part of the damage. So permeated is our culture with an emphasis on feelings rather than fact, that now we even have laws safeguarding the tender sensibilities of self-identified victim groups. In the years since Reagan left us, incompetence in the workplace is protected by claims of gender, race and age discrimination, while single parenthood and homosexuality have gone from moral maladies to federally funded and legally protected lifestyles to be taught to our children as worthy of imitation.
Yes, the nation surely has changed, and not for the better. In 1985, many young people still understood the everyday heroism that was the American citizen/soldier, given their proximity to those of the Greatest Generation. Today, too many barely understand the dynamics of World War II and worse, think that our use of the atomic bomb on Japan was an act of cruel racism. Do most modern Americans understand what motivated our founding fathers? Have they any notion of what is meant by objective truth? The Natural Law? The depredation inflicted on our national psyche by leftists has been devastating as well as wholly effective toward their ends.
The point is, not only have these things been done, they have been done rather easily. Modern American culture grows every day more and more devoid of the knowledge and practice of virtue. The predictions of our founding fathers like James Madison have nearly come to fruition: "Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks -- no form of government can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea."
Yet thankfully, in much of the country, there still remains the longing for these things and a real desire to reclaim our former way of life, and I pray that November will go a long way toward that lofty goal. But those who think it can happen overnight in every part of the nation are overreaching. Reagan himself wrote this on compromise in his autobiography, "If you got seventy-five or eighty percent of what you were asking for, I say, you take it and fight for the rest later, and that's what I told these radical conservatives who never got used to it."
Will the day of the Dutchman ever return to our country? Let's hope that Reagan's words to surviving D-Day veterans at Point du Hoc on Normandy Beach on June 6, 1984, will once again inspire the citizens of America:
You all knew that some things are worth dying for. One's country is worth dying for, and democracy is worth dying for, because it's the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man. All of you loved liberty. All of you were willing to fight tyranny, and you knew the people of your countries were behind you.
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