It is the season of Passover, tax deadlines. Easter Sunday. We should acknowledge, as Americans, as Jews and Christians, how fortunate we are.
Here we are celebrating, by choice, remembrances of the deeds that made us free, deeds that required human courage and willpower though they would not have occurred but for the inscrutable plan of a creator beyond our comprehension but not our love.
So much of the daily news sounds petty and silly, by comparison. And if you wonder why we mention taxes while reflecting on the eternal, we’ve always acknowledged the conventional consensus that our American Revolution was, in its genesis, a tax revolt, incentive to so much political progress in the West, which is the only place, by the way, where there ever has been political progress, understand us, in the direction of freedom.
Now we are witnesses to an oddball situation in American government, wherein the conservative side, inclined toward the balancing act between liberty and order that guided our Founders, are fighting it out in the press and the corridors of power in Washington, D.C.
It is an oddball situation, because these same conservatives spent the better part of the eight years previous telling one another — and anyone else who might be inclined to listen now and then — we were on the road to perdition, having let the culture slip away from us under our very eyes, and got ourselves in the jam of a seriously wrong-headed federal government. When the voters agreed with them, they immediately came to blows. If that ain’t oddball, what is?
Relishing trivia like teenage girls, many commentators — when did “commentariat” take over as a word from “editorialist” or “columnist,” and when did this kind of journalism supersede reporting? — have invented a White House civil war with a Kushner-Cohn faction against a Bannon-Miller faction or what-all. Jed Kushner is the president’s son-in-law and a New York developer; Gary Cohn is a successful investment banker. Stephen Bannon is likewise a successful investor, formerly a distinguished Navy officer, a press entrepreneur and a documentary film maker. He is a man of parts, not unlike Harry Truman and Jim Webb, two of the finest Democrats in our recent political history and sorely missed. Stephen Miller is a young hotshot political whizz kid who worked for Sen. Jeff Sessions, now attorney general, an early pro-Trump voice in a Republican Party that was recalcitrant not to say hostile and is now one of the finest gentlemen in the Trump Cabinet, much maligned by the far left, on spurious grounds and to his credit.
We are, frankly, bemused. We do not know any of these gentlemen, whose patriotism has led them to work in government as advisers to President Trump, often at financial sacrifice to themselves. They give advice, the president listens, decides. The buck stops there.
We had nothing to do with last year’s campaign, apart from writing a few reports in this space on the divisions within the Republican Party during the campaign, as we felt that ordinary and healthy competition was getting kind of petulant and juvenile. Full disclosure: We wrote in Webb on the ballot. And once it was over, as can also be verified by checking the archives of this space, our advice was to get on with it.
So the current noise strikes us as hot air. We have a president with a clear and decisive mandate. A man who leads a party to victory not only at the top of the ticket but down ballot, as well. We cannot see what you call him except a man with a mandate.
The opposition party tries to block the execution of this mandate, as expected in a democracy. The administration should overcome the roadblocks and explain with serene thoughtfulness what it is doing and why; in some cases, it should simply say nothing and let the enemies of America, domestic and foreign, tremble at the thought of what may come next. To take an example very well explained by Mackubin Owens in a recent issue of American Greatness, it is restoring the doctrine of deterrence, which caused fear and loathing amongst foreign tyrants.
What does this have to do with a Bannon-Kushner war or a Cohn-Miller war? Why not a Hatfield-McCoy war? We can and should argue about everything, from how to protect the homeland to how best to insure good health and real education to all. It should not be rocket science. Speaking of which, we figured out how to get to the moon, so when is an American male going to win a Grand Slam tennis tournament?
American society is a whole. With all its contradictions and variety. Let us not walk in lockstep, but neither ought we waste our energy (also precious bodily fluids) on nyahnyahnyah stuff. Keep priorities in perspective. There are brave men out there, flying Hercules C-130s and carrying terror into the other camp, where it belongs. There are boys and girls, protected by these men’s patriotism and skill, learning to hit balls with bats and racquets. There are brilliant minds all across our land figuring out how to make money and take care of their families and, thereby, enrich us all.
Give them some thought, and thank them for holding on through persecution and contempt to the faiths that made us and for which we must keep this Great Republic the last, best hope on earth.