There is very little left in this country’s current events that is surprising.
The news is a waterfall of effects the causes of which are well-known — from countries departing from the U.S. dollar as their medium of exchange, to get-woke-go-broke tales of public rejection of cultural aggression, to presidential gaffes and missteps, to rampant crime, and on and on.
America’s patriots are pulling in their flags and withdrawing.
Cultural decline is no secret. It begets political and economic decline. We see all three everywhere, and then we see the effects. Video of morons looting stores and fighting in public, headlines of brutal murders, public corruption, homeless bums filling the streets.
It’s beating us down. For many or most of us, what’s on our TV and computer screens doesn’t completely comport with our reality; most of us still live relatively safe and prosperous lives.
On the other hand, we know that the decline the internet and the news media hammer away at us with isn’t made up. It exists. It exists at the school you send your kids to, on the streets you drive, in the stories your friends and neighbors tell.
And we hate it.
CNN, of all places, just released a survey that shows something true — the people who love America the most are beginning to hate it:
It’s one of the most commonly asked poll questions: How do Americans feel about the state of the nation? And recently, the answer has usually been a negative one.
But figuring out why people are unhappy is complicated. CNN’s latest polling asked Americans whether things in the country were going well or badly — and then, to explain in their own words, why they felt that way.
Among the 69% who said things were going either pretty or very badly, dim views of the nation’s economic conditions were a top driver. The smaller share who were more positive often cited their own, rosier takes on the economy.
Other factors that influenced Americans’ outlooks, whether positive or negative, included their views of the current occupant of the White House, opinions on social issues, conclusions drawn from their daily lives or a combination of disparate concerns. Their explanations help shed light on what respondents really mean when they answer the broad, state-of-the-nation questions frequently included on surveys.
Naturally, because it’s CNN, they’ve buried the lede. On the economy:
A 58% majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents cited the economy as a reason for their discontent, with a smaller 42% of Democrats and Democratic leaners saying the same.
Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents younger than 45 were 11 points likelier than their older counterparts to cite an economic reason. Among Republicans, there was no difference by age in the share citing the economy.
And on broader factors:
Views about the broader state of the US were also deeply polarized in CNN’s latest poll, with a near-unanimous 91% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents saying things in the US were going badly, a view shared by 48% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents.
CNN’s pollster collected a bunch of individualized responses. Here were some of the “positive” ones:
“The economy is doing well. I’m unhappy with women losing bodily autonomy, and the creeping fascism from the right, but I believe Biden is doing an excellent job with the economy, the environment, and international relations.” — Democratic woman, 65, from North Dakota
“We have moved out of the dishonest and corrupt shadows of the Trump and ‘conservative’ fascist dominated term of misgovernance.” — Democratic man, 44, from Nebraska
“Democrats are in office. Republicans will NEVER do anything to help the working class and poor.” — Democratic man, 60, from Indiana
“We’re more divided than we’ve ever been. The GOP is trying to destroy diversity, take away women’s and LGBTQ rights. It’s a disaster here.” — Democratic woman, 37, from Connecticut
It isn’t a slur against Democrats to note they’ve always been the least patriotic of the partisan affiliations (D, R, or I). Ask a typical Democrat what they love about America, and what you’ll get is a recitation of things Democrats did that changed the country as founded — Social Security, Medicare, the Great Society, gay rights, and so on. Everybody knows this.
What is dangerous is that with the Left on the march in America, everybody else gets more and more down on the country.
The malaise grows. The faith trembles. Optimism wanes.
America’s patriots are pulling in their flags and withdrawing to local and hyperlocal concerns.
You can see it in the military’s catastrophic recruitment numbers. You can see it in low voter turnout when Democrat machines aren’t operating. You can see it in declining numbers of membership organizations, particularly traditional ones, which might or might not be slowly going woke.
Social engagement is down. COVID explained some of that decline, but the bounce back has been slower than expected. Especially on the center right.
There are efforts at restoration. The Asbury University religious revival was an inspiring phenomenon that spread to other campuses. Organizations like Turning Point USA are fountains of activity in attempting to inspire people to get involved politically and socially. Angel Studios, the Christian film production company behind The Chosen and other properties, is experiencing runaway success.
If you look for wins, you can still find them.
But the news media isn’t selling them to you. It wants you demoralized. And it has too much weaponry available for that project.
What’s worse is that the people who care most about America, the people who revere the founding and the Constitution, who believe this is a nation founded on divine providence and see it as exceptional, are at a tipping point.
If you’re a regular consumer of The Spectacle, the podcast Melissa Mackenzie and I release each week, you’ll see it. Melissa is one of the most committed patriots in American media and has been since there was a blogosphere. She dates back to the early days of Andrew Breitbart’s rise. She has the stories and the scars.
And Melissa and I have gone around and around over the last several weeks on whether America has a future. I’m the optimist who believes a revival is possible. Melissa thinks it’s over.
She isn’t alone. The Right is full of people who don’t think our elections matter, that between ballot harvesting and manipulation and billionaires with fat, greasy thumbs on the scales, it’s over. And when those elections produce Katie Hobbs, John Fetterman, Joe Biden, and a reelected Gretchen Whitmer, the Eeyores have got a good argument.
You’d think a depressed Right would be balanced by a triumphant Left. But as those responses in the CNN poll show, that’s not what we have at all. If anything, the Left is more depressed, more angry, more unhinged than it was even when Donald Trump was president. That isn’t a surprise, of course: The Left has built “social justice” into a false religion, a faith missing all of the redeeming values of belief and containing nothing but cancellations, admonitions, and collective demoralization.
That’s how you get people telling strangers that it’s either trans rights or “fascism.” Nobody even bothers trying to equate that with building, creating, giving life. At least Barack Obama told sweet lies about “hope” and “change.” Even those empty platitudes are gone, and the political Left has to justify its existence by what it opposes: “racism,” “bigotry” — which includes lots of things better defined as “standards” — and “fascism.”
“Fascism” is never defined. Neither is “our democracy,” as you’ve probably noticed. These are mostly meaningless words, but not entirely. They’re defined by their opposites. What they call “fascism” is an attempt to break the power of unelected usurpers in government and corporate America to rig our system against individual agency and spirited competition — in business, politics, art, the realm of ideas. And “our democracy” isn’t democracy at all, but demagoguery, corruption, and censorship.
As Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says, “[D]eplatforming works.” She doesn’t even bother to recognize the dystopian nonsense of such a statement.
But that’s Woke America. No wonder Americans hate it as much as we do.
There is no joy in wokeism. It’s a hellish, bleak philosophy. It’s making us all miserable. Either it’s a short-lived fad whose death will bring in the revival, or it’s a dagger through our heart.
We’ve been through worse as a country. Thomas Paine lived in a far worse time, and he offered words worth remembering:
These are the times that try men’s souls; the summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.
Paine and the men and women he spoke for defeated the tyranny of a British king, but the cost was staggering. The nation they built from that struggle was a singular achievement in world history. Few of them prospered during or after the American Revolution. The products of their sacrifices are what modern patriotism is based on.
And that’s being swept away.
It’s no surprise that nobody is happy with America. It won’t be a surprise to see it get worse. The only surprise would be CNN and other purveyors of the Left’s narratives acknowledging the effects of their advocacy.
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