Posted by: cousindampier | 31 August 2010

Be Optimistic About America’s Honor

Lexington – Glenn Beck on the Mall

I don’t understand the notion of restoring America’s Honour, though I haven’t had the opportunity to speak to somebody who believes in it. I am awfully pessimistic about the political system, because I see too much concern for ME and NOW, and a hard-headed unwillingness to take a larger picture look, but as for America’s role and place in the world, I’m pretty optimistic about it. The open-society and free-market model which American largely pioneered is the model taking hold in the rest of the world. There is a solid list of issues which accompany that, but that calls for American leadership in facing the difficult and holding ourselves and our country to a higher standard because we are America, and not a simple nativeism that claims America has to be better because it always was. The way to be better is to do it.

What Lexington says:

The political puzzle that Barack Obama and the Democrats need to figure out is just why such a large chunk of America’s white middle class appears to feel that American honour and values are in jeopardy, and why they appear to blame this president for this perceived danger. It is obviously good politics for the Becks of this world to imply that they alone honour the country, its constitution and its armed forces, and that the other side doesn’t. But what possible evidence do they have for this claim? Why is it so widely believed?

A friend responded on this topic, “They want the past that they cannot restore, no matter what, that is a deep longing and one that can be channelled by those willing and charismatic enough to manipulate it.” Much of American involvement in the rest of the world before 9/11 can be explained through the grand topic of the post-Cold War evolution. To some extent, I wonder if the societal angst existing today can be explained through that same narrative, specifically by Reagan. The last five years of the 70’s saw the end of Vietnam, Watergate, and the Iran Hostage Crisis. Into the 80’s, America sees a deep recession, but then is brought back to victory by Reagan – the Soviets collapse, we win the Gulf War, and emerge victorious in the 90’s, unchallenged. The threat to American existence which the current middle class grew up with dissapeared, and life was supposed to be easy, and it wasn’t. The problems today are both problems existing now, and problems which are mentally associated with the tag, “what happened to the good times?”

Perhaps it is that turnaround from the hard times into the good – the Reagan moment.

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