reflections of a pragmatic optimist, lover of freedom

Month: February 2008 (Page 1 of 3)

Obama: is America ready for this dangerous left winger?

Gerard Baker at the UK Times Online:

In what might be the most revealing statement made by any political figure so far in this campaign season, Mrs Obama caused a stir this week. She said that the success of her husband Barack’s campaign had marked the first time in her adult life that she had felt pride in her country.

It was instructive for two reasons. First, it reinforced the growing sense of unease that even some Obama supporters have felt about the increasingly messianic nature of the candidate’s campaign. There’s always been a Second Coming quality about Mr Obama’s rhetoric. The claim that his electoral successes in places like Nebraska and Wisconsin might transcend all that America has achieved in its history can only add to that worry.

Secondly, and more importantly, I suspect it reveals much about what the Obama family really thinks about the kind of nation that America is. Mrs Obama is surely not alone in thinking not very much about what America has been or done in the past quarter century or more. In fact, it is a trope of the left wing of the Democratic party that America has been a pretty wretched sort of place.

There is a caste of left-wing Americans who wish essentially and in all honesty that their country was much more like France. They wish it had much higher levels of taxation and government intervention, that it had much higher levels of welfare, that it did not have such a “militaristic” approach to foreign policy. Above all, that its national goals were dictated, not by the dreadful halfwits who inhabit godforsaken places like Kansas and Mississippi, but by the counsels of the United Nations.

Sounds like pretty scary stuff to me — yet seemingly equally apt as a description of the views of and aspirations for the U.S. that Hillary Clinton has expressed. Whether it’s Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Obama, it appears that the Democratic party will be putting forth a socialist candidate for the office of President of the United States this time around.

I try to reassure myself that freedom-loving Americans of once hardy, pioneering stock would never actually elect a candidate of this sort, who runs on a platform of seeming shame about who we are, and a vision-less vision of making us more humble and obedient like everybody else. But the mere possibility is certainly enough to give me a chill…

Hollywood’s Most Certainly Not America

Ferras’ “Hollywood’s Not America” isn’t, as its title led me to expect, a song about Hollywood’s monolithically leftish political culture. But the mere suggestion of that in the phrase certainly rings true and timely as the Oscars approach.

It’s funny: I grew up in Los Angeles as a big fan of the movies. Many of them became (I now recount with no small measure of embarrassment) lenses through which I came to view my own hopes and dreams, cultivate my aspirations, and imagine my possible futures. I would never then have remotely imagined caring as little as I do now what Hollywood’s legions of self-important, self-appointed social commentators think of our country, our culture, our way of life. They’ve gone off the deep end for sure, and the disconnect between the ideological bubble they inhabit and the rest of America has never been more apparent.

In a silly sentimental way, it’s too bad my idealization of Hollywood had to meet with disillusionment. But I’m glad to have realized I have far better things to aspire to than Hollywood could ever cook up, and much better uses for my time than passively taking in the imaginings of others. These days I feel much more inclined to spend my time doing, creating, learning. And that can hardly be a bad thing.

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