The Death of Ordinary Decency
This has been a mean-spirited campaign, and the meanest, most destructive people won.
So be it.
In the last two Democratic administrations we have seen a sleazier, angrier and more selfish part of America rising up more and more in our political class. The Founders told us that ultimately our elected politicians are a mirror of ourselves. Just like you, before November 7, 2012, I lived in the fervent hope that the degradation of the Clinton and Obama years might be an exception to the long trend of American history. But two times eight years of radical leftists in high office can't be an accident. We can't just blame our sleazy media, or just the leftist political class, as corrupt and malevolent as they truly are.
No -- the balance of decency in America has changed. Every society has normal, decent people and the other kind. The America we grew up in was fundamentally decent. Decency was the expected standard.
Now the balance has changed.
The evidence for our sleazified culture can be seen all around. It is in our pop music, which has lost melody and now just has rhythm. We have a President who won on revenge against middle class values. That's what he meant by telling his people to vote for revenge. And they did -- showing us exactly who they are.
We are now a society divided between the makers and the takers, and the takers are on a campaign of theft and revenge.
We have a President who takes dangerous pride in his hatred for "middleclassness" as Jeremiah Wright taught him to believe. We have a President who culminated his campaign with a ghetto singer rapping about hoes and bitches, about drug-ridden and broken families, as if all those cruelties were good.
This is not normal, decent America.
It is not.
We need to face that.
Morality and values are not small things. The new tide in the affairs of America also means that we can no longer be trusted to defend civilized values around the world, as we have done for the last hundred years.
It's a sea change. Fools around the world will applaud Obama as a savior, but wise people will see us crumbling. They know they will be the worse for it.
Today the world is far more dangerous place than four years ago. If you doubt that, keep an eye on the rise of barbarisms around the world. Obama constantly facilitates barbarism, and the barbarians understand that much better than decent people do.
History buffs will remember that we've had decades of sleaze before. The Founders were followed by Jacksonian corruption. Abraham Lincoln was followed by Reconstruction. Yet we somehow found our way back. Come-backs can happen, but probably not soon.
So this is an elegiac moment, a moment of mourning for what has passed. From Truman and Eisenhower to Bush 43 we have had leaders of character.
Republicans by and large still look, act, and speak like normal, decent people. But they have a hard time even understanding a thoroughly sleazified America. Normal, decent people do not know how to live in this new, barbaric society. We live in protected communities, we drive around in SUVs, like armored cars.
The left knows exactly how to act in this Brave New World. They've made it. We are now ruled by sleazy demagogues who take bribes from foreign nations that do not wish us well. Obama is the worst example so far. Even the Clintons, both selfish narcissists, were somewhat better.
With the decline of American decency, the civilized world has lost its foremost defender. America wasn't a world power in earlier times of corruption. We could afford to make mistakes. Today, our national decay endangers the world. The left has purposely attacked our self-respect, our pride in our morality and decency, and our crucial role in the defense of civilized values. We are no longer the Leader of the Free World, because we have lost -- for now -- the values that guided us. America can no longer be trusted, as we saw so clearly in Benghazi and the fraudulent Arab Spring. Any nation that places any trust in our promises today is run by fools. Our allies must arm up to protect themselves, or they must find new, trustworthy allies.
For sixty years Europe has lived off our willingness to come to its defense. The southern rim of Europe is now going bankrupt, and even France looks ready to crumble. Without our leadership Europe has to rely on itself, or on Russia, or on the spreading Muslim empires. But Europe has shown no capacity to defend itself. Maybe they will learn. Or maybe they will be swamped. We can no longer be trusted.
William Butler Yeats's most famous poem, "The Second Coming," was written out from overwhelming sense of social degradation in Europe in the 1920s and 30s. Years afterwards Yeats wrote that maybe he was anticipating the rise of Hitler and Stalin, the two greatest evils that rose from the rubble of World War I.
But Yeats wrote it for us, too:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?