Those Were the Days

November 15th, 2012

By Dan Miller

Will anything of them remain? That’s up to us.

On November 8th, the day after the election returns were known, The Mad Jewess posted this 1968 YouTube video. She wrote, “It is the song of the once great America, a nation that is now gone with the wind.” I felt much the same way and at times still feel that such is our future; but it will not necessarily happen that way unless we allow it to.

Those were indeed “the days” and try as I might I haven’t been able to get the song out of my head.  Toward the end of the video, Ms. Hopkins sings “the dreams are still the same.” Some still are, but forty-four years have passed. Those singing along are now fewer and many have different dreams. The dreams of some are the nightmares of others. Some aspects of those days are pleasant to look back on and some are not. Some aspects of today will also be pleasant to look back on and some will not. Citizen apathy, demands for ever more free stuff and for the associated dependence on an allegedly benign Government would not be pleasant memories. Nor would the results of efforts to push the Republican Party ever more to the left until it becomes fungible with the Democrat Party. Reversing those trends, if we can do it, will be among the efforts that we will be able to remember with happiness; even with pride.

It’s tempting to give up, lie down and take a long nap; but then the dreams would come and they seem likely not to be pleasant. Almost ten days have passed since November 6th and now is the time to stop mourning and start working for better outcomes in 2014 and 2016. Waiting until early 2014 would bring another disaster.

Although the Republican Party is broken, perhaps beyond repair, it’s up to conservatives to do what we can to ensure that the days to come are better, not worse. I offered analyses and reflections on the recent electoral results, a “man made disaster,”  here and here and suggestions on what we might be able to do here.

The demographics have changed and there is little if anything we can do to change them back. The “ethical” media remain the same and are very likely to continue to favor and support the Obama Administration no matter what happens. We could, perhaps, take advantage of changed demographics by becoming more like Democrats; but what’s the good in that? It could put more Republicans in office, but as they morph into Democrats that would not help. We could let the Democrats have their way in hopes that the results might cause their policies and actions to fail abysmally and for them to fall from popular favor. However, as long as the “free stuff” campaign continues and as long as the nation continues to descend deeper into debt — both are quite likely to continue to happen in any event — few of those who demand more and more free stuff will be concerned that less and less of it might be good for the nation or that there will be no money some day for the nation to continue supporting them.

Andrew Sullivan wrote today at The Daily Beast to comment on Governor Romney’s remarks about the free stuff people. He characterized those remarks as condescending and racist. Then he wrote,

The condescension and unconscious racism in all this prompted one Republican to protest. A member of both demographics, young and minority, Bobby Jindal:

No, I think that’s absolutely wrong. Two points on that: One, we have got to stop dividing the American voters. We need to go after 100 percent of the votes, not 53 percent. We need to go after every single vote. And, secondly, we need to continue to show how our policies help every voter out there achieve the American Dream, which is to be in the middle class, which is to be able to give their children an opportunity to be able to get a great education. … So, I absolutely reject that notion, that description. I think that’s absolutely wrong.

I think Governor Romney had it pretty much right and that Governor Jindal had it pretty much wrong. Governor Romney’s remarks doubtless offended some and that may well have been politically unwise. However, the nation is greatly divided and pretending otherwise won’t help. Can we go after “100% of the vote?” Only by appearing to be all things to all people, and I hope we neither do nor want to do that.

Whoever was right and whoever was wrong, the uninformed voters had their way and many of them want to continue to be uninformed; ignorance may seem like bliss and the “ethical” media are delighted to help them stay that way. If they ever think about such things, they probably conclude that becoming well informed requires time and effort more pleasantly spent in ways that perpetuate ignorance; that’s just fine with the media and other powers-that-be as well.

This is not a happy post and I offer no apologies for that. Nor is it intended to increase our sadness at the expense of resolve and action. I made some suggestions here and won’t repeat them; they are still there. Republicans were beat in many ways, but lack of effective local get-out-the-vote and local education efforts were probably the worst failures of all. It’s necessary to get our conservative (not necessarily Republican) message out, now, at the local level:

♦ To explain why free stuff cannot last because no national economy can support it indefinitely. Greece and Spain (it may be necessary to explain to some that those are countries in Europe as well as to explain the situations there) are examples of what’s to come in their own communities. Will they listen? Probably not if it involves big numbers and arithmetic, but perhaps if it involves what is now happening to real people to whom they can relate. How about Black unemployment? Wouldn’t they perhaps feel better about themselves if they could find and get jobs? Mightn’t they feel better if they could support their own families? Wouldn’t they feel better if they had families?

♦ Freedom of speech, religion and the press? States’ rights? Use of domestic surveillance drones? Those are concepts with which most uninformed voters are, and are likely content to remain, unfamiliar — except to the extent that States’ Rights are associated, wrongly, with racism. Otherwise, they don’t affect their immediate situations so they don’t matter.

♦ Foreign policy stuff? There is little point in focusing on that because unless we have a big war and reinstate the draft to fight it, or until some foreign country drops bombs on a major city in the United States, it won’t affect them or their friends personally.

Beyond that, how many uninformed voters know or care where Benghazi is, what happened there or who Ben Benghazi is? Was he Santa Claus’ brother? The “Arab Spring?” Isn’t that just a bunch of other people who want their free stuff; that’s good and they deserve it. Israel? They should stop attacking those poor oppressed civilians in occupied lands who suffer unspeakable privations at the hands of vile Israel.  Iran with nuclear weapons? Who cares; that’s far away and no matter what happens we will continue to live our lives as we do now. Idiotic? Of course. But most matters of foreign affairs are out somewhere in an ethereal region. Right here and today are far more important.

Can these efforts be made without seeming racist or condescending — unlike the tone of my article? I don’t know, but if not they will do little good and probably will do much harm. Those attempting to do them will need training, at the local level, and those doing that training will themselves need to be trained.

The time for mourning has passed and now we need to get to work. We need happy news celebrating victories. But first there have to be some. We will have to create our own victories and happiness as we go along.

(This article was also posted at Dan Miller’s Blog.)

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