Tag Archive for ‘Cultural Revolutions’
Never in recent memory has confusion over the course of public affairs been so dense, so impenetrable. A vast number of things need clearing up so that normal politics, if there’s such a thing any more, can proceed.
A congressional proponent of the nation’s first federal income tax law, enacted in 1894, was, to say the least, beside himself over the wonders he and his colleagues had wrought. “The passage of this bill,” burbled Congressman David Albaugh DeArmond, “will mark the dawn of a brighter day, with more of sunshine, more of the songs of birds, more of that sweetest music, the laughter of children well fed, well clothed, well housed.”
My prep-school headmaster, an Englishman named Robert Jackson, was more a quiet example of virile Catholic piety than a dispenser of rules to live by, but I remember the day he ridiculed a hapless classmate for using the word “domicile” in a paper. “The word is house!” Dr. Jackson declared in his West Country accent. “When you have a choice between the Latinate word and the Anglo-Saxon word, use the Anglo-Saxon word!”
On March 23, the Associated Press published a story dealing with sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church to little fanfare. It noted that allegations of sexual abuse involving the Catholic Church in the United States dropped in 2009, and that most of the alleged offenders “are dead, no longer in the priesthood, removed from ministry, or missing.”
The Democrats, who had to execute the political equivalent of Gettysburg to squeeze Obamacare through the narrowest of congressional apertures, know they have to boost the economy fast. The problem they—and we—face is, how? What can they do at this point, not least on account of their own economic preconceptions?
Today was the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, not the Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker (May 1) as cafeteria Catholic Nancy Pelosi embarrassed herself by saying as she cynically called on the saint to pass Obamacare. In any case, when I was a boy, March 19 was a day off at my Catholic high school, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was not.
By week’s end, the president and his minions hope to have bought, embarrassed or intimidated enough fellow Democrats into passing, at long last, health care “reform.” In the meantime, the White House lets us know it wants action on new national approaches to educational improvement.
Oh, my do lovers of language love images! They should. Images—word pictures—enlighten, enliven, entertain. Tight as a tick; drunk as a lord; ugly as a mud fence. See what I mean? The reader doesn’t merely read; he sees.
You probably think an attack on cliches—images worn down like a mill stone—is about to ensue. Not today. That’s for later.
Are they really bumblers? The opinion columns quiver with reproofs for maladroit handling of foreign policy by President Obama and his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. Those who cherished foolish illusions that Obama’s election presaged a substantive shift to the left in foreign policy fret about “worrisome signs” that this is not the case.
According to John Harwood in The New York Times, public support for “reining in Wall Street” has Democrats about as exuberant as Democrats ever get any more. Scared Senate Republicans are looking for deals to cut. The public wants this thing, with three-fifths supporting it in a recent poll. Democrats—who always do the public’s bidding—are ready to close the deal.