So much has happened these past few days. Is it just that I am getting older, or is it that things are happening so fast and so corrosively one cannot keep up...?
When I was a student at a Jesuit university in Philadelphia, the administration decided, after more than a hundred years, to admit women. They did this, of course, not from any sense of duty or rationality or justice, but because they needed the tuition money, having excluded half the human race from the pool of applicants.
With the prospect of women joining the student body, a few friends and I formed the first feminist club on campus. Let me be clear: A group of male students, led by me and a black friend of mine, formed a feminist club as a way of welcoming the university's first freshman class of women. When they arrived, not a single woman joined. Instead, the co-eds rushed to the booster club, to support the men's basketball team. That should have been a lesson to me.
Now, this past week, I have watched the pathetico-comic spectacle of a Georgetown University law school student, a bright, young, educated woman, go before a pseudo-Congressional committee and complain that her birth control needs were not being met by the federal government - that is by me, the taxpayer. "I am woman, hear me beg." That any self-respecting woman in the 21st century would go before, not only a committee chaired by a former Speaker of the House, but before the nation, to beg for contraceptive relief, and that the media would lionize her for it, and that the President of the United States would telephone and congratulate her for it, says everything one needs to know about the current state of American culture and American politics. It makes me ashamed to say that I am an American.
Yesterday I paid $4.50 for a gallon of gasoline. When gas prices spiked under George Bush, the media and the left, including a dear friend of mine, blamed him for it. Indeed, my friend asked rhetorically: Is this Bush paying off his buddies in the oil industry? Well, is this Obama paying off his friends in the environmental industry?
Yet President Obama now claims in stentorian terms that there is nothing a President of the United States can do to affect the price of oil, and the media suddenly understands that the problem is more complex than they had thought under a Republican administration. Despite Mr. Obama's manifest ineptitude, despite the miserable failure of his policies, despite the fact that he calls their owners and share holders villains and wishes to punish their success, the media apparently will do everything in its power to see to it that he is re-elected. The inane, self-defeating hypocrisy is suffocating.
Obama's Secretary of Energy, an incoherent babbler if ever I heard one, has said repeatedly that the administration wants the price of gasoline to rise... until, of course, that rise hurts the president's chances for re-election. In which case, that same incoherent babbler has now said that the administration no longer wants the price to rise. Yet he denies that the president has ordered him to reverse his position. Greater hypocrisy cannot be imagined. It makes me ashamed to call myself an American.
And then there is Afghanistan... By the president's campaign promises, we should have been out of that benighted country by now. But of course, judging by the mainstream media, no promise of this amiable incompetent must be kept. We are still in Iraq, still in Afghanistan, still in Guatanamo. And now...
More than a dozen Afghan civilians, including nine CHILDREN, have been murdered by a deranged, marauding American soldier. It is, of course, a tragedy of ancient Greek proportions, of Biblical proportions, of Vietnamese proportions. And what does our titular president do? He attends, with the Prime Minister of England, a basketball game, grinning as he ever does for the camera. Grinning and gawking in the wake of the murder of children. To quote Hamlet: "God, a beast that wants reason would have mourned longer!" Has he no shame at all? Has he no sense of propriety? This same man who, after the killings in Tucson, made an unabashedly political speech and then glad-handed and grinned for the cameras? Is there no disgrace of which he is not capable? It makes me ashamed to call myself an American.
What has happened to this country? What have we, as a generation of Americans, allowed to happen? We have suffered sixty years of unremitting liberalism, of "progressive"-ism, of permissive-ism. We have allowed our values to erode, our sense of self to deteriorate, our pride, our self-respect, our very idea of decency, to go by the board. And for what? For a phony sense of fairness and self-righteousness. For a cheap narcissism. We have permitted our concept of who we are as a people and what our nation means as a beacon of hope to mankind to be sold out for cheap health care and cheap prescription drugs and cheap public education that does not teach our children to think for themselves, and a cheap sense of progress and a cheap, submissive conviction that the government knows best, and cheap food stamps and cheap birth control and cheap abortions and cheap consciences that allow us to do whatever we want and consequences-be-damned, and a cheap lifestyle and cheap deaths in which our lives have meant nothing and our deaths are merely an agglomeration of cheap fertilizer.
But where has gone our soul? Where is our national identity? Our collective pride? Where is our sense of uniqueness? We are becoming the laughingstock of the world, a second-rate power, a cheap joke at the expense of others who have embraced our ideals of innovation and hard work, of sacrifice and self-sufficiency, even as we barter them away for a modicum of government subsistence at the expense of excellence and risk and our national heritage.
Indeed, as I watch events unfold through the distorted prism of a media which I trust as I do adders fanged (again to quote Hamlet), I am increasingly ashamed to call myself an American. Indeed, I no longer know what that word means.