One Man’s Epiphany

Francis Wilkinson wrote an excellent article for Bloomberg View entitled, “Disarray is Preface to Power for Democrats,” which ties in nicely to an email I received covering an article by Frank Schaeffer of the Washington Post. Mr. Wilkinson’s story begins with – “The Democrats are in disarray” – the first line in a Hendrik Hertzberg column in March 2006 in the New Yorker.

That is what the pundits and political reporters were saying in that year.  Parties out of power, as the Democrats then were, are always a bit like driftwood, bobbing on the political seas, waiting for the right storm surge to bring them to shore.

About eight months after he wrote that article, President George W. Bush was soon daily battered by his findings of weapons of mass destruction and other bad headlines from Iraq.  Democrats took control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate.  Two years later, they gained more seats and the presidency.

For the next two years, the Democrats treated the nation to a blitz of liberal legislation, disregard of a recession, high unemployment, loss of manufacturing jobs, the addition of ten trillion of new debt, out-of-control immigration and an anger building up across the land.

Today, the era of “hope and change” is dead and gone.  Democrats are once again out of power and are looking to replace “disarray” with an encore.

Mr. Wilkinson resorts to saying the 2016 Democrat nominee proved incapable of defeating a “crude, media-savvy buffoon.” Other writers conclude that the Democrat “brand is in crisis,” the party is disjoined and out to lunch.  The Democrats have only Trump’s “disagreeable personality” to rally around.

Matthew Continetti writes “but the crowds are there for Bernie.  They are the left-wing version of the voters who brought us Trump:  Anti-establishment, anti-globalization, more interested in assembly-line security than in Silicon Valley disruption.” Continetti sees the Democratic Party as the next target to fall to political rage against elites.  The GOP was turned upside down, the Democrats are next.

Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes recently wrote a new book about Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign entitled Shattered.

Matt Taibbi observes, “Shattered is what happens when political parties become too disconnected from their voters.”

One way of looking at the November 8 election results is a moving letter written by Frank Schaeffer, of the Washington Post about his son entitled, “John is my Heart.”

Mr. Schaeffer begins with, “Before my son became a Marine, I never thought much about who was defending me.”  Now when he reads of the war on terrorism, it cuts to his heart.  When seeing a picture of a military member killed, he sometimes will cry. He said his son John was headstrong and “he seemed to understand these stern, clean men with straight backs and flawless uniforms.  I did not.  I live in the Volvo-driving, higher educated – worshipping North Shore of Boston.  I write novels for a living.  I have never served in the military.”

John’s enlisting was unexpected, so deeply unsettling.  I did not relish the prosperity of answering the question, “So where is John going to college?”

He heard from the privileged, “But aren’t Marines terribly Southern?” or “What a waste, he was such a good student.”  One parent even suggested John’s prep school should “carefully evaluate what went wrong.”

When John graduated from boot camp at Parris Island, 3,000 parents and friends showed up.  They represented all walks of life.  These are the people who keep America going. His response, “My son has connected me to my country in a way that I was too selfish and insular to experience before.

“Have we wealthy and educated Americans all become pacifists?  Or have we just gotten used to having somebody else defend us?  I feel shame because it took my son’s joining the Marine Corps to make me notice of who is defending me.

“Faith is not about everything turning out OK. Faith is about being OK no matter how things turn out.”

Well said Mr. Schaeffer.  On November 8 Americans simply got fed up.