“A free society is a moral achievement. Without self-restraint, without the capacity to defer the gratification of instinct, and without the habits of heart and deed that we call virtues, we will eventually lose our freedom.”
Trump’s RNC speech was despairing and anti-American
Trump spent nearly 77 minutes running down my beloved country, and I don’t take kindly to it…Major political speeches are usually balancing acts between light and dark, between expressions of the positive and the threat posed to it by the negative. They establish the existence of something good and what qualities of goodness it possesses, explain how it is being warped by something bad, and offer a way to repair the damage and restore the equilibrium. This isn’t just a boilerplate structure. You do it this way because it is a reflection of reality. Speeches are both diagnoses of problems and prescriptions for solutions, and unless the diagnosis describes a recognizable reality, the solutions will ring either hollow or exploitative.
You talk about the good and the bad because that is how life is. Nothing save actual evil is without virtue; there is nothing that is not unmixed. That was not true of Trump’s United States. He did not offer a portrait, a description, a sense of what America is or has been or can be at its best and take off from there to describe what has gone wrong and how to fix it. There was almost no light and almost complete darkness.
The America Donald Trump portrayed is a horrible place, awash in barbarity, crime, disorder, decay, deceit, rigging, cheating, exploitation. It is very nearly beyond salvation, in such dire straits that a man who was having a wonderful time in business felt called upon to serve as “your voice” because “only I can fix it” the problem.
I don’t know how to say this except sentimentally, but there it is: America in 2016 is still America. It is still the greatest, and noblest, and freest, and most just society the world has ever seen and a shining beacon of hope to the world. And when it is caricatured, when it is degraded, when its people are told by one of the two people who might sit in the White House for the next four years that they live in a barbaric and hopeless dystopia from which they need to be saved by a strong hand rather than in a great country where some things have gone off the tracks and need to be placed back on them—the person who does such a thing has indulged himself in a deeply unpatriotic act of rhetorical infamy.
The strange tale of the best-selling crime novel of the 19th century
The French military is already on the streets protecting Jewish institutions from Islamist attacks. Soon they’ll have to do it for Christians too. Not a tenable situation.
What it’s like to be a black cop in the age of Black Lives Matter
It’s getting dusty in here. #CatsRule
“Whoever wins, I know that come January, I will be in the conservative opposition to a statist administration, and in search of a new party to call home.”