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They Can't Stand a Good Example
"Why do they hate us?" No, this isn't late-breaking angst emerging from the post-9/11 emotional turmoil. This question refers to a parallel phenomenon; the apparent hatred, by the American Left, of the American Right. Parallel phenomenon, you say. How so?
Well, to over-simplify, the emerging consensus among America and her allies in the war on terrorism is that "they hate us because of what we are, not what we do." In a nutshell, despite the Islamists' claims of moral superiority and divine favor, we are vastly and un-ashamedly more wealthy, powerful and free than they are. We measure our success in terms of production and happiness; they, in terms of destruction and fear. We seek opportunities for further development; they seek scapegoats and excuses for its absence. We 'arrogantly' flaunt our success; they 'virtuously' claim victimhood.
As a callow tourist youth, looking for a cheap, rhetorical 'gotcha!' I asked an Israeli, "If you guys are the chosen people, how come your neighbors are all trying to kill you?" With unruffled composure he replied, "Because they can't stand a good example. We make them look bad."
In America, many of the Left were so upset by the outcome of the 2000 election that everything President Bush did was viewed through the distorting lens of his alleged "illegitimacy." His courageous and principled response to the outrage of 9/11, widely but briefly hailed at the time, was soon de-constructed as George W. Bush's cowboy arrogance spurring America's imperial aggression. The Left's ominous warnings of "quagmire" in Afghanistan and "tens of thousands of casualties" in Iraq have proved wrong. His "tax-cuts for the rich" are gradually pulling the economy out of its (inherited) recession. Criticism of his educational reforms is beginning to ring hollow as school-choice and accountability are resulting in rising test scores among students. Mockery of his lack of intellect has fallen silent in the face of his abundance of moral courage and determination when dealing with enemies of America far more dangerous than hecklers. Virtually every pronouncement of doom and gloom by the Left has stumbled over the Right's successes, not least at the polling booths in 2002.
Is it any wonder that they hate the Right in general and George W. Bush in particular? We have proven them wrong. How humiliating, especially for the elites of the academy and media, the self-appointed arbiters of truth and taste in America.
Will the Left pick itself up, dust itself off, analyze its shortcomings and work toward self-improvement? Don't hold your breath. This is the party of the "Great Society," the institutionalizers of victimhood; the so-called 'progressives' who don't seek to change themselves, but to blame others; the appeasers, who avert their eyes from the recent, terrible lesson of Spain; the tax-and-spenders who see government as a career, rather than a public service. Will the frustrated, humiliated Left resort to terrorist tactics? No, not beyond trying to frighten the elderly that Bush intends to hand their pensions over to Wall Street fat-cats; not beyond trying to frighten the blacks and minorities that Bush's "tinkering" with education and welfare will relegate them forever to ignorance and poverty; not beyond trying to frighten all of us that Bush's "unilateral" and "reckless" foreign policy is alienating our true friends at the UN and spawning "thousands more bin Ladens" among the benighted of the Arab street.
No, the American Left are not terrorists. But they are terrified. And the increasingly shrill rhetoric we will hear from them, in the run-up to November's Presidential election, are the squeals of a dying animal.
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© Copyright Peter and Helen Evans, 2004. All rights reserved.