From A Polite and Ernest Semi-Angry Reader:
Dear Mr. Hanson,
I am a senior woman from Michigan, snowbird over the winter in Florida. I am so sad these days that anything written by either side is vituperative, mean spirited, and anger provoking. Your 10 new rules by radicals could have had a much nicer tone. Frankly, I think you are way off base by taking such an exaggerated view of all your beefs. It irritates the left and inflames the right. Ugh. I would appreciate it if you would rewrite that article with a gentler approach.
I have grown up respecting the two party system, and want it to survive in the most healthy fashion. My husband and I have great friends on both sides of the aisle, but it is not easy these days to have a civilized conversation, so we just avoid anything political. That is very sad, because growing up in a “mixed” family, we had wonderful disagreements, and we chewed on lots of issues without drawing blood.
Hopefully that will happen again. Please help that happen.
Dear Polite and Earnest Semi-Angry Reader Anne,
I don’t think my 10 rules are “beefs,” but simply descriptions of a new America, in which debt is not really considered debt; whether laws are enforced fully depends on the social/cultural context; and wokeness is a new religion. Do you disagree? If so, please explain where and why. When we owe $25 trillion in national debt and borrow $5 trillion over 2 years do you think it is more important to warn the country about the danger of insolvency or to keep silent so as not to “irritate the Left” or “inflame the Right”?
You and I grew up with a conventional two-party system, I in a Democratic household of the JFK brand.
The 8-hr work-day, Social Security, civil rights, disability insurance, meritocratic admissions to preclude racial prejudice, secure borders to ensure entry-level good wages, fair housing—all this was the Democratic Party until the 1970s/1980s. And even in the 1990s a radical child of the 1960s, Bill Clinton, could at times be reasonable (see the Democratic 1996 convention platform on illegal immigration and speeches on it by the like of Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer.) He was responsible with Newt Gingrich in working out a way to reduce budget deficits.
But we have now two new parties: a hard left socialist/progressive movement that appeals to the very, very wealthy, the corporate elite, woke minorities—versus a middle class, populist working-class party that wishes to retain traditions and customs and seeks to appeal by class rather than racial interests. The former Party has created the cancel culture, the boycott culture, and the transformation culture. It is at war with the First Amendment, the Second Amendment, and the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. The ACLU is not the ACLU of the 1960s but something quite different. The Left, not the conservative party, wants to alter the Constitution and ancient customs, by ending the 9-Justice Supreme Court, the filibuster, the states’ laws concerning national voting, a 50-state nation, and far more—largely because it feels its agendas do not win 50 percent support, whether the Green New Deal, open borders, reparations, or changes to the Constitution.
In my experience, conservatives usually don’t bring up politics, or like to argue; theirs is more a live and let live attitude. In most families with political tensions, the more leftward demand “discussions” and seek to prompt political debate, and see politics as more important than friendships.
Politics is part of life not an end in itself. Traditionalists don’t hunt down officials at their homes to “get in their faces” or metaphorically “bring a gun to a knife fight.” So I don’t think your admonition is quite as symmetrical as you think. Look at the campaigns of John McCain and Mitt Romney; both were reduced to caricatures of greedy, white capitalists. Trump was a creation of pent-up anger, it is true, but the anger was that of taking punches in a world where the Left had weaponized Wall Street, Silicon Valley, professional sports, academia, foundations, Hollywood, entertainment, and the corporate boardroom, etc. What is the political message you receive before a NBA game, or from a new Hollywood movie, or within a new commercial, or in a college president’s letter, or from Facebook’s rules?
I do think we can all avoid unnecessary animus. I try not to attack any writers/thinkers in personal terms and avoid naming them wherever possible, but do insist on replying to those who engage in attacks. Otherwise, the untruth is never addressed, much less corrected.
I wish a return to the old bipartisan give-and-take, but whether we like it or not, the country is moving in one direction of massive debt, larger government, less personal freedom, more tribal tensions, open borders, less meritocracy, and less civility—and most important, as I pointed out, a general decline in knowledge, given the watering down of K-12 curricula. Consensual government will not work when citizens do not know much at all of their nation’s origins and history, and feel their country is sinful and innately flawed at its beginning.
I appreciate your kind advice, but beg to differ this time. I try to give rational spirited critiques that can remind people of what is going both well and poorly. Simply hoping for the good times to return if we all forget our differences won’t work. If history is any guide, the smiling ostrich with his head in a hole will only empower those who have very focused and quite dangerous agendas.