I bridled when I read the beginning of this news report: “President Barack Obama made a congratulatory phone call to the new Chinese president . . .” Xi Jingping was made “president” because his fellow ruling Communists decided to place him in that position. It’s not like the returns finally came in from the rural districts, and, lo, the Chinese people had elected him president.
In my view, the president of the United States ought to place such calls only to fellow democrats: the prime minister of Canada, the president of Taiwan, and so on. Those calls should not go to bosses in one-party dictatorships — especially when those dictatorships keep a gulag.
Several decades ago, the idea of America as the leader of freedom and democracy lost favor on the left. It has recently lost some favor on the right. I still favor it. You?
Apparently, Obama said this to congressional Democrats: “This is not Dick Cheney we’re talking about here.” He was saying to his fellow Dems, You can trust me with drones — I’m not Cheney. For a news article on the matter, go here.
I think Obama’s fans and Cheney’s fans can agree: The president is not Dick Cheney. Too bad for the country.
“A historic decline in the number of U.S. whites and the fast growth of Latinos are blurring traditional black-white color lines, testing the limits of civil rights laws,” said this news story. I’m thinking, “Civil rights laws? How about plain old laws? Laws that apply equally, to all citizens? Would they be good enough? Or is that un-American?”
The article quoted a professor as saying, “The American experience has always been a story of color.” It has been that in part — too large a part. But color is not the only part of the American story (much as this disappoints the Left, and is denied by them).
On this matter of laws, civil rights laws, equality, etc.: Gay-marriage proponents scored a huge rhetorical success when they said their cause belonged in the category of “civil rights.” That was maybe 15 years ago. Americans get weak in the knees when they hear “civil rights.” Who can oppose civil rights? No one wants to be Lester Maddox.
Very recently, in my observation, gay-marriage proponents started talking about “marriage equality” — that was another rhetorical triumph. And it has now found its way into the mainstream news.
What I’m talking about is this: A report from the Associated Press, here, says, “No Republican attorney general is asking the high court to rule in favor of marriage equality.” The AP puts no quotation marks around “marriage equality.” They do not say “what proponents call ‘marriage equality’” or anything like that. No, they adopt the phrase as their own.
This is a wire service, mind you — not the New York Times or MSNBC or Mother Jones. Still more proof that, you know, the matter is just about decided.
How about this? The AP writes, “During his confirmation hearing, Hagel faced fierce opposition from GOP senators who challenged the former Republican senator’s truthfulness and patriotism.” (Article here.) Democrats say that Republicans questioned the new defense secretary’s patriotism. Republicans say, “Get off it, that’s a load of bull.” The AP uses the Democrats’ line — as though it were objective fact.
Interesting, huh? But if Republicans talk about press bias, we’re called paranoid kooks. Wonderful, wonderful.
Advocates of school choice have long used the language of “civil rights.” This kind of education is a “civil right,” they say — we say. “The civil-rights cause of our time.” Our language has not caught on. Why’s that? Well, it helps to have the help of the mainstream media, which school-choicers — well, when hell freezes over.
I was thinking about “diversity” in President Obama’s cabinet. I touched on this matter in a column last week. People are concerned about whether Obama’s cabinet is “diverse” enough (and when I say “people,” I mean the Left, of course). “Diversity” in our country never means diversity of thought or opinion or anything important. It means skin color and ethnicity. Sometimes sex, I guess.
Anyway, I was thinking, “Well, Hagel’s pro-life, isn’t he?” Isn’t he? That adds a speck of diversity, in a way — no matter what his cabinet position is. Then there’s his Republicanism . . .
Here is an article out of Thessaloniki, Greece — we used to call it Salonika. I still do, sometimes. The article is about the 70th anniversary of the roundup and deportation of the Jews there. You know where they were deported.
I thought of something Victor Davis Hanson told me. He lived in Greece for several years, being a classicist, and he visited the university in Salonika often. He also lectured there. And he found more than the usual amount of anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism.
As I recollect the story — and I think I have it right — VDH, after putting up with some guff, said, “Do you ever see ghosts? Do you ever hear strange noises?” The students and faculty were befuddled. Victor went on to teach them, or remind them of, their own history: Their university was built on the ashes of the Jewish cemetery — with Marshall Plan money.
But listen: Greece is an old, sad story, and I mean just since the 1940s.
I’ve been hearing a lot of Karl Rove-bashing lately. And I want to say this about Karl: He may have made some mistakes, as people do. Even I’ve made some mistakes from time to time, I think. But I think he is worth his weight in gold. He is an excellent articulator of conservative ideas. And he spends a great deal of time raising money for Republican candidates and getting Republican candidates elected. I think we need this, bad. I think the country and world depend on it. He is doing more than I am, more than you are, probably, and more than almost anyone. He is making good and even noble use of his time. I admire him, and I’m grateful for him.
A little music? I don’t have a review for you, or an essay, or a clip. But I noticed something in an obit. The obit is about Rafael Puyana, a harpsichordist. And it says, “He largely deplored the authentic-performance-practice movement that came to hold sway at midcentury and afterward, condemning . . . its ‘messianic pretensions of infallibility’ on questions of interpretation.”
Bravo, señor, and thank you.
This has not been a very fun column, I know. Can I make up for it a little here? Okay. A couple of columns ago, I wrote,
In the Fresno airport — charming, attractive, efficient place — I saw a group of Mormons, traveling. Missionaries, I believe. I’m sure that there are fat, slovenly Mormons. Frankly, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen any. I see instead the fit and sharp: Mitts and Mittesses.
A reader writes, “Jay, being a lifelong Mormon and a fat one, I can tell you that we have done our part in the obesity contagion. I think we’ve replaced alcohol with ice cream.”
With rum raisin, one can go hog-wild. Anyway, thank you, dear ones, and I’ll catch you soon.
To order Jay Nordlinger’s book Peace, They Say: A History of the Nobel Peace Prize, the Most Famous and Controversial Prize in the World, go here. To order his collection Here, There & Everywhere, go here.