"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Inaugural Blues

Victor Davis Hanson writes today on the inaugural address in NRO:

...the bitter election wars to achieve and maintain a 51–53 percent majority (the noble 99 percent versus the selfish 1 percent, the greens versus the polluters, the young and hip versus the stodgy and uncool, the wisely unarmed versus the redneck assault-weapon owners, women versus the sexists, gays versus the bigots, Latinos versus the nativists, blacks versus the “get over it” spiteful and resentful, the noble public sector versus the “you didn’t build that” profiteers, Colin Powell/Chuck Hagel/reasonable Republicans versus neanderthal House tea-party zealots), in Nixonian fashion have left a lot of bitter divisions that lie just beneath the surface of a thinning veneer.

There is a reason why Presidents have typically used inaugural addresses to heal wounds.   We think of our nation as an eternal entity, but it's not.   It's a fragile, human construct.   Like any nation, it can fall apart, and it can do so in the blink of an eye.   If it does, we have a nation with both a sense of entitlement and a reality of dependency, not just on government largesse, but on technological efficiencies that could disappear overnight.   If things break down, we could go from iPhones to the Dark Ages in a month.   We have a fragile political union in America.   It is not healthy (and not wise) that half of the country feels targeted and excluded by this President.   Yet this President seems to revel in division, to court it.   He's a man who appears to want to pick at wounds, not heal them..

I put it to my wife this way yesterday.  

I said:  "I'm an adult man who has been happily married for twenty years, has raised three nice kids, who works hard, pays taxes, goes to church, has no serious vices, reads books, stays informed, bears no malice toward anyone, has never thought or uttered a racist epithet, gives to charity, volunteers, etc.   And yet I literally cannot bear to listen to my country's President give his inaugural address, because he has so alienated me by treating me and people like me as evil."

That's dangerous.

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