I like the manner of your realization and the fortitude of your acknowledgement: that you’d rationally acted no differently than your contemporaries in buying a political product on the basis of branding consciousness. Like, ‘Oh, yeah, I like her ideas! Her ads are so cool!’ And like, ‘Oh, no, not him! His image sucks!’
We spent the first three weeks of last semester studying advertising. You’ll recall that, of the four levels of consciousness in ads, only one is factual and thus rational, and therefore openly available for conscious public confirmation and volitional personal affirmation. The other three manipulate the mind with emotional, sub-conscious, and unconscious operations below the human radar screen of ready discretionary consciousness.
Like Karl Marx, Joseph Goebbels had a PhD in reasoning. Goebbels famously said of his propaganda methods, ‘I observed how ad agencies in America could sell Americans the most unnecessary and even ridiculous products. I realized then, that if Madison Avenue could sell America striped tooth paste, I could sell Germany Hitler.’
I might add that having a PhD makes a person politer if not righter.
The problem with American ads — ads for all the cunning clutter and lovely junk you can accumulate — is that you could spend a lifetime being a satisfied consumer. And then one day you realize that you’d given your life to being a puppet of consumption. And most of your favorite accomplishments — really just commodity acquisitions — were already becoming fossils — like you! — as the new ads for the next generation roll.
In contrast, the problem with Goebbels’ ads for Hitler is not only did they succeed, but the product was warrantied for life. And anyone who had trouble with the product was referred to the SS to resolve their complaints.
Himmler didn’t have a PhD.
Conclusion: PhDs should be careful with their ideas in public. And they should be held responsible for them forever.
Now, of course, we all know that presidential candidates are marketed in America by ad experts in the same way striped toothpaste or any other unnecessary acquisition. They have to be. The average American citizen won’t read analytical journals or even serious op-ed pieces. They’ll only look at or listen to short blurbs, and even then only if they’re entertaining. The debates between Trump and Clinton were a series of such blurbs. They were like rock concerts, but without the stage sets and the light shows, and therefore mostly big empty noise.
And yet you continue to be nonplussed, perplexed, and even peeved by Trump’s rhetoric. But rhetoric is advertisement for ideas: religious and political. You might as well hate the universe because of gravity! Or America because of TV. True, I guard against falls. But I don’t wish to be an angel, and escape all scrapes. What for? Sublime boredom? I hate wounds because I heal so slowly. But scrapes can be revitalizing, especially in the recollection. As for TV, I haven’t watched a new show in maybe 40 years. But I did see the Super Bowl a few years back. I’m a patriot! And Super Bowl Sunday is a national holiday of obligation, right? I ate pizza, the national food, while watching with my extended family. But I averted my eyes from the ads from a sense of mental hygienics and soul aesthetics.
As for rhetoric, as soon I detect it in the speech of stumping candidates or stalling politicians, I discard it like the husk of a nut, and look to the meat and the germ — assuming there’s any there. My only concern with Trump’s campaign rhetoric, as I remarked in an earlier Gun Shot, was that, being a political novice, I feared he might mean his novel utterances. That would be in contrast to not meaning them — not meaning anything — like the bulk of American campaign speech. “We must get America moving again! Let’s go forward! Vote for change!” You’ll recognize the motivational phrases there: the little packages of shelf-stable vacuum-packed almost meaningless energy. You’ll also have noticed that campaign speech in America has a peculiarly loud intonation along with a uniquely slow delivery — unlike any other speech. Except sermons. American believers apparently need simple and clear directions forcefully stated.
Of course, most people most of the time have little interest in being informed — reasonably, rationally, factually, articulately, wittily — about the policies of the polities in which they live — city, county, state, nation — let alone the programs promised by candidates at election time. They’re busy with themselves. Well, that’s both reasonable and virtuous. So am I. Thus it was with a Mona Lisa smile that I read your wish list call for “campaign finance reform” (#4), itself a campaign boilerplate phrase. You urge that the interests of businesses and organizations “no longer take precedent over the interests of the American people.” That’s admirable. But ask the people — whoever that is — what their political interests are, and they’ll say, “Let’s get everyone together in Washington, stop fighting, and finally agree!”
Why do they say that? Well, the result would be a full rest with an infinite fermata on it like the serenity of heaven, or a timeless meditation on the bellybutton of being. Both require no further world political work.
Meanwhile, as you’ll recall from The Federalist #10, the United States was built to operate on the restless factions of incessant interests — interests which in the first place are economic. All interests — including religious — endlessly solicit laws, ordinances, and regulations from the American governments. In contrast, sustained unanimity doesn’t mean heavenly peace, but only mundane despotism. And the sweet quiet of such accord, promised by sublime choirs of pure and permed sopranos and improved and elevated males, turns out to be only the deep silence of state graves.
Meanwhile in America, as long as the people’s political agents — the legislators, executives, and judges — are well chosen, the citizens may mind their business. And they should. The only one really big citizen issue — outside of war — is citizens’ reliability in doing their minimum recurrent occasional duty when choosing responsible and competent politicians for office.
You also include nations along with businesses and organizations in your national interdiction list. Nations shouldn’t interfere in other nations’ elections. That sounds obvious, nice and right. But who says they may not? On what basis is such a claim made in statesmanship, nature, history and power? The US prevented a communist government from being elected in Italy after WWII. Think how much geopolitical grief and anti-Soviet expense that saved America! And it saved Fiat for Chrysler. Italians always style their grooms so nicely. No Zil design loutishness there! Meanwhile, when I lived in Lewisburg, I had a friend at Bucknell — a professor of liberal arts — who was massively miffed by that Italian maneuver even decades later. Not Fiat’s! America’s. But the good news for him, if he’s still alive, is that Bucknell has reportedly just banned all offensive speech on campus. Isn’t that nice? The campus must now look like the political posters of North Korea: smiles everywhere! Like toothpaste ads. And student listeners naturally camouflaged as themselves with phones and backpacks, will be monitoring everyone’s freedom of speech everywhere all the time.
I’ll now briefly refer to a half dozen of your other points, and, after that, address the nature and status of nation-statehood in the current world.
- You rightly scorn some old Bush ad that called Bush “a guy you’d like to have a beer with.” A Busch with a Bush! And, hey, you could both wear skull and bones jackets! No, not even Goebbels’ tried that one with Hitler. “A guy you’d like to share a strudel with!” Nein, danke! And yet, however silly that Bush ad sounds, some of America’s best statesmen have fallen into similar lapses of pre-senility complacence silliness syndrome (PSCSS). Roosevelt insisted that Stalin and he were great friends who could work together shoulder to shoulder, eye to eye, and tête-à-tête. Really? Bush may have committed a similar lapse with Putin. Meanwhile, Reagan, who admitted to being not very smart, and to be not being a legacy hunter, recalled, ‘At first I was afraid I wouldn’t know how to fulfill the role of the president. Then I realized that half of the job consists of acting. And then I knew I could do it.’ Well, if as heads of state you’re actors, what do you think the other guys are? And if you emotionally find the other guys’ performances to be totally love-deep believable, then I suggest you don’t go back stage and meet them after the show with their costumes off!
- You’re bothered that Trump damned the Electoral College before the election, then praised it afterwards. Of course he was losing in the polls during the whole campaign, and then he won on Election Day.
‘What fickle buffoonery!’ is the apparent content of your rhetorical attack. But I seem to recall that the good ol’ US of A allied itself with Stalin back in WWII. And that was after Stalin’s 1930s judicial absurdities and civil abominations which even many communists recognized as the political perversity of a power monster.
Oh, but such heart-warming helpings of homely nourishment from the motherland — babushkas and borsht! — were then served to Americans to feed their solidarity for the workers of liberation. “Free the freedom fighters from the jackboot of fascism!” We did. And Stalin’s thanks? Endless snide rebukes that rankled even such statesmen as Roosevelt and Churchill. And so, even as we were almost still hugging on the Elbe, the US announced the Cold War. It turns out they’d planned for it in advance at Dumbarton Oaks! What confusion that wrought in the brand-name consciousness of most Americans!
I now also recollect Winston in the Commons. Back then America also had its own popular Winston. It was probably available in the House, and it was probably less deadly, too. Winnie said, ‘If the Devil spoke badly of Hitler, I’d at least shake his hand.’ Am I shocked at the flippancy of such inconsistency? No! I don’t expect trivial proofs in piddling logics from significant politicians. I expect success. Politics is like art. Any art work that is logically consistent will be a bore. And any statesmen that is logically consistent will be a failure. Indeed, Hitler’s logic problem wasn’t that he was so crazy, but that he was so consistent. He published his blueprint in 1925 — Mein Kampf — and never deviated from it, not even when the times they started a changin’. He rose to be the greatest German statesman ever — in 1938 as taught by Prof. Norling at Notre Dame: consider the citation to be a 1st Amendment term insurance policy: non-smoker, good weight, regularize exercise, daily full dose of cardiovascular medication dispensed in 12-ounce capsules. And then Hitler fell as the German disaster ever. And all in seven years! It was the second Seven Years War. But in this awful remake, Roosevelt played the role of the Czarina lamely. Or, as Marx said of history, the first time is a tragedy, the second is a farce. Well, if Frederick is a world-historical tragedy for mankind, imagine what that makes Hitler. Words can’t parameter Hitler’s world-permanent wreckage. No, not craziness but consistency was Hitler’s tragic fault — assuming that we want to grace a socialist scum like Hitler with something so lofty as an attribute of golden Attic tragedy.
- You say you’re worried about elites. We Americans certainly don’t allow aristocrats in the United States — except as paying tourists or salaried curiosities. And we all wish for republican commonality. At least we all properly say we do in public. I actually do want it. And I practice commonality daily. At the same time, as a nation, we want all fields to flourish with our results at the top of world-possible performance. In my Republic, I offer a solution to the seeming contradiction of excellence and commonality. (See Ch. 9, 15.) It turns out the problem isn’t a problem in a republic. But it most certainly is in old-fashioned democracies like Athens, or in updated industrial democracies like the USSR. It’s precisely in those people’s regimes that the elites flourish by disguising themselves. Pericles and Stalin. And don’t forget Lorenzo in Florence. Not the old popes with their triple crowns, but the shaved heads of the poverty orders with their coarse robes, rope ties, and humble footwear managing international properties were the men in Catholicism to watch. And the popes watched! And for optics they didn’t rely upon telescopes, but the lenses of power. Likewise, not the crowned tzar of Russia named Nicholas who was bowed to, but the tovarich in the workers’ cap named Lenin who wasn’t bowed to was the man to keep an eye on in Russia.
No, the billionaires of America don’t worry me. After all, they make America a rich country. Or would you prefer America to be poor? Or legally equal in mandated income mediocrity? Was Steve Jobs evil for being a billionaire? No? Then may he always have service.
It’s the denouncers of wealth who shill for humility and then retire to their mansions at night who worry me. As Mao said to Nixon in Peking, ‘I trust talking with you Republicans far more than your Democrats. Republicans talk openly about power and interests. Democrats are always pontificating about freedom and equality!’ Mao, of course, had much practical experience in the dialectical “tension” between lofty democratic rhetoric and mundane power abominations.
- In your wish list, in favor of the states, you place state law above federal law (#1), and propose that the policies of commerce should be determined by the states as well (#7). Of course, the Constitution is the Supreme Law of the land, and the federal courts are its arbiter. Likewise, the regulation of interstate commerce is granted to the federal government in the Constitution. State regulation of commerce was one of the reasons the Articles of Confederation failed, and the basis on which wars would soon have started between the trade-protective ex-colonial petty states of America as they squabbled over their local interests. Meanwhile, states and localities are free today to offer a wide variety of financial inducements and incentives to businesses to locate in their jurisdictions. You’ll have noticed though, of course, that when our state and local governments do this, they’re democratically denounced in the media as the lackeys of capital who subsidize the rich!
- You state without hesitation that money is the largest source of corruption in American politics (#4). Actually, the largest source of corruption is human nature — maybe the only one. Can you blame bacteria for corrupting the dead? Furthermore, the whole conversation assumes that the moral category of corruption is fundamental, and not just some ex post facto religious attribution.
Let’s assume that human nature is corrupt.
The question then is, Which proximate cause, when unleashing that corruption, is the least harmful? In the 20th century, that question was tested as a sumo match between republican capitalism and power socialism. Republicans have never sanctimoniously denied the interests of money. Hey, I’m interested in money! So are the merchants who provide me with their goods and services every day which then become mine. Meanwhile, the socialists said there wouldn’t be any power in communism— not after a few heads were cracked like eggs for historical omelets. But what a great head chef Stalin turned out to be! And on the basis of his growing reputation, he granted franchises to East Germany, North Korea, Cambodia, North Vietnam, and several other outlets eager to serve freedom. As an aside, recall that the USSR insisted that China was a company store. China demurred.
Now, which is more corrupt, and which would you rather live in close proximity to: productive money or the Ministry of Central Planning? Of course, you could always project an angelic heavenliness where food, clothes, shelter and gravity are forever gone. And Bob Denver would never run out of gas! No, that won’t do. In Money versus Ministry, the intellectual contest is strictly between Marksman and Marxsman. I have some NRA medals. So I’m clear on the aim in my sights. Of course, there’s always the windage of the drift and blowing of history to adjust for.
- Finally, you think it’s important that America should “lead the world into the future.” If that isn’t just the panegyrics of a nice idea, I ask, Why should America be the world’s leader? With what? Faster hamburgers? On more roads for more cars to eat more fast food faster while going forward in a rush for change? Who chose us? Does the world need a leader? What does “leader of the world” even mean? A pace car? A mechanical rabbit? A leash?
“The leader of the world” means that, after WWII and the collapse of the European world system and its global colonial hegemony, the US and the USSR, who had agreed to a marriage of convenience and the honeymoon of a common enemy for the duration of the war, were now arguing over how the world should be economically divided between them in a final and even fiery divorce. Fascism was a pesky and impertinent bisexual suitor who had flirted lewdly with both parties’ economic affections and political favors. Fascism got fixed.
Then came the unexpected death of the USSR.
And the US, as the survivor, became the world’s leader.
Voila! World leadership and the anointing of America. Long live Washington!
No less a statesman than Brzezinski has written books on the subject, such as Second Chance which I’m now reading. Brzezinski rightly scorns any silly myths of the Napoleonic crowning of America the First. But he also believes in world leadership. Yet the whole dispute is presumed in its assumption. The US isn’t the world’s leader. The world isn’t a thing to be led. A country might take over the world. But in that case, it wouldn’t lead the world, it would just possess it. Otherwise, the world isn’t our business, or anyone else’s. That doesn’t mean the world is a faraway place of which we know nothing — except in the typical freshman’s mind. And we do have the global navy. But that doesn’t mean we should try leading the world. Instead, we should try leading ourselves. And America should aim to arrive at where we plan to get. And then the rest of the world, with apportioned amazement, can look upon our accomplishments and all lesser performances with historical surmise.
Now I want to address the matter of the nation state.
Like so many other significant concepts — humanity, love, religion — “nation” is a large and ample word, even a political portmanteau. Imagine the freight and baggage the word “love” transports in people’s hearts and minds!
So let’s begin by producing a very brief history of the map-manifested pre-ideas of the nation state before we consider America: what America as a nation is and what it should be.
We’ll say that in Greek times there were two governmental possibilities for civilization. We won’t concern ourselves here with primitive societies and simple tribes, or with savagery and barbarism. In anthropology, all human constellations are morally equal and equally complex, and therefore equally available for research-and-promotion opportunities. But not here. In Greek times, the two civilized possibilities were city-states and empires. The Greek small states illustrate the first type, Persia and Macedon the second. As for anywhere east of West, there weren’t any city-states, and most certainly no democracies. There were only great empires and their broken pieces, and assorted petty kingdoms and warlord hordes. It doesn’t matter that 19th century industrialized Germans blessed their Roman-slaughtering forest ancestors — the ones with the buttered hair — as the founders of civilized freedom. That was just a Romantic variant of the Immaculate Conception. Therefore it’s not surprising that Nietzsche brutally denounced his fellow Germans with a vigor equal to Christian love.
Next, there’s Rome. Rome had tremendous institutions: legal, administrative, and military. But whether Rome constituted a nation when it was the so-called Roman Republic is open to dispute. In terms of manifest concepts, Roman history is insuperably untidy for political philosophy. For example, at one point, Rome was a monarchy for 500 years, but the Romans couldn’t say so in public. Talk about PC speech! Such large-scale lying isn’t conducive to scientific clarity or, as Hegel would say, even actual fact.
After Rome, things become clearer. There were no states or even their possibilities in medieval feudalism. A look at the map of “Germany” before Napoleon and Bismarck provides an immediate intuition of the sovereign arrangements of feudal Europe: hundreds of political entities, and none a nation or a nation state. True, there was an attempt at a global theocracy: the Church, which may not adhere to the Sermon on the Mount, though it might reflect Jesus’ populist march on the capital, and the savvy Romans’ assessment thereof. And there was also an attempt at the restoration of the Roman Empire: the Roman Empire of the Germans, which was led into its wars by crucifixes instead of eagles.
Next, the anti-feudal state-work of the absolute kings — such as that of Henry VIII of England and Louis XIV of France — shaped our contemporary nations. These states were large if not continental pieces of land ruled by a central governments and managed with effective centralized administrations. Yet they were still crown properties rather than natural nations.
Finally, Napoleon’s Enlightenment “liberation empire,” polyglot and oppressive, produced the Romantic passion reaction which completed the concept of nations and nationhood. The key to “nation” is nationality. Everyone in a nation shares the same nationality. And nationality is determined by the universality of the same native tongue. Linguists and psychologists in the 19th century identified the centrality of language to human identity. But notice: of language, not reason. Reason in the Enlightenment — and always before then — was equally available to everyone: humans everywhere are the rational animal. But languages are incommensurably different, and therefore so are their users. How different? World different.
A universality of God, reason and empire was replaced by the national babble of autonomous, proud and intolerant peoples.
As for the curious history of the universal language of Euclidean geometry, see Reality 101.
The result of the political anti-rationality of Romanticism was the organic concept of nationality: of France for the French, England for the English, Spain for the Spanish, Italy for Italians, and Germany for Germans. In grade school textbooks and all the leading media, this is easy and obvious. For example, Belgium is for the Belgians. Oh, whoops! There’s a sneaky little problem there, isn’t there? Southern Belgians speak French, and the northerners Dutch. But then, of course, Belgium is an artificial country invented in 1830 — like many such units soon to be drawn on the tribal map of Africa. Belgium should be two nation states. And then there’s the Basques in Spain, and the Sicilians in Italy. And, of course, some nations collect pieces along the way — like England gathering Scotland and Ireland to its bosom or some such anatomy. But it’s so admirable for the acquired tongue of my tastes that the Scots decided to think and see in English with such significance: Smith, Hume, and Boswell. Without Boswell, what would Johnson be today? A fat white footnote to online lexicography for the midterm? Smith and Hume are power plants of illumination that have never flickered or done a brown-out on humanity.
And then there’s the Irish who seceded and went native with Gaelic for a while.
With that introduction to nationhood, what about the United States as a nation?
The subject is immense, and so I’ll only address two topics for now. One, is America is an empire? And two, who is America for?
Until the 20th century, to be an empire — like England — was thought to be a splendid and excellent thing. Jolly good, what! You’re big. And no one possesses you. You can look at the map of the world and count the power patches of your national color. And you can look the world in the eye and say, Make my day!
Empires only got a bad name in the 20th century with the rise of communism. And that started early on with the Big Cold War: the Great Red War which ran from 1917 to 1991. Empires started disassembling with startling alacrity, especially because of the outcome of WWI.
As an alternative to the now-bad name of empire, Cold War rhetoric offered democracy. “Empire is evil, democracy is pure.” That’s an easy mantra to remember, and so both sides drilled their people in it for a century. As you can see from above, this was the same alternative offered by the West 2500 years ago: Athens versus Persia — and winning, and Athens versus Macedon — and losing. But the leading Greeks didn’t have the self-consciousness of God, as Hegel would say, and as Nietzsche would exult. And so people back then died for land, but not for ideas.
Meanwhile, progress in human nature is probably not possible, but progress in large political units is. And it’s happened. The American invention of the big republic is the greatest piece of political progress since the invention of the city which, amongst other things, sustains and defends men of leisure whose work is thought. (See my Republic, Ch. 6.) And yet, despite the facts of progress, the battle terms of the Cold War, even in America, were still conceptualized as Empire versus Democracy, a battle phrase found in both Reagan’s star-wars rhetoric and Lukas’s galactic movies.
And yet we know America isn’t a democracy. It’s a republic. It’s a big republic. And America overcame the impossibility of the big republic with a daring disregard of logic. Students, of course, who will soon be grown-ups and too busy to think, will insist that America is a democracy. “The question was on my Common Core exams. And I got the answer right! Besides, my teachers all said so! And they’re all card-carrying member of the American Federation of Teachers.” Right. Or, rather, left.
America isn’t a democracy.
Therefore, is America an empire? It could be. Just because a country is a republic doesn’t mean it can’t be an empire. Britain had a bi-cameral parliament, which was progressively dominated by the Commons, even as that country ruled the greatest empire ever.
As always, before thinking, discussing, arguing, arming and killing for a concept, you should first find out what it means.
There are many complete definitions of empire, as well as partial specifications. For our purposes here, let’s take just one — one that’s already been alluded to here.
An empire is a state which acquires the property of other peoples. In other words, empires are polyglot. Empires accumulate peoples with different languages, and therefore different cultures while maintaining the legal supremacy of their own.
Now consider America.
America’s great continental expansion historically went west. Alexander the Great went the other way. That was a great mistake. Caesar corrected that provincial stupidity and laid the foundations for France.
Throughout the 19th century, the general American assumption was either that Canada would be acquired by the United States through war, or that Canada would shrug off Britain and forthwith join America to our mutual and natural advantage. The merger would have been easy. Indeed, it was automatic upon request in the Articles of Confederation. And the easiness is explained by language. Canada and the United States both speak English. Of course there’s Quebec. Quebec City is my old ancestral half-way home on the way from France to America. My family Louis, in association with the other Louis, came over to the dark woods in 1680 to bring sunlight and civilization to the wilderness. In that ongoing project, I feel a sense of success.
Meanwhile, unlike Canada in the War of 1812 in which we didn’t conquer Canada, in 1846 the United States did conquer Mexico in the Mexican-American War. And to make the point, we raised the Stars and Stripes over Mexico City. Most Americans probably don’t know this. But I’m sure it’s a staple of Mexican textbooks. America’s invasion of Russia in 1919 likewise isn’t an American commonplace. But I’m certain it wasn’t neglected in Soviet education.
And yet, despite the victory — forever celebrated in the Marine Anthem — America didn’t want Mexico in the way it wanted Canada. Why? The Mexicans spoke a different language. They still do. And therefore Mexico was a different culture. But now, as Marx would say, the same economics can change that surprisingly quickly. Of course, that different culture also included a different religion. Catholic is Christian, but not to Protestants. Like Sunni versus Shi’ite, the two Christian super-factions continue to fight over who received possession of Christ’s love and peace.
So, no, America isn’t an empire. America is a large and wonderful nation covering the abundant center of an excellent continent. But size by itself doesn’t entail empire. Just because someone has a big mouth doesn’t mean the views that come out of it, like the views of the Grand Canyon, are spectacular. I was at a social event recently when a woman, as ample with fat as herself, started talking at me. [Verbal obesities mercifully deleted.]
Meanwhile, notice a contemporary peculiarity of American language politics. According to our definition of empire, America is an English nation in the way that it isn’t a Christian nation. Because America is monoglot, it isn’t an empire — despite the mostly temporary hijinks of Roosevelt, Root, Lodge, Mahan & Co.
At the same time, liberals in America cultivate Spanish as a living language of Hispanic immigrants. And corporations, smelling a peso — dollar, I mean! — print our packaging in the same way that Canada does by law: bilingually, because the French — I mean the Québécois — insist on verbal sovereignty.
Every so often the Québécois attempt to secede from Canada. Why? Because they’re oppressed and irritated by the English-speaking majority who speak English. Should they succeed in seceding, Canada gets reduced. If they don’t, Canada gets labeled an empire of oppression.
Consider the odd repercussions of the Democrats’ cultivation of Spanish in America.
If, as ex-President Fox repeatedly proposed, Spanish speakers should swamp the South West of America and reverse the Mexican-American War, then America gets reduced.
And if they don’t, then America is a bilingual country — not a nation — in which the dominant tongue marginalizes and even oppresses the minority.
Liberals hate empires.
And yet they’re making an empire of America right now.
Huh? And that’s not just any “huh”. That’s a geopolitical “huh”.
Either they know not what they do and they’re dangerous, like fools with power always are. Or they do know what they do, and they’re fomenting secession which, at last check, is treasonous. Regardless, they remind me of the senatorial class in the Roman Empire – educated, privileged, private baths — who began switching the homeland allegiance of their hearts from Rome to Christianity. They did it for justice, or love, or humanity — and to take Rome down a bit as a disaffected display of power for the power they had inherited but not earned. And they internally undermined their own country. Hey, it was fashionable. It felt good. The best people were doing it. It was cool! And then Rome got sacked. And later, as St. Augustine lay dying in 410 AD, his bishopric seat, the walled city of Hippo in northern Africa, was under siege by vandalizing barbarian hordes. I can imagine Augustine in a death sweat as the walls are being breached, “Geese, we didn’t mean to take down Rome that much!”
Not even St. Jude can save such cases. Humans must do it themselves — or die due to complications of chronic unconsciousness.
Our second question is, Whose country is America?
This subject is of ardent and perpetual interest to me. It was also a topic at the heart of the late presidential campaign. Or is that campaign still ongoing as Senator Schumer substitutes his daily ululations for the scratchy execrations of ex-Secretary Clinton? The English once talked of a tempest in a tea cup. This sounds like a typhoon made for TV.
However, there isn’t enough time, space, energy, grace or laughter left in this post — or me — to address the great matter of America: Whose is it? So I’ll save it for the next Gun Shot.
Meanwhile, notice in your wish list that you tentatively address the matter. I urge you now to do so whole-heartedly.
To whom does America belong? Who is America for?
And now, like Frank Sinatra in the immortal Hollywood avatar incarnation of Joe E. Lewis, I say,
It’s post time!