I read once that during the darkest days of the Civil War, when it seemed to the president he was presiding over the destruction of the union he loved, Abraham Lincoln could sometimes be heard pacing back and forth upstairs in the White House and groaning aloud, “Oh, why did God ever put me in this place?”
When we consider the lives of great men, we sometimes find it difficult to comprehend how fearful, uncertain, even despairing they sometimes were on their roads to achievement. Because we already know the end of the story, their victory seems to us assured. I think it’s good to remember that it very much did not seem that way to them. What made men like Lincoln and George Washington so great, so worth commemorating, is not so much their ultimate triumph but their actions at those moments when triumph seemed furthest away.
When the American electorate made what I believe to be the serious error of electing Barack Obama president, there were those among my conservative friends who felt a political apocalypse was upon us. It was the end of days, the ascension of the anti-Christ, the death knell of liberty and so on. Obama is a spoiled and inexperienced narcissist with a theoretical view of governance completely at odds with reality and an ivory tower set of values out of keeping with those at the core of our hard won freedoms. He’s done a lot of harm to this country already and will do more before we get the chance to give him the electoral heave-ho – sooner I pray than later.
But rather than an apocalypse, I think this political moment – any serious setback really – is better regarded as a Valley Forge or a Second Bull Run: one of those tests of our courage, durability and will to defend what matters most, whether from genuinely evil enemies like the jihadi abroad or simply from the latest gang of thieves and idiots to take over our government here at home.
Happy President’s Day.
I don’t usually post on Sundays, but in honor of the day, allow me to refer you to this excellent piece by Jamie Glazov over at FrontPage Magazine. He notes the connection between the Islamist hatred of Valentine’s Day and the feminist hatred of Valentine’s Day and comes up with what I think are some very sharp observations and explanations.
Here’s some of the meat:
“Valentine’s Day is a “shameful day” for the Muslim world and for the radical Left. It is shameful because private love is considered obscene, since it threatens the highest of values: the need for a totalitarian order to attract the complete and undivided attention, allegiance and veneration of every citizen. Love serves as the most lethal threat to the tyrants seeking to build Sharia and a classless utopia on earth, and so these tyrants yearn for the annihilation of every ingredient in man that smacks of anything that it means to be human.”
But really, read the whole thing here, it’s well worth it.
Former Congressman Charlie Wilson died this week. If you haven’t read George Crile’s book Charlie Wilson’s War, I recommend it. It was made into a Tom Hanks film because Wilson was the one liberal Hollywood could find who did anything whatsoever to help Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II win the Cold War while the rest of the left threw its collective apron over its collective face and ran from the room shrieking like an hysterical old woman or Frank Rich. But I apologize: I’m being unfair to hysterical old women.
None of which is to belittle what Wilson did. Like Reagan – and unlike the rest of the post-sixties left – he understood the Soviets were the bad guys. He knew they could be got in Afghanistan and get them he did with secret funding and weapons programs for the Afghan resistance. But the point about Wilson’s sanctification stands. All those right wingers who spoke out against the Soviets got nothing but grief and name calling from the media. One – count him, one – liberal joined in – and he’s da man!
All throughout Crile’s book, Wilson turns to right wingers for the help and support he needs and all throughout the book the right wingers are treated as if they’re nuts and extremists. This is so typical of left-wing reporting that it’s a bit galling. The right wing is crazy for being right wing even though they’re, like, right. The left is good simply by virtue of being left. It’s really revelatory of the way our media think. With an attitude like that, how can you ever be convinced to change your mind?
I’m reminded of a conversation I had many years ago in London with a bestselling British author. A charming woman. Wrote those enormous doorstop lady’s books with flowery covers and a lot of fancy clothes and hanky panky inside. At dinner one night, she kept referring to Margaret Thatcher as “That bitch.” She did it again and again, until finally I said, “I don’t mean to contradict, but didn’t Margaret Thatcher save this country from absolute economic disaster?” After a moment, she answered grumpily, “Well… yes.” Then a pause. Then: “But she’s still a bitch!”
Anyway, rest in peace, Congressman. Say hi to Reagan. In fact, ask him if he’d mind coming back and running for president.
There’s a really well-done interview with me posted at the excellent CNSNews website. Includes a nice mention of my new novel The Long Way Home which – have I mentioned? – you can buy on Amazon if you hit the link.
But I also appreciate that Senior Staff Writer Penny Starr did a fine job of accurately reporting my views on the film Avatar and on Hollywood leftism in general, especially this:
“Klavan said he does not blame Cameron or other left-leaning Hollywood types for the lack of films or books reflecting conservative values. He said it is up to people with those values — and the money to back projects — to promote them, not just politically but culturally.”
Read the whole thing here.
It’s boffo! The new Klavan on the Culture video from PJTV. Recently the Germans put on a musical called “Hope” about the election of Barack Obama. Knowing the Germans sometimes get their political leaders all wrong, I decided to write an Obama musical of my own. Impressario Justin Folk supplied the Broadway level visuals.