American Elephants


Representative Allen West Spoke in Florida. by The Elephant's Child

This seemed appropriate to add.



We Believe That America is Exceptional. Tell Us Why You Do. by The Elephant's Child

If our stalwart presidential candidates could pause in attacking each other long enough to talk about just why this is such an important election, and what they hope to do about it, I suspect we would all appreciate it.

When Barack Obama spoke during the campaign about hope and change, not enough people paid attention to his record as the most liberal senator in the Capitol. We were dazzled by footwork, and halos that appeared about the candidate’s head, presidential seals and promises to bring peace and non-partisanship to Washington DC.

Liberals are puzzled by our continuing affection for Ronald Reagan, whom they detested.  Ronald Reagan from 1975 to 1979 made more than 1,000 daily radio broadcasts, two-thirds of which he wrote himself.  They covered all sorts of topics from labor policy to the nature of communism, from World War II to the second Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty, from the future of Africa and East Asia to that of the United States and the world. *

Richard Mitchell, whom I quote often, said in The Graves of Academe:

Thinking is done in language, and understanding, a result of thinking, is expressed in language, but, when we simply adopt and recite what has been expressed, we have committed neither thinking or understanding.

It’s not easy to get your ideas down on paper. The radio broadcasts were roughly 400-500 words long, and about every subject ranging from Cuba, to Peace, Human Rights, Intelligence and the Media, Rhodesia, SALT Talks, Arms Control. In these thousand broadcasts, Reagan said succinctly what he thought about a vast array of subjects. And it’s why he could explain so clearly to Mr. Gorbachev just what he had in mind.

Richard Mitchell also said that the business of writing is to stay put on the page so that you can go back and look at the words and see where you have been stupid. Writing is a special case of language that allows you to get it right.

If our candidates had thought a little more deeply about just why America is so important, maybe we wouldn’t have an incumbent who believes that America is not exceptional.

Herbert Meyer, assistant to the director of the CIA during the Reagan administration, wrote at American Thinker “Why, Precisely, is America so Great?”

“The one thing that President Obama and all the GOP contenders for is job agree about is that America is the greatest country in the world. They all use this line in ever speech they make, and it always brings the  crowd cheering to its feet.  But none of these politicians ever quite gets around to explaining precisely why we’re the world’s greatest country.  That’s too bad, because it’s a serious question that deserves a serious answer — right now, before Republicans choose their candidate and before the voters make their choice in November.”

He goes on to point out that politics is the relationship between the individual and the State, the relationship that we have been struggling to get right for thousands of years. Our Constitution established a relationship between the individual and the State that was unique in history.  The individual was in charge, the State would serve the individual, and there would be an arms’ length distance between the two. It is this unique relationship that made all the difference.

If you think of this relationship as a kind of operating system — like the operating systems that drive our computers and our cell phones — you can see how it’s been steadily modified and upgraded throughout our history.  In this sense, each new law enacted by Congress has been an effort to improve the operating system.  At times in our history, for instance during President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration, the changes have been so substantial that it’s less like an upgrade and more like a wholly new version of the operating system that’s been installed.  But never in our history have we replaced the original operating system — that extraordinary, uniquely American relationship between the individual and the State — upon which our country was founded.

Until now.

Do read the whole essay, it’s worth your while.

*See Reagan In His Own Hand.




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