As I look around at what is happening in the formerly United States of America, I feel the chill wind of disorientation. Are we not, in our fiscal incontinence and pullulating political correctness, piling up our own funeral pyre? Have not our politicians surrendered to a horrible venality as they struggle above all to maintain the reins of power, even to the point of allowing political calculation to trump their duty to save the lives of those diplomats who were murdered in Benghazi? Will the festering swamp of mendacity that surrounds that event ever be drained? The Obama administration has been on overdrive since September 11 to spin the event, lying, covering up, triangulating, and otherwise endeavoring to distract the public’s attention from this extraordinary attack on sovereign U.S. territory — our consulate in Benghazi — and the brutal murder of an American ambassador and three aides. What does it all mean? And what do the revelations about David Petraeus’s amorous adventures and pseudo-revelations about General Allen portend? Does anyone believe that it was a coincidence that they surfaced when they did?
I am not alone, I know, in sensing a fateful shift in the temper, the emotional weather, of America. I cannot pretend to know what it portends. In the course of his infamous speech, Powell quoted Euripides: “Those whom the gods would destroy they first make mad.” He focused on Britain’s insane and self-destructive immigration policy. We have before us florid examples of other sorts of insanity. I sense the formation of a steely reaction to our present madness. Whether it will be too little too late is impossible to say. I hope not. But hope, like possibility, is a cheap commodity — the last evil in Pandora’s box of tricks, according to some. This much is clear: a great deal that we have taken for granted in this blessed country — about opportunity, about prosperity, about liberty and the tenor of social relations — is about to change. Whether we’ll manage to restore our former innocence is up for grabs. I’ve retired from the betting game, so I will refrain from offering a prognostication.