Work and Days

Defining Insanity Down

Leave Clint Alone

There were about 110,000 American soldiers involved in storming Iwo Jima. 700-900 were African-Americans, less than 1% of the aggregate force. The Clint Eastwood films of the battle focused on the flag raising on Mt. Suribachi, where African-Americans were not present, and the caves on the Japanese side, where they likewise were not in evidence.

Eastwood is now damned by the racialist Spike Lee and others for not including African-American faces among generic shots of U.S. forces. Examine the logic of this creepy criticism: from now on, apparently, we are to guess at racial and gender percentages present at historical events. Thus the number of WAVEs, Hispanics, whites, Blacks, Asians, etc. must be guestimated on World War II battlefields, and then actors and cast members in those proposed percentages must be represented on the screen, regardless of the general theme or focus of the film.

Apparently Spike Lee does not believe that it is possible that those on Suribachi who looked down at the invasion force, or those on landing craft who scanned the beaches might well have seen 99% of the force and not any of the 1% minority. One could get carried away with this: weren’t there more percentages of whites present around the Mandela movement in South Africa that appear on films; did civil rights films accurately portray the racial breakdowns present in the movement? And the LA gang genre—weren’t there whites and Hispanics involved in anti-gang activity whose presence was Trotskyized?

This monitoring is rather scary, since it recalls Soviet films, in which, regardless of the topic discussed, class struggle and solidarity had to resonate through the choice of the sets, dialogue, and camera shots.

A modest suggestion? We apparently need a new “Office of Racial Representation” in which a government commissar will monitor all films, and either censor or airbrush each take to achieve the correct racial formula deemed necessary to promote perceived contemporary “fairness”. God help us all if we devolve into a European-Canadian big brother atmosphere of political groupthink.

The Obama Warp

I remember how George Allen was pilloried as a neo-racist for his macaca remark and his fascination with Confederate memorabilia. Why then is James Webb being talked up in liberal circles for a Vice President nomination, given his far more evident Confederate sympathies?

I also thought identifying with a candidate on the basis of race was illiberal. Why then is a 90% or more African-American majority voting for Obama deemed a mere matter of “pride”? And what is so admirable that millions in Africa and the Middle East suddenly inform our journalists abroad that they would change their opinion of American should we elected a person of color, or the son of an African, or somebody who was once a Muslim, or someone with a middle name like Hussein? In other words, why would liberals think it is liberal to favor someone solely on the basis of shared race or religion—a bias that was the traditional enemy of the Enlightenment? These examples could be multiplied, but we are starting to see that when Obama is in question, all previous liberal ideologies are suddenly up for discussion, adjudicated only by the degree they help or hurt Obama.

Rethinking Rev. Wright

The conventional wisdom is that Rev. Wright was a bullet dodged, given the serial losses from Ohio and Texas onward. Perhaps. But note that after the Wright mess, Obama’s resonance in the African-American community radically increased, as his racial fides was strengthened; and former 60% margins consistently peaked at 90% and above. So too abroad: the more Rev. Wright was heard to damn the US, evoke Hiroshima, and dub America a terrorist nation, the more Obama was embraced by millions abroad in Africa and the Middle East as a kindred soul. In other words, denouncing Wright was accepted as genuine by most Americans, but to others as a sort of wink and a nod, pro forma distancing (as Wright himself noted) from a racist critic of the United States who otherwise strengthened Obama’s maverick credentials.

Some simple Sound bites

Energy: Anwr, off-shore drilling, shale, tar sands, liquid coal—none of these will make us energy independent. But they will give us the necessary bridge to new generation fuels, ensuring in the interim that we don’t go broke, enrich our enemies, or hurt the poor until we reach the nirvana of wind, solar, electric cars, biofuels, and nuclear power. What is so moral about refusing to pump oil carefully on our soil, but demanding that the reckless Russians or Saudis drill ever more? And can we rightly suspect that the Left, by its inaction in Congress on energy production and radical environmentalism, welcomes the gas shortage? Note their glee at less burning of fossil fuels, more state centralized control with unionized mass transit, and, as Obama noted, an end to our crass SUV culture. Now if only Nascar would shut down and Winnebago plants close…

Iraq: Al-Qaeda, not us, chose Iraq as the main theater of battle in the war between radical Islam and the West. They went there, lost, disgraced their cause, turned off Muslims and in the process strengthened our hand in Afghanistan and weakened their ability to carry out operations at home against us. We learned how to fight on their home turf and win hearts and minds, they learned how to lose their fight at home—and the population in the bargain. By going into Iraq, Al Qaeda, not us, took its eye off the ball in Europe, the US, and Afghanistan.

Immigration: Close the border. All the other acrimonies can be then worked out, once hundreds of thousands cease coming illegally across the border.

The War on Terror: it’s hard to cite freedoms lost by everyday Americans due to government action; it’s easy to cite liberties lost by our collective fear and political correctness—whether it is a matter in the West of producing a novel, cartoon, opera, film, or papal commentary.

The Mortgage Crisis: 96% of monthly mortgages are met. Speculators and investors got hurt when home prices fell to their 2002-3 levels; first-time, entry-level buyers are being given a windfall.

Taxes and Spending: Tax cuts raised more revenue; but excess federal spending squandered the additional income. The solution, then, is to keep tax cuts, cut federal spending, and use the ensuing surplus to pay down the debt.

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