Wednesday, October 22, 2008
YouTube Wednesday:Honorable Surrender
At some point you get tired of all the fighting and yearn for peace.
NEVER SURRENDER. Last week, our favorite spitfire blogger Rachel Lucas sought to stem the tide of defeatism that's sweeping through the conservative and Republican forces who should be fighting for John McCain and Sarah Palin. She chose for a dramatic metaphor the movie Lord of the Rings, specifically Aragorn's speech to his troops in their darkest hour, when all seemed lost even before the final battle had been joined. I admire her spirit and implacable resolve, but I think there's a better movie metaphor available, one (or maybe two) more in line with American experience and the current situation. In Last of the Mohicans, the commander of a British fort during the French and Indian War faces a grim prospect. Without immediate, heavy reinforcements, his troops will be overrrun by the French and everyone killed, including his two daughters. When he learns from the lips of the enemy general that no reinforcements will be coming, per the orders of his superior officer, he contemplates the treachery within his own ranks and decides on an honorable surrender. That's the scene shown above. Seems very civilized, doesn't it?
It's the same note I hear in the recent columns of Kathleen Parker, National Review contributor and token esteemed female conservative in the pages of the Washington Post. Here is the beginning and some key excerpts of her most recent essay published online at both NRO and WAPO.
It's Not the Economy
It's the ugliness.
By Kathleen Parker
At this juncture, I wouldn't want to bet even a subprime mortgage on this presidential election. As perhaps never before, multiple hidden factors could alter the outcome.
Judging by polls, it would seem that Barack Obama will be our next president. Monday's Washington Post-ABC tracking poll, for example, showed Obama even winning 22 percent of conservatives and getting 12 percent support among Republicans...
Among the hidden factors is the so-called Bradley Effect, meaning that whites lie to pollsters about their support for a black candidate. It is cited as the reason Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley lost to George Deukmejian in the 1982 California governor's race, despite polls showing him up to seven points ahead.
But equally significant this time may become known as the Reverse-Bradley Effect: whites who would never admit to voting for a black man, but do. And, expanding the definition somewhat, Republicans and conservatives who would never admit to voting for a Democrat, especially one so liberal...
"Palling around with terrorists," as Sarah Palin said of Obama, gets to an underlying xenophobic, anti-Muslim sentiment. Using surrogates who strategically use Obama's middle name, Hussein, feeds the same dark heart.
This tactic, denied but undeniable, has been effective with target audiences, some of whom can be viewed on YouTube entering a Palin rally in Pennsylvania. One cherubic older fellow totes a stuffed Curious George monkey wearing an Obama sticker as a hat....
One can hope that the uglies will cancel each other out. That leaves an X Factor of possibly exponential proportions that includes not just the Bradleys, but the Reverse-Bradleys.
I've received too many e-mails and had too many conversations that began, "Just between you and me," and ended with, "I wouldn’t want anyone at work to know," to believe that this is an insignificant trend.
Sitting quietly at their desks are an unknown number of discreet conservatives who surprise themselves as they mull their options. Appalled by McCain’s erratic behavior, both in dealing with the financial crisis and his selection of an unsuitable running mate, they will quietly (and with considerable trepidation) vote for Obama.
Including, we can only surmise, Kathleen Parker. She's produced a little triptych of unhappy columns of late, beginning with her dismissal of Palin, who seems to be from Alaska rather than South Carolina, and followed by a moving defense of Christopher Buckley, who managed to get himself fired his resignation accepted from his father's magazine for endorsing Obama. You see, Kathleen knows Christopher Buckley and recognizes all that is fine in him (I'm reminded of Mr. Fabian, the talent on stage at 8:00 into this clip from Tombstone). But there's no room in the vicious conservative world for the truly rarefied souls we normally find only in the pages of a Barbara Cartland romance novel.
"It's ugly. You're all ugly." (8:55 in)
Poor Kathleen. Yes, it's the 'Ugly' that's got all the hens (male and female) squawking in the Republican coop. There's been way too much cannon fire and chain shot flying around over the last eight years. Isn't it just possible that if we let the Democrats have their turn this time that all the malevolence will be drained out of the national dialogue? Can't good people agree that it would be a good thing, regardless of mere political ideology, if we all just consented to the election of the first black candidate for president and got this immense combination milestone-millstone out of the way? Maybe the Democrats would stop their ugly, and that would mean we could find candidates of our own who weren't so committed to ugly, and aren't we all just completely exhausted, sickened, and drained by the continuous rhetorical ugly that's poisoned this nation for so many years? I mean, what's the worst that could happen?
Sorry, but the ugly don't stop just because somebody surrenders.
YouTube doesn't have the scene where -- after the touching ceremony above -- the French general Montcalm gives Magua exquisitely diplomatic permission to massacre the defeated English to the last man, woman and child, but you can probably imagine it if you're not Kathleen Parker, David Brooks, Christopher Buckley, Peggy Noonan, or Michael Smerconish.
I want to be clear about one more thing. I'm not saying that Rachel Lucas was completely wrong in her choice of movie metaphor. I think she's, if anything, a mite premature. The scene she cites will apply to an even darker hour, when the veto-proof congress will seek to shut down free speech for conservatives by reimposing the Fairness Doctrine. That's the day when you'll find suburban Republicans in the streets carrying banners and, yes, torches, pikes, swords, and AK-47s.
For "Gondor and Rohan," read conservatives and Republicans.
There's a whole ocean of ugly on its way, and the dainty sacrifice of Christopher Buckley, er, "Christo," isn't going to forestall it, honey. Besides, we still might win. Wouldn't that be a bitch?
UPDATE. By the way. Rachel has a new post "discovering" someone we wrote about back in August. Oh well. We're still very fond of her.