Friday, November 29, 2002

Tuck it up, Tommy!
Peggy Noonan suggests that the usual cast of crybabies Stand Up and Take It Like an American:
In the America of 50 years ago and a 100 years ago and 1776, this is how it went:

You, a citizen, decide you want to belong to a group but you believe in "A" and they believe in "B." There is a clash. Here the old American myth kicks in. You, the citizen, stick with what you believe, and don't join the organization. You won't lie about what you believe, and they won't change what they believe. So they don't let you in. You pay a price for where you stand. But you can keep standing there.
Now that rough old myth has been disturbed. Now it's, "I have my views and your group has its views. If you don't accept me with my views you're wrong, and will suffer in court." Now you insist on joining. You insist they change to accommodate you. You don't respect their position, you insist they alter it. You get a lawyer. You weep and rend your garments.
Let's pick on Tom Daschle.

He, as a leader of a great political party, is an example-setter for the young. Some of them might look to him as a famous man who knows how to be an adult. After the dreadful showing of the Democrats in the election he held a news conference in which he famously blamed Rush Limbaugh and other conservative radio talk show hosts for inciting people to . . . well, to not liking Tom Daschle. Rush says mean things about Tom. His listeners, who Tom Daschle subtly suggests are possibly unstable and insane--how could they not be, they're conservative--get a little too excited when they hear Rush, and start to make rude sounds. "The threat level goes up," says Tom Daschle.

Oh, please. Boo hoo.
Well Anna, and Tom, I have never written of this or even spoken of it, but let me tell you something.

My political philosophy is conservative. I am pro-life. I live in New York City, surrounded by modern people. They are mostly left-wing, they are all pro-choice, many of them passionately and even furiously so. I have written books saying Ronald Reagan is a great man and Hillary Clinton is a bad woman. I know something about being a target, and I know something about hate mail. I have received not hundreds but thousands of the most personal and obscene denunciations; I have received death threats; I have been threatened with blackmail; I have been informed that I do not deserve to live; I have received a three page typed double spaced letter with perfect grammar and syntax the first sentence of which was "Dr. Ms Noonan, Let me explain to you why you are a . . ." and here I cannot suggest the word used. But damned if he didn't make a good case. I used to hear regularly from a woman who'd tell me she hopes I have a brain hemorrhage.

I have never talked about this because I would consider speaking of it both self-pitying and self-aggrandizing. But there's another reason. I'm a grownup. I know you pay a price for the stands you take.
So that's what I think our culture is losing and wants to get back: The old stoic sense that you pay a price to stand where you stand. This, ultimately, is the story not only of all adults who fully take part in the world but of America itself.
Hard cheese to the usual cast of whiners who use "consensus", "multilateralism", and related trappings as a smoke screen for their tedious agendas. But that's just me and I'm unmutual.