The Great Divide (and search RR) has been a subject of interest and debate among readers. Our friends from the Left honor me with accusations of being a lone rogue in shining a light on the path that appears to be tearing the country apart. Unfortunately as thinkers and commentators across the country have pointed out, the notion of such a division, the Great Divide, is an enterprise shared by people of many political and ideological colorations.
A recent piece on this is from Peggy Noonan – ‘The Divider vs the Thinker’ – that appeared in the 29oct11 WSJ. In it she compares and contrasts President Barack Obama’s current efforts with those of Representative Paul Ryan. What caught my eye in her analysis was the similarity of concepts that she highlights with those in RR. Her overarching introduction immediately gets to the heart of the matter –
People are increasingly fearing the divisions within, even the potential coming apart of, our country. Rich/poor, black/white, young/old, red/blue: The things that divide us are not new, yet there's a sense now that the glue that held us together for more than two centuries has thinned and cracked with age. That it was allowed to thin and crack, that the modern era wore it out.
The glue of which she speaks was the “shared knowledge” of our past, especially that there was something “providential” about our beginnings. Overwhelmingly, we had “a general understanding that we were something new in history, a nation founded on ideals and aspirations — liberty, equality — and not mere grunting tribal wants. We were from Europe but would not be European: No formal class structure here, no limits, from the time you touched ground all roads would lead forward. You would be treated not as your father was but as you deserved.”
From whatever future awaits us, she opines that we will look back at this as the “Great Coming Apart” during which we suffered stresses and strains where “half the country isn’t speaking to the other half”, quoting a moderate Democrat.
From the President on down to the unwashed OWS protesters on the street, the bank executives are vilified for their compensation and their bailouts. These bankers broke no laws, but scrupulously followed the flawed and frayed dicta coming from Washington, obviously gaming them in the process. However, no one even whispers the role of the government’s Fannie and Freddie, and the millions that their “politically connected” executives (e.g. Franklin Raines and James Johnson who became very rich) pocketed from playing their side of the game. You can drive a truck through the blind spots of the Left. (The Republicans see no sins on the part of the financial corporations.) Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner analyze the role of the elites in their Reckless Endangerment, which “should be the bible” of the OWS gang.
In a recent speech Republican Paul Ryan scores President Obama - “Instead of appealing to the hope and optimism that were hallmarks of his first campaign, he has launched his second campaign by preying on the emotions of fear, envy and resentment.” Ryan then goes on to focus on the "true sources of inequity in this country," which are "corporate welfare that enriches the powerful, and empty promises that betray the powerless.", identifying our real class warfare that is "a class of bureaucrats and connected crony capitalists trying to rise above the rest of us, call the shots, rig the rules, and preserve their place atop society."
The last is a message to Republicans who also need to broaden and shape up their act. Fortunately, there are many candidates hoping to run against Obama who have serious economic plans that contain tax reforms that do exactly that – stop corporate and union welfare, let the bastards compete on their own merits instead of hiding behind the government’s purse and gun. But that kind of reform is not yet embraced by the elite cadres of either party. And that has given rise to the Tea Parties and now to the Occupiers. The only problem is that they each want to go in opposite ways, and take ‘their America’ with them.