One of the legacies of the Clinton years will be a degradation of
standards for selecting political leaders. The bar is now so low that
just about anyone could slither over it on the way to a run for the
presidency of the United States.
It should be noted that Clinton did not start, but merely completed,
the process of defining-down expectations of politicians. Over the
years, we have gradually come to accept that they lie about what they
have done, and make promises they do not intend to keep. We have decided
that corruption is simply the nature of the political beast, and there
is nothing we can do about it.
One might think this understanding would make us more vigilant about
how these people handle their jobs, considering that they have the power
to get us into wars and take control of our lives and property. But a
large majority of us remain profoundly uninterested in matters of state
and governance. We turn over the management of our nation to people we
believe cannot be trusted, and then, turn our backs on what they are
Perhaps this indifference is founded on a perception that the
Constitution will limit the damage; that a check and balance of powers
between the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government
will shield us; that the adversarial nature of two major parties will
keep us centered; and that the news media will be diligent in deterring
wrongdoing by shining a light on it.
However, if these are the reasons underlying public detachment, one
might expect to see a renewal of citizen interest based on the growing
perception that the Constitution is largely ignored and selectively
interpreted to serve social activism; that the checks and balances of
government have become lopsidedly weighted toward executive power; that
the two major parties are distinguishable only by rhetoric and not by
action; and that the news media have sold out to an ideological agenda
and become partisan political players.
But these negative observations about the workings of government have
not led to a greater involvement of the people, but to a greater
withdrawal into cynicism. This has created a moral vacuum into which
opportunists have moved.
Commenting upon the series of school shootings, including one in
Texas, presidential aspirant George W. Bush said that “there is a wave
of evil” spreading across America. A few weeks later, he scolded his
party for being too negative by holding a view that America is
“slouching towards Gomorrah.”
Are we slouching towards Gomorrah? Have we lowered standards not only
for our leaders but for ourselves as well? My inclination to say yes is
founded, not entirely, but for the most part, upon the growing influence
of members of the irreligious left on our government and our culture.
They are succeeding in their mission to impose their twisted views upon
America’s people and institutions, and to savage those who resist.
In its mildest form, this self-righteous authoritarianism is
illustrated by the reaction of British journalist Martyn Harris: “Pull
out a Monte Cristo at a dinner party, and the political liberal turns
into the nicotine fascist.”
In its more advanced stages, we see a group of people who will go to
obscene extremes to impose their “values” upon others, including the use
of guns, rockets and bombs to get it done in Kosovo; and chemical gas,
tanks and helicopters to get it done in Waco.
In a recent article that appeared in Salon magazine, Camille Paglia,
a radically brilliant thinker and writer, had a few scorching things to
say about a painting that appeared in the Brooklyn Museum of Art. The
painting was entitled “The Holy Virgin Mary,” and featured a distorted
version of Mary, splattered with elephant dung, against a background of
dozens of pictures of female sexual parts.
Paglia wrote, “And I’m just as sick of ‘Catholic bashing’ as
Giuliani. … I resent the double standard that protects Jewish and
African-American symbols and icons but allows Catholicism to be
routinely trashed by supercilious liberals and ranting gay activists.
… That a Jewish collector and a Jewish museum director had no
compunction about selecting a parodic image of the Madonna … shows
either stupidity or malice. The Brooklyn show has fomented hatred in
this country. …”
When members of the irreligious left go on crusades to wipe out
bigotry, and when they preach the need for tolerance that does not judge
and inclusiveness that has no borders, they have forfeited their right
to hatemonger against others.
If they knowingly practice exclusion, intolerance and bigotry against
those who oppose them, they are dangerous hypocrites; if they do not
have insight into their destructive hypocrisy, they are delusional, and
even more dangerous.
They must be identified and called out as a negative force in