Rush Limbaugh says he’s ashamed to be an American. Glenn Beck says it’s time to surrender. Neal Boortz entitles his book summing up 42 years of talk-radio stardom “Maybe I Should Just Shut Up And Go Away.”
One of our most effective columnists, Paul Hollrah, who served twice on the Electoral College and beat the Democratic establishment and got voting booths into Oklahoma, says “The game is over!” and he may quit writing. A female Army veteran tells me how discouraged she is about America after being denied a rather unspectacular job because, it was alleged, her writing skills were inadequate. She’s a Harvard graduate and we met thanks to an article she wrote in the Reader’s Digest.
Is this America, or the Losers’ Lounge?
They say the only art form invented in America is jazz. They’re wrong. We also invented the pep talk, credited largely to the famous Norwegian-born football coach of Notre Dame, Knute Rockne. (If you want to achieve insider’s rank, pronounce the “K” in “Knute”!) The only trouble with pep talks is, they sound too much like pep talks. And, if you lower your voice and use reason, logic and history to lift team spirits, they’re not really pep talks anymore.
I’m as bummed out at America’s decline as I can arrange to get. The biggest bummer is the high number of Americans who are not bummed out at all, but rejoice that at last we have a president who knows how to give things away! Some of my best friends really think it’s over for America. I belong to the faction that can differentiate among a sneeze, bronchitis and double-pneumonia. I feel our need is closer to Kleenex than to the emergency room.
Dictatorships seem to be more aware than free countries that defeatism leads to defeat. In bad-guy armies, soldiers have been shot dead by their officers just for grousing and grumbling about the way things are going at the front. In Nazi Germany death was actually “rationed.” Local newspapers were allowed to print only a limited few daily death notices of young men lost in Hitler’s wars.
Look around. If America’s losing, who’s winning? Certainly not our old adversary in what used to be the Soviet Union. There’s no illegal immigration problem in Russia. Communist China, perhaps? “60 Minutes” is only rarely likely to win my geo-political praise, but I’d gladly volunteer to hug Morley Safer OR Lara Logan in return for more programs like that of March 3 when they exposed “mile after mile after mile after mile” (four times!) of empty buildings and ghost cities somebody screwed up and built in eastern China. The 1956 Hungarian Revolution that changed Communism and the world was precipitated by one incident of public disorder in front of the Communist Parliament in Budapest, Oct. 23, 1956. In Communist China there are an average of 200 incidents of public disorder every day!
Could those Mideast nations in the grip of the Religion-of-Peace be exciting your envy? Tell us your opinion when you’ve been there; that is, if you get back! Syria, anybody?
It’s much better losing when you’re not losing to anybody. The world has become an ethnic house-of-horrors where nobody’s winning. So, who do we surrender TO, Glenn?
America’s looking better. Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal tells us American business is sitting on mountains of money, and America seems to be where the world still wants to live. One more election might fix it all!
One perk of talk radio I hadn’t thought of until it blessed me is the ability to quench life-long curiosities. In the Battle of the Belgian Bulge of 1944, our surrounded “Battling Bastards of Bastogne” were offered sweet surrender terms by the Germans. “Surrender, and your troops will eat well and sleep warm tonight. Refuse, and you die!”
The historic answer from American Gen. Anthony McAuliffe was said to be “Nuts!” For years I wondered if it were really “Nuts!” or something stronger! In my first year in radio I interviewed the general and asked him if it were really “Nuts!” He assured me it was. And that’s a good reply to those who say America is great and to those who say America is through.
During World War II, an American Air Force chaplain was flying with his men on a bombing mission over Germany. The plane was badly shot up, port engine smoking, one starboard engine shut down. Part of the tail shot away. Flak coming through the belly and exiting through the top.
The chaplain wormed his way up to the cockpit and told the pilot, “Captain, it looks pretty bad. The men back there are all cussing.”
The pilot replied, “Padre, get back to me when they quit cussing and start praying!”
Mark Twain gave us a pretty good pep talk; “Fear knocked at the door. Faith answered. No one was there.”
We need just a little more of that bravery from the Bulge.
The British were not braver than the French at the Battle of Waterloo.
They were just brave for five minutes longer.