The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Thursday, November 28, 2019


On this Thanksgiving day, it worth thinking just a bit about this vast country that we all call home. Sure, on a personal level, we can all be thankful for our families, for the health and well-being of our significant others, our children, and grandchildren along with all of our extended families and friends. We can be thankful that unlike many, many places in the world, we live in freedom without the threat of widespread violence and upheaval. We live in a place where tens of millions live lives that are divorced from the political turmoil in the nation's capital—they work and play, they strive to better themselves and their families, and they reject the notion that the United States of America is systemically racist or anti-woman, or hegemonic, or irredeemably corrupt.

Think about it for half a second and you realize that millions upon millions of immigrants, gave up their home country, their culture, their family, their friends, and their livelihood to immigrate (often at substantial risk) to this wonderful place that is the United States. That's right ... it's a wonderful place no matter what some of our citizens and far too many of our politicians tell you.

Those millions of immigrants have assimilated into the American culture and have achieved at least some of what they wanted when they arrived here. On this day, they and their families give thanks for the opportunity that freedom has granted them and for a society that has by and large welcomed them.

And yet, storm clouds are brewing. Jason Willick writes about a book authored by historian David M. Kennedy:
The dominant American view until the late 20th century was that “we welcome all kinds of people but we expect them to assimilate into some range of standard values, behaviors, aspirations, ambitions.” Now, diversity itself has become the paramount value in parts of American culture. When celebrating difference replaces creedal values like liberty, fair play and respect for the Constitution, that undercuts “the project of assimilation,” Mr. Kennedy says.

Diverse societies need stories, even myths, to articulate what they have in common or what they are working toward collectively. Mr. Kennedy suggests that academic historians no longer contribute to this national understanding. When he was trained in the 1960s, most historians agreed on a “master narrative about American history.” It was based on the “perfection of the idea of democracy of this country.” That process was “incremental, slow, back and forth” but you could “still trace the arc.” And it gave Americans a way to talk about their national project.

Academic history is dominated today by “subsidiary questions” about “ethnic or racial or gender” groups, Mr. Kennedy says. These are “all interesting and legitimate stories in their own right,” but they have “squeezed energy out” of “the big, integrative, long-term project.” He worries that “the history of America is no longer the history of America—it’s about things that happened in America. But the fact that they happened in America is kind of incidental to the story.”
In it's own way, Thanksgiving allows a subtle rehash of the "story" of America that articulates what we all have in common. We cannot let a small but very vocal group of Leftists destroy the story with their own warped view of our history. We cannot let a narrative that emphasizes the obvious flaws that exist in EVERY culture dominate the story of a country that has allowed so many to achieve so much. Thanksgiving is our nation's push-back on that new warped narrative—and that's a very good thing.


As if to underscore my comment in this post that a "very vocal group of Leftists destroy the story [of America] with their own warped view of our history, two op-ed examples appear just in time for Thanksgiving in the left-wing's newspapers of record—The New York Times and The Washington Post. Charles Blow of the NYT is an incoherent and often unhinged commentator on the political scene. Today, the NYT saw fit to publish his op-ed screed entitled—"The Horrible History of Thanksgiving." It would seem that Mr. Blow can't take a day off from his hateful narrative on the evils of early America and offer an optimistic comment on this wonderful holiday and what it represents. Pathetic.

And speaking of optimism or lack thereof, there's this op-ed by Fareed Zacharia in the WaPo—"It's Hard to be Optimistic About America Right Now." Why exactly? Is it because the middle class is doing so well, or maybe it's that wages are rising, or maybe it's the fact that more people of color and women are now employed than at any other time in the last 70 years. Or maybe it's because we've extracted ourselves from endless wars, or maybe it's because we've finally asserted ourselves in international trade deals, or finally asked allies in NATO to (let me coin a phrase loved by the Left) to 'pay their fair share.' Or maybe ... you get the picture.

The garbage narrative espoused by the likes of Blow and Zacharia is far more destructive that any of our country's failings they lament. It tears at the cohesion of our people and does great damage to what David M. Kennedy has called the “the big, integrative, long-term project.” But then again, may that's exactly what the Left wants.