Saturday, November 24, 2012

Black Friday of the American Mind

After a day of Gratitude, an orgy of Greed: Stuffing ourselves precedes buying stuff we don’t need.

So much for Thanksgiving clich├ęs, but this year cries out for more. In the month when America avoided a political cliff, what can we tell ourselves about the future?

In his weekly address, the President stresses the outpouring of unselfishness in response to Sandy:

“It would have been easy for these folks to do nothing--to worry about themselves and leave the rest to someone else. But that’s not who we are. That’s not what we are.

“As Americans, we are a bold, generous, big-hearted people. When our brothers and sisters are in need, we roll up our sleeves and get to work--not for the recognition or the reward, but because it’s the right thing to do. Because there but for the grace of God go I. And because here in America, we rise or fall together, as one nation and one people.”

True enough, but such high gloss covers much ugliness below the surface as the nation tries to regain some balance from the Tea Party zealotry that dominate its media for more than a year.

In one promising sign, GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss disavows his “20-year-old” Grover Norquist pledge not to raise taxes: “If we do it his way, then we’ll continue in debt.”

But there won’t be a wave of such turnabouts any time soon if Republicans just lick their wounds and try to rationalize what happened on Election Day.

The Wall Street Journal is not ready to write off Tea Party zealotry that helped sink them this year:

“Often missed in talk of the GOP's ‘demographics problem’ is that it would take relatively modest minority-voter shifts toward Republicans to return the party to a dominating force. The GOP might see that as the enormous opportunity it is, rather than a problem. The key to winning turnout is having more people to turn out in the first place.”

Democrats, flush with victory and ready to push the President toward using his momentum to the fullest, should keep rightly reminding him of what happened without being too disappointed over a perceived lack of aggression in turning away from America’s Black Friday of the Mind.

It will take more than one election to change that.

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