I’m not breaking my vow to abstain from political discussions on this site. The following comments concern manners, morals, and character rather than (or certainly more than) political convictions.
I have never been a “Never So-and-So”, and never will be. It’s a perfectly idiotic formula, worthy of our age of slapdash Tweets, bumper stickers, and avatars. The Japanese commandant of the prison camp about which The Bridge on the River Kwai was written became a Christian in later life and asked forgiveness of several surviving inmates. Aleksandr Litvinenko, rumored to have been murdered by Putin’s agents when they poisoned his tea with Plutonium 210, was himself a KGB operative at one time. People change. They grow up, and they learn things. In an election, too, one may discover things about Tweedle-dee that make Tweedle-dum more attractive. I’ve resisted having my decision swayed by such reverse-motivation lately, but I haven’t always been impervious to it. I suppose I’d step into Adolf Hitler’s space station if my one alternative were the quarters of the Man-Sucking Slime from Slagkathyndria.
That much conceded, I grew really hot the other night when I heard Bill Bennett refer to Never Trumpers as his “former friends” who were so arrogant as to place their pleasure in moral superiority above the good of the nation. I don’t know what words may have passed between Mr. Bennett and his quondam comrades; but to sneer insults at people in this manner on the most public of stages, particularly after your horse has already won the race, suggests to me a small mind and a mean spirit. I should think that Mr. Bennett might have been better able to fathom the motives of persons with whom he claims a one-time friendship; or if they were so hollow as he now suggests, then I must wonder why a man of his years and apparent intellect ever chose them as friends. If we may assume that his original judgment was not utterly flawed, then we may also assume that the sentiments he ascribes to these people now are not remotely close to the whole truth.
Personally, I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by the early days of the new administration. Its mild excesses and miscues have been so brutally caricatured by most mainstream media outlets that these latter should beware of “the Boy That Cried Wolf” syndrome. If they ever have a fully legitimate warning to blare before the public, they may find everyone’s ears stopped tight with cotton.
Alas, the occasion for that alarm may come. Our new chief executive, informed a couple of weeks ago by a power-hungry Texas sheriff that the state representative from Colleyville had introduced a bill to abrogate Civil Assets Forfeiture, shot back from the hip, “Who is that? We’ll ruin that representative!” Such outbursts must give any freedom-loving American cause for concern. CAF is a gross abuse of authority that allows small business-owners to be permanently stripped of assets without any due process whatever; but even if it weren’t—even if it were exclusively the scourge of drug cartels, as originally intended—leaders of republics don’t set the dogs on their citizens. They don’t say, “We’re going to destroy you.” We’ve just survived eight years of such ideological head-hunting under the Holder and Lynch “Justice” Department. Could we be in for another four of the same, only with a different spin?
I question Mr. Bennett’s characterization of such concerns as arrogant moral posturing. I wonder, instead, if his own conscience may not be feeling a little gimpy, and he has decided to stroke it by vilifying others who were less willing to ignore the “fine details”. Maybe the author of The Book of Virtues should consider wearing a helmet lest his vigorously slung slurs come boomeranging back at him.
Ultimately, what I’m left thinking by these tantrums (and Bennett’s is only one: it’s almost March, and they continue) is that we’re pretty much on our own for the foreseeable future if we value freedom. Certain liberties taken from us over the past decade will be restored—are already being restored; but others may disappear in the middle of the night. Best to find a place at the edge of the radar’s sweep and hunker down. The people we once took at their word as being outspoken champions of individual rights are breaking in some very odd directions, like a bunch of billiard balls struck by a mortar shell.