A Separate Peace
America is in trouble--and our elites are merely resigned.
Thursday, October 27, 2005 12:01 a.m. EDT
By Peggn Noonan
I think that a lot of people are carrying around in their heads, unarticulated and even in some cases unnoticed, a sense that the wheels are coming off the trolley and the trolley off the tracks. That in some deep and fundamental way things have broken down and can't be fixed, or won't be fixed any time soon. That our pollsters are preoccupied with "right track" and "wrong track" but missing the number of people who think the answer to "How are things going in America?" is "Off the tracks and hurtling forward, toward an unknown destination."I have to say that I do feel that things are broken and can't be fixed. We have 2 year term representatives and we live in the era of the perpetual campaign. The 2008 campaign started right after the 2006 election. I don't think a person exists that could get the job done as President of the United States. The Goverment is too big and too out of control.
And you know things are bad when even Ted Kennedy can't deny it. She takes from a passage from Christopher Lawford's "Symptoms of Withdrawal"
At the end he quotes his Uncle Teddy. Christopher, Ted Kennedy and a few family members had gathered one night and were having a drink in Mr. Lawford's mother's apartment in Manhattan. Teddy was expansive. If he hadn't gone into politics he would have been an opera singer, he told them, and visited small Italian villages and had pasta every day for lunch. "Singing at la Scala in front of three thousand people throwing flowers at you. Then going out for dinner and having more pasta." Everyone was laughing. Then, writes Mr. Lawford, Teddy "took a long, slow gulp of his vodka and tonic, thought for a moment, and changed tack. 'I'm glad I'm not going to be around when you guys are my age.' I asked him why, and he said, 'Because when you guys are my age, the whole thing is going to fall apart.' "
Mr. Lawford continued, "The statement hung there, suspended in the realm of 'maybe we shouldn't go there.' Nobody wanted to touch it. After a few moments of heavy silence, my uncle moved on."
...reading, one gets the strong impression Teddy Kennedy was not talking about his family but about . . . the whole ball of wax, the impossible nature of everything, the realities so daunting it seems the very system is off the tracks.
And--forgive me--I thought: If even Teddy knows . . .
It is hard to make that point without quoting a bunch of the artcile. I don't know how much I am allowed to quote. I need to get better than that.
She also makes this powerful observation:
I have a nagging sense, and think I have accurately observed, that many of these people have made a separate peace. That they're living their lives and taking their pleasures and pursuing their agendas; that they're going forward each day with the knowledge, which they hold more securely and with greater reason than nonelites, that the wheels are off the trolley and the trolley's off the tracks, and with a conviction, a certainty, that there is nothing they can do about it.
This piece affected me because it hit a core of what I do believe and articulated it well. Almost three years later I still go over it in my mind, especially so with the current stance of the economy. Tough history is indeed coming. The collapse is going to be spectacular. Sphere: Related Content