Many things are happening in our nation, and all of them are about as far from good as they are from bad. We have to grow beyond comic-book versions of our lives, based on overstatement, distortion and loud colors. Reading between the lines is not all that is demanded of the country right now, but it would be a good start.
When we think about Bill de Blasio’s mayoral victory in New York City and the triumph of Gov. Chris Christie across the water but not so far, and Ken Cuccinelli’s loss in Robert E. Lee’s home state, Virginia, we see things changing once again.
The gubernatorial loss because of the tea-party stain in Virginia is a meaning not connected to ethnicity directly, but one that reverberated in the ethnic arena, because this Italian-American proved himself free of any tendencies we see in Christie, who successfully dropped much of his tough-guy act when faced with Hurricane Sandy. He also showed himself a somewhat principled man when he called out the neo-Confederates of the GOP. Christie doesn’t seem afraid of Rush Limbaugh, Fox News and the rest of the far right wing’s entertainment complex that is always ready to push factoids rather than facts. In fact, other than President Barack Obama taking Mitt Romney to the woodshed, the whipping Christie gave the Republicans in Washington for refusing to help his state of New Jersey could well have been a ray of hope for our two-party system.
Chairman Michael Steele was not replaced by a better man capable of expanding the base of the GOP, but Christie seems to be well dug in, winning along with Cory Booker and proving himself a delicious meal in a deep-blue state. That makes it clear what he has going, something one can like if only because he makes conservatism a force one could compromise with and get to something, Chris Matthews’ great dream for the players as they come to the scrimmage line.
Matthews is not alone in wanting American politics to grow up after having submitted to a tea party made up of no more than irresponsible adolescents. Republicans like Joe Scarborough, Peggy Noonan, David Frum and Steve Schmidt are weathered by all of the bumbling and the unintentional-but-quite-effective way the super-right party of tea pushes away potential. It is like a wildcat digging its claws into the hide of the elephant and scaring it, instead of being thrown off into a wall or stomped pancake-flat.
Therefore, young people, women, those whose first language was Spanish and so-called minorities hate, dismiss and are frightened of elephants. They definitely distrust them. Chris Christie is a man among wounded animals and will not back down when he believes he should separate himself from a losing ideology. That is what Scarborough calls being anxious to repeat Pickett’s Charge, one example of the Confederate Army being decimated at Gettysburg. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz may wish to lead those troops to a gory defeat, but Christie seems to believe he can actually take the White House in 2016. I doubt it, but our country will be much better off when real conservative politicians flay the fools willing to ride them and the country itself straight into hell. They showed how many ice floes moved through their blood during the shutdown, which none of us should ever forget.
Stanley Crouch can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.