Jay Inslee, Seth Moulton and John Hickenlooper have dropped out, shrinking the Democratic field of presidential candidates to 21. More will separate, and fall away, in the coming weeks. On the Republican side, Joe Walsh, the conservative radio host, has tried to lure George Conway, Kellyanne’s husband, to run with him in a party primary challenge to President Trump.
Is the season against us?
This is hardly a time to stir the blood, to be involved in highly-charged matters of presidential lunacy and the advertised collapse of markets and American politics.
Nature, barely conscious, is vegetating, and telling us to do the same. The arc of summer’s sun has begun its tilt southward and nature is living on her accumulated fat and rainfall. Schools, ever the promise for new generations, have picked up again.
So let’s pause for a moment, in the frenzy of today’s business, and reflect on our national lot.
Is our republic really crumbling? Has our materialism, our easy virtue, our lack of faith finally caught up with us?
It’s doubtful, and for several reasons:
First, we vastly underrate our people and their wisdom. We tend to regard the public’s attitudes as child-like and in need of official direction. But over history, the people not only have been more correct in their judgments than have their leaders, they have arrived at them sooner.
It was the people who determined and demanded that we quit Vietnam, not their leaders. This is the first instance in history of a major nation quitting a war because its people didn’t want it. They arrived at that decision well before the Congress, or the White House, or the press, and despite even the peace movement, which tended to drive a lot of people in the opposite direction. This was a victory for the nation and for man.
It has been the people, and still is, who prompt our leaders to forge ahead in the courts and in Congress to cleanse our government of the arrogant, the irresponsible, the greedy and the evil-doers, and to replace the petty acts of petty men and women with the rule of law. (This can take time, often agonizing, but it has happened and will again.)
As a people we want to help the poor of all the world, if only we could summon the leadership at home and abroad, and if that leadership would work to improve our domestic conditions with as much vigor as that leadership works to create a capacity to kill.
Women at long last are beginning to feel the benefits of their often misunderstood struggles, and to assume both the privileges and responsibilities of equality. They have ascended in public and private life because they deserve to, because they have long earned it, and because men have made such a mess of things public and private. Add to this the emerging forces of LGBTQ.
Confidence in many institutions, starting with corporations, the “media”, the church, and education, has been up and down in recent years. The most dramatic decline now is in the presidency, and that may soon be righted.
An awareness is building that technology and gadgetry should be regarded with renewed suspicion, that “messaging” is no substitute for unvarnished fact. People, with increasing sophistication, have begun to insist that they be informed reliably, as well as rapidly.
Most important, the people are again demonstrating their unwillingness to put up with corruption, with shoddy performance, with villainy. Their tolerance has again begun to show its limit. They still believe that things can be better, which is a key to survival itself.