by Brad Nelson
I saw a minivan on the highway this morning with two “Coexist” bumper stickers on it — one on the back and one on the Left side. I followed it for a while until I noticed the van veering slightly from side to side in the lane.
Now only was it doing a little weaving, it had also slowed down a bit, a telltale sign of a driver on his cell phone or engaged in texting. Sure enough, as I passed the van, I saw some lady jabbering away on her phone. And I thought to myself, Maybe she ought to first try coexisting with traffic before she deigns to tell all religious people how to act.
While making a delivery downtown today, I noticed a set of five quite colorful mural panels that had been erected at the end of one of the bridges. Although there are “for rent” signs all over town, somehow the city government finds money enough for all this artsy-fartsy multi-culti stuff. They’ve been plastering this kind of stuff all over town for the last couple of years.
And then it occurred to me that, even if one doesn’t agree with it, there is an appealing vision to the Left. And you see it very often expressed in art. It’s colorful, Utopian, with promises of everyone just getting along. Rainbows. Kittens. Everyone has everything they want just by wishing for it.
And it occurred to me that one of the problems with the right is that we lack an artistic imagination. We lack a vision of our country that is beyond mere words and arguments. We might have the best minds on our side (Thomas Sowell) but we too often substitute hifalutin intellectualism for vision.
That vision needn’t be Utopian or naive. That vision could be of the grandness and nobility of the independent and self-made man who doesn’t need the teat of government in his mouth. It could be reminiscent of those old Wild West paintings that showed the independent man (or woman) on the plains seeking his fortune and his own life lived to the full (quite in contrast to, say, the moronic and hedonistic symbol of Miley Cyrus).
On the right, as I’ve observed here at StubbornThings, we seem to be best at pure opinionating. And as we see at NRO’s comment section, it often has devolved to little more than one-liners, cliches, and gainsaying. This has been one of my main complaints regarding NRO itself. There seems to be no leadership or general sense of direction. There’s little soul or spirit — no artistic imagination, if you will.
On the right — for surely various reasons — we have lost the ability to articulate our vision of America in terms that inspires the imagination and kindles the soul. Instead, we often simply rely on our own version of the cell phone. We just jabber away, even if the ideas themselves are good and true.
But even aside from the fact that we now live in a very visual society, there has always been the need for a movement to be able to not only express what is about in more than mere words, but to gather support for itself by the same means. In its ruder forms, it can be carefully-crafted propaganda a la the Nazis (or Obama’s Pepsi-like “O”). But even so, that just goes to the point that a movement (good or bad) benefits itself by being able to articulate a fairly specific, grand, and positive vision, whatever the medium.
This is one reason Sarah Palin has the following that she does. The beltway class wishes to dismiss her if only because their stock in trade is certainly not innate charm and charisma, let alone a robust and positive vision of America. So they must try to devalue who she is. As they say, if all you have is a hammer, every problem will look like a nail. And all that the beltway class has is a beltway hammer of supposed intellectual superiority.
On the right, we have a lots of words, often good words, but otherwise we seem bereft of anything that would make people attracted to our cause. That’s one reason I love old movies and love doing movie reviews. In these things (especially in the occasional John Wayne or Jimmy Stewart movie), we see a vision of America that is grand, good, and going places. But what can we point to today which does the same thing? John Boehner? NRO? Paul Ryan?
This was, probably naively, one of my reasons for starting StubbornThings. I wanted people to tap down into their own America Spirit and share something unique, creative, and decidedly American. But that is not easy.
I have been pestering this one lady that I know well on Facebook to write something for the site. She is amongst the brightest and most eloquent people that I know. But she declined. And I sort of understood. I’ve gotten tired of the bickering and arguing over politics as well. But I told her that I didn’t want the same-old same-old. I wanted to articulate a positive vision of America not just hit the idiot “Progressives” over the head. I knew she loved horses and I told her there wasn’t anything more traditionally American than our love for horses, so write about them. Tell us something. Maybe she will.
I will say the same thing to a friend who I know is a very big proponent of the Second Amendment. I’ve heard many intellectual arguments for gun ownership, but none better than when he told me that he recently took a couple British fellows to his gun club. In Britain, you can’t shoot a gun unless you’re practically a member of the royal family. My friend told me that these Brits had smiles on their faces that weren’t likely to ever come off. They loved shooting.
Such a story is the stuff that America is made of and is by far the best way to sell the Second Amendment. I hope he will write about this. I hope others will think outside the box and write something unique and creative regarding themselves and their experiences. We too easily fall into the style of the beltway and we needn’t do so. • (1604 views)