The Life You Save May Be Your Own
The always brilliant Kim Crawford, drawing on the equally indispensable Flannery O’Connor for inspiration, puts into words what many classical liberals are feeling in the run-up to election day. From “The Man in the Lavender Automobile”:
There have been any variety of temperaments and personalities to hold the office of President. They range from heroes to rapscallions. I fervently believe, however, that not one person to hold that office has ever hated his opposition. There have been the churlish and disdainful, for sure. Carter presumed a moral vanity against his foes, which grievance he nurtures to this day. Nixon was consumed by paranoia and fear, to the point of ridiculous capers in the cause of an aforetold landslide victory.
I mention this because I firmly believe Barack Obama absolutely loathes my kind. This man will not be content to win the presidency. He will spend his waking hours thereafter not pursuing the legitimate goals of state, but punishing those who would dare to oppose him. The man is devoid of humility, or any sense of humor. He cannot humbly accept his incredibly lucky break in the crapshoot of American politics. The absolute lack of any pushback or intercessions on the part of the journalist class has rendered him peckish and intolerant of any dissention, if indeed he was not born that way.
This man truly hates. As only someone who is quite aware of his great shortcomings can hate. And like the second monkey he can hear, or tolerate, no evil.
The inevitability of Barack Obama has rendered the sane lycanthropic, the skeptical bemused, the disputatious fearful. It is no coincidence that formerly reliable conservative pundits are jumping the McCain ship like bilge rats in a galley fire. Most people attribute this craven capitulation to elitism. Noonan, Frum, Chris Buckley, that dithering Converse finishing school twit Kathleen Parker, they’re elitists! No, they’re not. Or that’s not what is compelling them. They are fucking afraid. Afraid to be the last dissenting voice in the face of the Hope and Change juggernaut. The Chinese kid versus the tanks in Tiannamen they are not. They are elitists, but they are cowards first and foremost. We don’t need them. And, unfortunately for them, Obama doesn’t need them. Therefore I will speak their names no more.
I am not a reactionary person by nature, but trust me when I say the first 100 days of a Barack Obama presidency will bring holy hell upon those who adhere to a classical liberal philosophy. This man is a radical of the first stripe, and he has left no stone unturned in his quest. He has not committed voter fraud in the good old fashioned way. He has a vast network of ACORN operatives stealing votes through fraudulent means by the hundreds of thousands. This man has not committed campaign finance fraud in the good old fashioned way, squirrelling away Chinese monies like Bill Clinton. This cocksucker actually disabled his credit card verification system to allow tens of millions of illegal dollars to flow into his coffers from any number of enemies of the state. The droid army of the legacy press is aware of this, of course, but who wants to be the whistleblower once this man assumes power? No one. No fucking body. Wouldn’t be prudent at this fucking juncture, as 41 might say.
Did I mention this man hates me? You and me? Yes he does. Why? Because he can. Yes He Can. Beneath that cool persona is a megalomaniac. Cool? Like Stalin after a purge, emotionally and sexually spent. Like Saddam after a torture session, dozing in his chair with someone’s genitals curled in his fist. Like Pol Pot after a petit mal seizure, mumbling a litany of the dead. Cool that way.
So I will cast my pathetic vote, and ramp up my relocation to the mountains. Reduce my footprint. Carbon? That will be a nice byproduct, but I mean my personal footprint. My credit footprint. My interface with authority footprint. I’m researching micro-hydro water turbines for that stream, windmills for water, a half-acre patch for vegetables, a few goats, and a bison. Just because I want a fucking bison. My address? Fifty rounds up that gravel road.
There’s always going to be the temptation to surrender, to disengage, to tend one’s own garden while the world around us goes to hell. Christ knows I’ve felt that way — and that I probably will a thousand more times during the Ayers Administration.
But what we’re going to need to do instead is cover our heads, take the downpour, and drive on:
A cloud, the exact color of the boy’s hat and shaped like a turnip, had descended over the sun, and another, worse looking, crouched behind the car. Mr. Shiftlet felt that the rottenness of the world was about to engulf him. He raised his arm and let it fall again to his breast. “Oh Lord!” he prayed. “Break forth and wash the slime from this earth!”
The turnip continued slowly to descend. After a few minutes there was a guffawing peal of thunder from behind and fantastic raindrops, like tinÃ¢â‚¬â€˜can tops, crashed over the rear of Mr. Shiftlet’s car. Very quickly he stepped on the gas and with his stump sticking out the window he raced the galloping shower into Mobile.
We are all Tarwater, sure. But we’re all Shiftlet, as well.
So. Let’s just bundle up as best we can, shake the rain from our collars, wear our deformities as badges of grace, and drive.
It’s the only way forward, I’m afraid.