Friday, November 26, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving -- Tying Up Some Loose Ends

Happy Thanksgiving:

My old friend A Red Mind In A Blue State mentioned his mother and his daughters in his Thanksgiving message, so I want to recount a story about his mother, which he can if he likes share with his daughter, who is as old now as I was when this story took place:

I stayed home for college, and I was the only one of my close friends who did, so I found staying home under the circumstances to be a very dramatic change, and I wasn't doing very well with it at all. So when everyone came home from college for the first time, for that first Thanksgiving, Tony's mom, in order to cheer me up, put a huge banner in her kitchen that said "Welcome Home, Bruce."

Obviously, you miss a person like that an awful lot, every day, and I am of course thankful that she was a part of my life, even for a while.

I have spent my whole life arguing politics with people to the left of me, and people to the right of me, on some very serious points. At law school, during the Carter years, where the notion of a Reagan Revolution was palpable, but its meaning not entirely clear, I met a lot of people who found their way into good positions with the Bush Administration. In arguing with Long Island Republicans as a college student, with the young Reaganites in law school, and their successors through the last two decades, and after travelling, well not the world over, but the capitals of Europe, and the Middle East, I came to the following conclusion: In the scheme of things throughout the world, no one is more tolerant, more freedom loving or more "liberal" as that term is commonly used, than American conservatives (except of course, for American liberals). The rest of the world seems unable or unwilling to grasp the nature of a conversation amongst Americans, no matter where they are on the political spectrum, that relies on a view of freedom, and on a positive view of human nature, that no one else in the world, including so-called left-wing Europeans, share.

I don't know if my thesis was ever true. I especially don't know if my thesis is still true in a world that thinks that Hillary Clinton is a left-wing radical (what would these people say to a true liberal) or that non-elected judges -- even Supreme Court justices -- really have the power to protect the freedom of the people (Congress could pass any law they want to clarify any ruling the Supreme Court has made. If Congress doesn't do it -- it means they don't have the ability to withstand the heat from either their fellow politicians or the voters).