A Mind That Suits What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

Monday, March 08, 2004 :::
Nearly four days since the last post. Apologies to all and sundry!

A Mind That Suits just returned from a restful week in beautiful Wilmington, NC, home to the third largest film production center in the US and snarled traffic way out of proportion to its still small size. The weather was perfect, even slopping over into one slightly muggy day to remind yours truly that he was back home down South, where he really would rather be most of the time anyway. If nothing else happens, a move to Wilmington may be in the offing just out of love.

At least it is not DC.

Although the locals have a different impression, the city is indeed moving ahead with a major road construction project before the city sinks under its own weight. In this, it is doing better than Orlando, which saw A Mind That Suits grow from an infant to a pimply lad of 16. The first East-West highway there opened one year after Disney. That year had already seen 30-mile traffic jams along I-4 at every major holiday, indicating that the City Fathers were a little behind.

A move to Wilmington would mean a reduction in beauty.The museums, the street plan, the architecture, and the trees make Washington far and away the most beautiful city in America, well ahead of Number Two, Baghdad-by-the-Bay, San Francisco. It was indeed called that, back when Baghdad brought forth images of empires, palm trees, and harems. Only, in the harems of Old Baghdad, they had girls.

This morning brings an interesting essay by the perceptive James Taranto, who normally has the entirely enviable job of assembling each day's invaluable "Best of the Web" over at OpinionJournal, the free website of the indispensable Wall Street Journal, which otherwise, alas, makes you pay for the privilege of reading its worthy self on the web. That is actually good business, which is appropriate, as the Wall Street Journal is at its considerable best, in case you hadn't heard, when it is writing about business. Mr. Taranto recalled that he was handed this interesting job by the magnificent Robert Bartley, RIP, who transformed the Journal into what it is to day, to whit, indispensable. Mr. Bartley must have looked around the table one morning and said, "Jim, we need someone who can ladle out sarcasm,and do it with real style." That's what Mr. Taranto said in a column about blogs: the successful ones "deal in sarcasm," if memory serves. And he indeed does it with style. Just ask Sen. Kerry, "the haughty, French looking Massachusetts Democrat who, by the way, served in Vietnam."

In any case, the other thing that Mr. Taranto is, is one crackerjack political observer, and he had a column in the print version of the Journal this morning that repays a careful reading. Fortunately, you do not have to pay to read it, as he wisely put it up on his own website, so you can find it here. In it, as you see, he points out that lingering racism is not the reason that the Democrats do so badly in the South. It is their politics.

To this, A Mind That Suits would like to add two other thoughts.

Perhaps the sharpest two-edged sword ever handed to an American political party was when the politically brilliant but personally appalling Strom Thurmond delivered himself to the Republicans, along with a well thought-out plan to bring everyone else south of the Mason-Dixon along with him. The initial result was catastrophic: the Party of Lincoln aligned itself with a bunch of local politicians who cursed the thought of Abraham Lincoln. And, in so doing, it lost the support of virtually every Black person in the country. It wasn't so much Jesse Jackson--speaking of unprincipled demagogues from South Carolina--as it was Strom, who made African-Americans forget that they would not have the vote were it not for the GOP. But the GOP began to win elections.

Fortunately for the GOP, other things were happening down South. The newly minted Republicans abandoned the economics of the New Deal, and cheap air-conditioning brought a huge influx of conservative Northerners fed up with life under the Democrats. And, as Mr. Taranto points out, everyone seemed to realize that the federally imposed Voting Rights Act made life far more tolerable for everyone than in the days of Bull Connor and the young George Wallace. Trent Lott represents the early, Strom-led, Southern GOP. A whole host of younger men and women represent the better days that have arrived.

The other point spells trouble for our do-gooding friends from the North, and it is simply put: Hatred of and condescension toward the South is part of the self-definition of contemporary leftists. It is even part of the self-definition of Southern liberals, who seem to love living in the land of their nightmares. They go all wet and soft when they hear Neil Young sing "Southern Man," which bit of hate-speech will not be linked here.

You cannot win votes by condescending toward people you hate.

That the liberal image of the South does not conform to reality is no hindrance. This writer has met many liberals who spent enjoyable times down South but were not happy until they ran into a blazing racist. "I met the real South," they are fond of saying, as if the other 99.9 % of the people that they met were not real, or Southern. He even knows one young Massachusetts liberal, a reporter for the indispensable Wall Street Journal ,no less, who, as an intern, got every liberal's dream assignment of living in New Bern, NC. Why is that a dream assignment for liberals? It is the home of the Southern KKK. The Northern KKK, of course, is centered on Long Island. And the whole shebang was founded in Illinois.

But nevermind.

She would no more identify a Long Island klansman as "real Northerner" than she would condescend to identify all the nice people she met in the Carolinas as "real Southerners." Southerners must be racist, or Northern liberals would lose part of themselves. Southerners by and large are just as prejudiced as everyone else, but no more, but they resent voting for people who hate them.

This writer--a white, Republican, conservative Christian--committed himself at age 18 to not being a drag on racial relations in this country, and he is proud to say that he is the preferred manager of African-American and immigrant subordinates alike. It is not easy to pull off, and getting the tone right took hard work. Moreover, no one really thanks you, as liberals think you must be racist because you vote Republican, and most Republicans do not think race problems in this country need to be addressed in any practical way, as our civil rights laws are the most advanced in the world.

Race problems are real, and it is up to individuals to address them.

Actually, the workers are thankful, and that is quite enough.

This writer knows a crackerjack political reporter when he sees one because he spent many years arguing politics with the very most crackerjack political reporter this country has ever produced, and how he would love to be able to pick up the phone and hash over which party is in the process of committing political suicide.

And in closing, A Mind That Suits would like to introduce you to new friend Jason, proprietor of the website Just Another Soldier. He is a sergeant, which implies "no college," but A Mind That Suits finds that hard to believe, as he writes very well. Perhaps he is, like Mel Gibson, a gifted autodidact. He is in Kuwait awaiting deployment in Iraq, as of his last posting.

A Mind That Suits has one problem with the very inspiring letters published at some conservative websites: they are just a little too clean, implying some editing. Jason is not edited.

And so one must offer this warning: The US military is renowned throughout the world for its profanity. It is part of the culture. Somehow, the British Army was able to, quite literally, conquer the world while punishing with great severity anyone who swore while in uniform. Alas, not so our troops, though youngish Mr. Jason actually restrains himself. Only about one obscenity every fifth sentence. He is from NYC, so he makes up in baditude what he lacks in foul-mouthedness.

He also recounts how one soldier trying to put together a gun blindfolded asked for a tool and was handed one. The fleshy kind.

A Mind That Suits was a fraternity rush chairman, and he can testify that such pranks are hardly uncommon when young lads are supervising themselves.

You also, in the archives, get to see young Mr. Jason and a friend sitting on uncomfortably small-looking johns in full gear, a comic and G-rated image. If you can stomach that, young Jason seems to be a good guide to the doings of the modern military.

And with that, A Mind That Suits bids you a pleasant evening.

::: posted by A Mind That Suits at 8:06 PM



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What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

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