Random Ruminations #10

Downers... Not His Daddy's Boy... An Economy that Serves... and more

Good Question

Bumper stickers are often great statements of truth, largely because they have to be short and pithy. A message to Catholic tailgaters seen on the rear of a car parked outside St. James in Falls Church, Virginia: “Do you follow Christ as closely as you do me?”



Shoot off your fireworks! There’s a certain genre of article that appears in The New York Times before every traditional holiday. Its presence is telling evidence to me of the mental depression in which the woke and the liberal persist. Something bad has to be found in the holiday as customarily observed. Thanksgiving cannot be celebrated without bemoaning the colonization of the United States nor absent talking points from the Left by which to promote your fellow diners’ indigestion. Christmas will always be downgraded (are you really going to deplete ozone flying to your traditional “family”)? Of course the Fourth of July fits in there, too. Last year, it was about how people feel alienated from their racist/sexist/homophobic country (along with comments that they were thinking of leaving—always promises, never delivery). I responded with a commentary on “The Sourpusses of Wokeism” (here). This year, Margaret Renkl’s “Enough with the Fireworks Already!” calls on communities to forego the traditional annual pyrotechnics celebration because (a) her doggie is afraid and cowers in the shower; (b) it disturbs and disorients raccoons and other night creatures, who might run into the road and become roadkill; and (c) there is multiday pollutant residue. Forget about John Adams’s statement that American independency should be marked “by succeeding generations, as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shews, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more.” Send the ASPCA after that man! Seriously, please keep writing this kind of stuff, downer journalists! It will make a right outcome on Nov. 5 so much easier!


Not His Daddy’s Boy

Former Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, who’s thrown his hat into the Republican U.S. Senate contest to succeed Ben Cardin has come out now for abortion. It seems political calculation: pro-lifers might not be popular in very Democratic Maryland, where the State Legislature regularly attempts to ensconce “abortion rights” ever further and late term abortionists like LeRoy Carhart and Steve Brigham always found welcome. What seems to be missing in these explanations, however, is noting it’s the next example of the political apple falling far from the tree. The classic example is Pennsylvania Senator Robert Casey, Jr., who has abandoned his father’s (Robert Casey, Sr.) principled pro-life position, for which Casey père paid dearly. What is omitted in the Hogan case is that the ex-Governor is the namesake son of Rep. Lawrence J. Hogan, the first member of Congress to introduce a Human Life Amendment to overturn Roe v. Wade. The Hogan-Helms Amendment was long the model for a Human Life Amendment.


Waiting Trend

The New York Times (June 30) featured a story, “The Future of Eating Out Is Lining Up.” Its gist is the new trend is queueing to get into the next eatery du jour for a real or vaunted food experience. It admits the paradox of lining up for food, sometimes (and still) for the hungry and destitute to get a handout, other times for the less starved and less destitute to eat out. The latter tend to be youthful, “members of a generation that has been forced to redefine the economics of being a grown-up. Some make less money and work more jobs than their parents did. They might still live with their folks, and for many of them, homeownership is an unattainable fantasy. And all of us, their generation and mine, are looking to leave home, wherever it is, because it’s often our workplace, as well.” The article observes that a trendy LA bagel shop offers $24 bagels with salmon, $6 with just a cream cheese schmear for you cheapskates. My two observations: (1) as a New York-area boy, get real: if you think you’re gonna get a real bagel done right outside New York, fuggedaboudit; (2) as an American, get real: if you willingly fork out $24 for a bagel with some lox, you are never going to reach homeownership, and, by the way, don’t ask me to pick up your student loan payments, either.


An Economy that Serves

Over at National Review, Dominic Pino salutes the demise of the Chevron doctrine, the Supreme Court-created principle that the judiciary should defer to federal agencies on what a law requires rather than interpret it themselves. Noting the hysteria on the part of climate fundamentalists and radical environmentalists (but I repeat myself), who always trot out Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River catching fire from pollutants in 1969, Pino insists the change has come not from bureaucratic ukase but “technological advances leading to more energy-efficient methods of production and the gradual shift from a predominantly manufacturing economy to a predominantly services economy.” I agree with almost everything in Pino’s piece except the last half of that sentence, about the “services economy.” Pace fiscal conservatives whose market idolatry doesn’t care much about people, America’s shift to a “services economy” is no boon, for people or for their country. Pretending otherwise is what hobbles conservativism’s ability to talk to the working class. It’s why people in swaths of America lack jobs and the country is in peril if foreign countries sneeze. Ask the families in upper Midwest Rust Belt towns, who can now have a picnic on the ground where their fathers’ factory once stood — except they have no jobs to afford the stuff for the picnic basket. Which Cleveland is better off? The Cleveland of 1914 that exported a steel girder that very well may still be in place in some building somewhere? Or the Cleveland of 2014 that exports a driver along I-80/90 with a Super Duper Multiculti Venti Benti Latte to tide him over till he can get a $24 bagel with lox, bearing a liquid “product” that will probably not stay in place until the last rest stop before the Indiana line?


Flashback 1

FLASH: International Court of Justice issues injunction to General Dwight D. Eisenhower against D-Day, sought by neutral Argentina. Protestors from Vichy France insist Operation Overlord will harm civilians. Allied bombing of Austria leading to Wiener Schnitzel shortages in that country; Allied command denies responsibility, saying the veal shortage is not the result of military action but of cow culling imposed on the continent to reduce their Alpine gas emissions.


Flashback 2

FLASH: Student sit-ins on university campuses grow. Students at Columbia chanted “From the Ocean to the Urals — what is yours should be ours!” dressed in Lederhosen as they marched down Broadway. Meanwhile, local food trucks have increased sales of Weißwurst und Bier. Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg promises, however, to crack down on underage drinking: “We’re going to prosecute aggressively any vendor who doesn’t check age IDs,” he announced at an impromptu press conference outside the unlicensed Gotham Cannabis Emporium.


Upside-down World

Not, however, to be outdone in the category of “woker-than-thou-prosecutor,” New York State Attorney General Letitia James filed charges back in January against a New York Police Department sergeant for manslaughter, assault, and criminally negligent homicide. What did the officer, who was part of an anti-drug sting operation in the Bronx, do? He picked up a cooler and threw it at a man who just sold drugs to an undercover cop who, when police moved in, began fleeing on an unregistered motorbike. The cooler caused the criminal to fall off the bike and hit a tree, killing him. In New York, the cop’s the criminal.


John M. Grondelski (Ph.D., Fordham) was former associate dean of the School of Theology, Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey. All views expressed herein are exclusively his.

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