Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Minor Musing About Political Scars

Over the weekend, Bob Dole expressed doubts that he and Ronald Reagan could make it in today's Republican Party. He also said the national Republican party should "put a sign on the national committee doors that says closed for repairs until New Year's Day next year and spend that time going over ideas and positive agendas."

I expect to hear many young Republicans challenging Dole's credentials and proclaiming him a RINO.

In South Dakota, I have read David Newquist's lament about the lack of young Democrats in South Dakota. I have read two responses; the latter offers a striking metaphor.

Coincidentally, I came across a Rod Dreher post about a "jeremiad" against Louisiana, Dreher's home state. Dreher writes,
 I should add that James’s jeremiad can be read as a screed by someone who hates Louisiana. It is rather, in my judgment, a piece written by a man with a broken heart.
I'm not a Romantic, so I'll suggest a different term, battle weary.  I don't begrudge youth their optimism; indeed, it is a necessary corrective to the pessimism brought on by weariness.

At the same time, the young optimists perhaps need to heed the discouraging words uttered by the tired old folk. Dole and Newquist will disagree on which ideas are best, but they both agree that ideas and culture still matter. Even simple images matter; the optimistic buffalo metaphor that I alluded to earlier needs to be tempered with the reminder that the buffalo were hunted nearly to extinction. The young need to remember that the ability to face the storm doesn't guarantee one will survive the hunter.

Machiavelli advised his prince to develop the qualities of both the lion and the fox. Those in the political wasteland need both the enthusiasm of youth and the wisdom earned by scars.

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