Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan wrote last week of an "unspoken subtext in our national political culture" -- a sense, she said, that the "trolley is coming off the tracks," that things are broken and can't be fixed.
I think she's right, at least in the sense that things are broken right now. Whether they can be fixed or not, I can't say. But in my 50-something years on this planet, I can't recall a time when the country seemed more adrift or more divided. And I think it's because we've lost our sense of idealism, the faith that we -- all of us, no matter our politics -- are committed to doing the honorable thing.
We've let the materialists take over. We've become a country led by deal-makers and lobbyists. Congress (Republicans and Democrats alike) and the administration seem committed only to their own financial and political gain. Even religion, which should be the most private and holiest of matters, has become just another special-interest lobby. What Would Jesus Legislate?
People naturally become cynical when they're lied to and manipulated. And when Americans are lied to by government officials, they lose faith in America. Perhaps this is why special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was so impressive in his press conference last week. He seemed to have an honest and palpable faith in the power of law to ferret out the truth.
So is there hope on the horizon? A cynic would say no. An idealist would say yes. A realist would say maybe, if we elect people who will speak the truth and face down the greedheads who have taken over.
I don't know the answer, honestly. I do know at this point the trolley's bouncing downhill fast, no tracks in sight.
Bruce VanWyngarden, Editor