by Vincent McCaffrey
Like most polls, Gallup polls are usually paid advertisements for whomever commissions them and therefore deserving of as little attention. However, the indefatigable Sharyl Attkisson recently reported on the results of one such survey and that did draw my attention. Evidently, 47 percent of Americans say life will never go back to pre-pandemic normal. I was somewhat stunned! How could 53 percent be thinking we could go back?
This led me to darker thoughts on the collateral damage of our recent foolishness. At least 53 percent of Americans will be woefully unprepared for what is coming. Due to their own unwillingness to bear witness to the reality around them, much less recognize the consequences, the unprepared will be the first to panic, and their panic will result in more bad behavior at a time when strength of character will be needed.
But there is worse yet: 33 percent of Americans say their lives are completely back to normal. I had no idea that 33 percent of Americans lived in caves! But then, my own ignorance never fails to astound me. What could be considered normal to these citizens? Even in peaceful and civilized New Hampshire, we can see the damage done.
How could this be? Well, perhaps it is tied to the fact that more than half of all Americans are on some level of government welfare, from Social Security to child care assistance, and those payments have not been diminished. Nevertheless, the inflationary costs of food and fuel have dramatically risen in the last three years due to federal monetary policies as well as profligate spending, so that doesn’t explain everything.
Anyone reasonably sentient must be aware of the problems caused by the COVID lockdown and the misdirection of tax revenues, allegedly to “soften” that blow, but actually and cynically proffered in order to gain votes. From drug use to family decomposition, the rise in crime and the disintegration of our physical infrastructure, there is a lot of visible devastation out there. Is this poll indicating 33 percent of Americans are comatose?
It was even more discouraging to read that 50 percent of Republicans say their lives are back to normal. Granted, this may be a willful statement of their desire to return to normalcy, but it also might indicate why the Republican Party is so out of touch as to be okay with sending billions of dollars of taxpayer cash and military equipment to Ukraine while our own trains are derailing, bridges and roads are degrading, and air traffic is failing.
In keeping with the old newspaper standing head, “women and children hardest hit,” 70 percent of women are likely to say things in general suck, while 51 percent say they are unsure of the future. Children were not polled—and, given our poor school systems—that might be an underlying long-term cause for our overall ignorance.
Confirming the previous doubts expressed about the veracity of the poll, only 38 percent of those who earn more than $90,000 per year say their lives are back to normal—that figure is composed of 50 percent who say they are Republican, 33 percent who say they are independent, and 24 percent who say they are Democrats. That is to say, most of those polled who are pretty well off are pessimistic, while 68 percent of those in an average income bracket ($36,000 to $90,000) are not happy now, and almost half do not expect things to return to “normal” in the future.
But this negative point of reference is the larger issue. What do our fellow Americans expect and what are they likely to do about it? Remember, these are the same people who voted for the politicians who made this mess. Will they accept responsibility for their actions?
Given the progressive indoctrination in public schools over two generations, bound as those institutions are to the deep state, and given the progressive harangue from mass media and the onslaught from the entertainment industry, what is the likelihood a majority of Americans today are prepared to turn against their handlers and accept an active role in their own welfare or bear witness to their past foolishness?
But there is no going back. As a nation we cannot return to some better moment out of the 1990s or 1950s. The accepted norms of those generations are lost. And no force will bring them back minus their own deficiencies. We cannot unlearn the internet.
The course that a minority of the population (my guess is less than 33 percent) must now chart is not unlike to the path chosen by our founders and their generation. Given the general lack of knowledge today about history and the replacement of it by phony propaganda such as the “1619 Project,” the objectives must be tied to current circumstances to make them clear.
Highlighting graphic practicalities such as the rise of the multinational corporations in America with no allegiance to our own people, as they make arms and sell them to our enemies, can make a family with a son overseas more aware; tech companies that mine and sell our personal data and abuse our privacy make themselves obvious by their own actions; and the simple rising costs of living and doing business for a population which is otherwise occupied with the day to day struggle, cannot be ignored.
Those who have the security of ample property and income will not be on hand until their own ox is gored. The recent Dutch farmer revolt might be encouraging, if not for the important fact that the Canadian truckers who similarly risked everything had their countrymen simply turn away.
People caught in an endless cycle of debt by major corporations (i.e, wage slaves) as the whole of America is turned into an enormous company town, will not be interested. Their homes are mortgaged, and their savings have already dwindled. They are afraid of retribution and losing what little they have left, even as their college loans are still outstanding. And those people (and it is a large number) who work for the bureaucracies, federal, state, and local, will be largely unavailable if not already organized against anyone who threatens their sinecures. They think they will be the survivors. But they haven’t a clue.
Democrats as a group will mainly be out to lunch—at least until the empirical evidence that they are dealing with thugs is smashed in their faces like a grapefruit (à la James Cagney and Mae Clarke), and then they might have a political awakening. But they are just as likely to proclaim their victimhood and look for another benefactor.
Feminists will be the enemy of the good until they realize they were used and discarded by the Marxist agenda—but not enough of them are young athletes bewildered by having to compete against men who identify as women. With politics as their new religion, most are just as likely to blame the result on men, which will be true this time, to a point.
Independents—the nonaligned—are most often pawns to their insecurities. They are looking for the best deal at any one moment and will always be treated accordingly with verbal promises not worth the paper they’re printed on. They bargain over principle. The long-term game is beyond their comprehension.
With so little help, and a task so large, the difficulties may appear insurmountable. But I would suggest that it could not have seemed any less impossible to the members of our first ad hoc Congress as they faced the most powerful nation on earth armed with an idea which had never been tried before.
China, Russia, Iran, and their allies will happily take advantage of any weakness. They are doing that right now. It is up to us to still elect leaders who will meet that challenge. But the current system of government is too flawed to survive much longer. It promotes corruption and dishonesty. Every election cycle enlarges our debt and weakens our fiber. Even if we manage to elect a good government, we must then live with an inevitable swing of the pendulum as the bad guys work to undermine any progress.
But any long-term objective must be in keeping with the best principles of our founders. Those tenets are tested and true, and they are already familiar to the greatest number of citizens. In the short term, the anachronistic structure set in place 200 years ago to give those truths a chance to flourish must now be examined for termites as well as for strength, and replaced, from pillar to post. The structure is important only so far as it protects and furthers those principles.
It is the truth that matters, not the structure—just as my Free Will Baptist grandmother said, when I foolishly mentioned the peccadillos of some preacher of the time, “It’s the Lord I pray to, not the pastor.”
My own thoughts return to that first Continental Congress. As we go forward and continue trying to elect better people to a job now thoroughly corrupted, we should act separately to elect a “shadow” government, similar to that of Westminster, but in the full light of day, with the peaceful purpose of proposing better ways and means. It must be constructed in public view and its purposes made clear. A short conversation with an average person will tell you that neither politicians nor our system are trusted. Given some time to show what might be done, with a consistent emphasis on principle and ways to make those ideas manifest, a larger public following should develop.
There is no Frodo among us who might faithfully handle the ring of power without succumbing to its poison. We cannot hope for a savior to make this happen. And the Lord will only help those who help themselves.
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Vincent McCaffrey is a novelist and bookseller. Visit his website at www.vincentmccaffrey.com.