- The Washington Times - Monday, July 31, 2000

American twilight

"It doesn't take an Emerson or an Einstein to recognize that the system has lost its moorings, and, like ancient Rome, is drifting into an increasingly dysfunctional situation.
"Still, we have ways, both individually and culturally, of hiding this from ourselves. There are so many anodynes around such as the constant outpouring of new technological toys and the media is brilliantly adept at drowning the country in the kinds of spectacles that keep our minds focused on the trivial and the sensational: O.J. Simpson's trial, Princess Di's death, Bill Clinton's sex life, and the CNN-style infotainment that one media rebel, David Barsamian, rightly refers to as 'nuzak.' …
"It is not merely that the swirl of activity masks a core of emptiness, but that we are playing out a new version of cultural decline as described by Oswald Spengler in his famous work of 1918-22, 'The Decline of the West.' Every civilization has its twilight period, said Spengler, during which it hardens into a classical phase, preserving the form of its central idea, but losing the content, the essential spirit."
Morris Berman, from his new book, "The Twilight of American Culture"

Hysterical defense

"When will the radical political pro-abortionists learn that their hysteria over things like platforms and inclusiveness is only highlighting how out of touch they are with the rest of America? … The dire warnings and threats that seem to follow every pro-life politician are just creating conflict. The strong presence of pro-life in American politics is only a reflection of how strongly our culture continues to feel about abortion. The fits and tantrums we have been witnessing from the pro-abortion crowd this year only serve to underscore the strength and momentum of the pro-life movement… .
"In a way, the radical pro-abortion groups are almost their own worst enemies. The more they push their agenda, and the more hysterical their defense of the indefensible, the more they show people the darker truths of abortion. And yet, as they run around trying to stamp out all pro-life dissent, they have been blinded to the fact that they no longer speak for the majority of American people. That voice is becoming the voice of pro-life.
"In the end, it doesn't matter how much they try to raise false fears and confrontations about abortion it will not stop the pro-life momentum in this country. We have been here for decades, refusing to budge in our defense of life, and we will be here for as long as it takes until respect for life is once again one of the self-evident truths of this country."
Father Richard Welch, president of Human Life International, in a Thursday press release

You go, Gore

"People don't dislike [Vice President Al] Gore because he reminds them of [President] Clinton; they dislike Gore because he doesn't remind them of Clinton. When Clinton strides into a room and grabs the mike, hugs the fat lady, talks for 20 extemporaneous minutes, wolfs down a pulled-pork sandwich, and shuffles off to the next backwater district, you know he's loving every minute of it… .
"When Gore grabs the mike, you instinctively think, 'Uh, oh.' When he hugs the fat lady, they both look creeped out. And when he uses his growling I'm-gettin'-into-it voice, the effect is so discomfiting that it's hard not to look away in embarrassment. Watch the tape of Gore speaking at the NAACP convention in Baltimore. His stemwinding preacher voice develops a very distinct 'Driving Miss Daisy' quality… . Notice his head, sliding from side to side on his extremely white shoulders in a weird, off-putting imitation of every young black woman who has ever appeared on a bad TV talk show. You half expect him to say, 'You go, girl!' "
Rob Long, writing on "The Problem With Al," in the Aug. 14 issue of National Review

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