- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 9, 2004

Scrappy Scots

“The Scots-Irish [are] an individualistic and rebellious people largely overlooked in contemporary American society — strange since this society … is otherwise consumed with group-identity politics. As they have historically been lumped together with the Irish or the British, the Scots-Irish and their tremendous cultural contributions have been virtually ignored. …

“Though the American Scots-Irish are often criticized for their fondness for guns, though they are often called stubborn and scrappy ‘rednecks’ … [they] have fought this country’s wars in greater numbers than most other ethnic groups who have received disproportionately more respect. …

“[Andrew] Jackson, orphaned at a young age in the Carolina mountains, exemplified the tough but humble warrior nature of the Scots-Irish by displaying tenacity on the battlefield as well as a political devotion to the common people over the aristocracy. ‘Old Hickory’ is one of many American leaders whose roots trace back to Scots-Irish ancestry, a group that includes Chester Arthur, Ulysses S. Grant, and Ronald Reagan, among others.”

Sheila Monaghan, writing on “Unsung Orphans,” Monday in the American Spectator Online at www.spectator.org

Backfire

“The unasked question is whether we gay Americans provoked a social revolution in the electorate. Have we inadvertently wrought the most effective machine in American history? It not only managed to defeat John Kerry but has denied us the most precious right of all — that of legal recognition of our relationships with those we love — in 11 states. …

“I accuse the gay leadership in this country of putting their own selfish interests above the greater good of the electorate. There is no reason why we should have been pursuing the issue of gay marriage on the eve of an election year. …

“Would it have made such a difference to those couples in Massachusetts if they had waited a year or two before tying the knot? Would it have hurt San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom or New Paltz Mayor Jason West to have put off marrying gay couples until Nov. 3, 2004? …

“We alienated large numbers of black churchgoers. We brought out believers in evangelical sects who had previously shunned the ballot box. We even got the Amish — Amish — to get into their buggies and drive to polling places.”

Steve Weinstein in “Is Bush’s win all our fault?” posted Friday on www.washblade.com

‘Incredible’ fun

“‘The Incredibles’ … holds together better than many contemporary live-action pictures. …

“Grown-up without being staid, and silly without being ridiculous, it’s that rare family movie that also works as a date movie for kids of all stripes. …

“‘The Incredibles’ is a picture about the importance of family, but with none of the usual groggy sentimentality that drags such movies down. …

“‘The Incredibles’ has that rare quality of feeling modern and classic at the same time. … It celebrates not ordinariness and conformity, but eccentricity and individuality. And while it recognizes the importance of working together, its more powerful assertion is that smoothing ourselves into a homogenous, unthinking whole only weakens us. … It’s comforting to know that there are people out there who still get it — even if they’re cartoon characters.”

Stephanie Zacharek, writing on “The Incredibles,” Friday in Salon at www.salon.com

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