In Haste on a Snowy Night in New Hampshire, Or, Duty

I’ve been on the road the last few days–the day after the election was the first time in my life I was happy to spend ten hours in cars and on airplanes, because I could, more or less, pretend for one more day that, when the votes were finally counted, Romney might still carry Virginia, Florida and Ohio–and even now, in my New Hampshire hotel room, I have only a moment.  So here, briefly, is what I’d like to say:

1)  I love you guys on Ricochet–just love you. Of all the places I’ve spent catching up on the web, Ricochet proved by far the most gratifying and informative. By following links posted here, I could read what really mattered. And even when I had only a few moments to skim posts and comments, I could see what my friends–and after this past campaign, we really are friends–were thinking and feeling. Put it this way. After a catastrophe like this, I wouldn’t want to be stuck in this hotel room all alone.

2)  I’ve gone back and forth on the central question, which is–let’s face it–whether the country is doomed. 

When I was at Dartmouth as an undergrad, I interviewed the great British journalist Malcolm Muggeridge. Americans and Englishmen, he suggested, found themselves in the position of Romans in the fifth century, living as the world they cherished slowly crumbled. “Aside from Alaric’s sack,” Muggeridge said, “all the events would have been slow, nearly imperceptible.  You can imagine two pink senators being toweled down in the baths, one saying to the other, ‘Things aren’t what they used to be, are they?’”

Muggeridge was mistaken. Things weren’t about to get even worse; they were about to get better.  Later that very year, John Paul II would visit Poland, Margaret Thatcher would move into Number Ten Downing  Street, and Ronald Reagan would announce his candidacy.  

After this week’s election, though, I’ve begun to suspect that maybe Maybe Muggeridge was only off by few decades.

You know what, though? It doesn’t damn well matter–it’s taken me 48 hours to realize that, but now I see it. I have children–one will graduate from Dartmouth this coming June full of hope and expectancy, eager to enter American life with the same eagerness I myself felt thirty-some years ago. Even if the country is slowly descending–maybe it is, and maybe it isn’t– I intend to join millions of my countrymen, and all my friends right here at Ricochet, in doing my best to do my simple duty.  

I intend to fight.

  1. Pig Man
    Schrodinger’s Cat

    Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour.”

    Winston Churchill June 1940

    4 hours ago

    I hope you are not comparing Obama to Hitler.

  2. Paul Dougherty

    I just got back from a foray into NPR territory (website). There is nothing out there for us, my friends. It is a wasteland more vast than the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. There is a complete frenzy of attacks on Mitt Romney for being the most vile person to ever enter the arena. No cited reasons, beyond the general accusations of lies, flip-flopping (as if they cared) and not having enough details in a plan that had no chance to work, if it made sense.  We are doomed. These people are supremely confident in their righteousness. An armor impervious to argument. The only thing they agree on is that any Republican, who would self-identify as such, is wrong definitionally.

    I need to regroup awhile, here in Ricochet, before I get back out there.

    Any one got Maalox?

    NPR

  3. Blake Neff

    Doom happens when people let it happen. It is not primal forces tearing America apart, it’s people. Change the people, change the path. I don’t think we have much option but to keep fighting.

    BTW, if you’re still reading comments, Mr. Robinson, I’m a Dartmouth student, so if you need a Ricochet member to recover from the election with over a beer shoot me a message.

  4. dittoheadadt

    Fighting an enemy without is easier than an enemy within. The former creates national unity, the latter national fracture.Unless we stop thinking our message or our candidates is the problem, and face the fact that the means of communication and our inability to communicate directly with the American people is the problem, we will never prevail in any meaningful way.We have no bully pulpit. We need some, or it’s over.

  5. Cutlass
    Schrodinger’s Cat

    Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire.

    Winston Churchill June 1940

    And what happened? As soon as civilization was saved the Brits kicked Winston to the curb and installed a welfare state. 

  6. She

    And if you haven’t yet re-girded your loins, here’s a dose of the Daily Sneer from across the pond to stiffen your spine (is that a mixed metaphor?).  It’s a shame there are a few grains of wheat among the chaff.

  7. liberal jim

    “do my simple duty” “intend to fight”  

    Our military many of whom are wounded, killed, and disabled are those who are fighting.  Not me, not you!

    [Redacted for CoC Violation]

  8. F. L. Booth

    I am certain that the “real” F. L. Booth would be proud to be the grandfather of the man that wrote that post. 

  9. ctruppi
    liberal jim: “do my simple duty” “intend to fight”  

    Our military many of whom are wounded, killed, and disabled are those who are fighting.  Not me, not you!

    Is this yet one more pathetic attempt to sell memberships or simply the ramblings of a GOP chicken hawk?

    I sincerely hope you don’t get your pinky stuck in your keyboard.  That would be a tradegy · 9 minutes ago

    I wish they had a “dislike” button!  Jeez, can you get any holier than thou.  I think my 10-year old can tell the moral difference between “fighting” in a political or athletic competition and “fighting” in an actual war!  I for one appreciate Peter’s will to fight on.  In fact, I wish I had had a lot more of his uneasiness this fall rather than my total Dr Rahe optimism.  I may have actually gotten a few minutes sleep the last 2 nights. 

    You know, I was actually thinking about stopping my Ricochet membership and taking a 6-month sabbatical from politics.  You’re comment made me realize we need more soldiers in the fight, jammed pinky or no jammed pinky.  One-year subscription, here I come!!

  10. ctruppi
    Michael Hinton: I have already begun my wing of the fight on Facebook, starting to document the failures of the healthcare law that is about to engulf us all. My fight includes fighting for my family to receive better care than the new government standard. We should start our own economy, athwart the approaching tide. Give the IRS their pittance, and opt-out of the crumbling healthcare economy. I assume we can find a sufficient number of doctors who share our philosophy to care for our productive souls. · 9 hours ago

    I’ll help you in this regard.  I spoke to a Dr friend last night.  He’s despondant over the election and his practice plans on going to cash only (they already don’t accept Medicaid and no new Medicair patients).  He personally plas on staying on for 3 more years then leaving practice and teaching university. He’s relatively young and our area will be losing a fine GP who would have served the community for a few more decades.  When he announces I will send you the clip. 

  11. Stephen Tielemans

    “I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this government: I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy.”Fight we will. Every way, every medium.

  12. Nick Stuart

     

    Sabrdance: “Once more into the breach, dear friends, once more, or fill the wall up with our English dead.”  Wait, that didn’t quite go where I wanted it to.

    In the center they will break.” No, that was Monday night’s bad omen.

    Half a League, Half a League, Half a League and onward rode the six hundred…Into the Valley of Death“  Hrmm… This isn’t improving.

    Forward Men!  For God’s Sake Forward!”  Wait, that ends about as well as “They couldn’t hit an elephant from this distance.”

    There’s only two kinds of men on this beach, those who are dead and those who are gonna die.”    Darn it, still depressing.

    Nuts!”  Is that CoC compliant?

    Ah!  “Damn the torpedos!  Full Speed Ahead!”

    I think that sums it up nicely. · 8 hours ago

    Or, as Daniel Daly, twice awarded the Medal of Honor, put it Come on, you sons of bitches! Do you want to live forever?

  13. Indaba

    Agreed, Peter, Ricochet is the salt, vinegar and the sugar of life, so many interesting opinions from such a diverse group of people. Ricochet has become my prime source.  Your comments on Ricochet about American history and the foundations of America’s political structure, in other words, in depth analysis, are what drew me into Ricochet and then other websites such as NRO and Drudge. 

    the playfulness and warmth of the members is also eye opening. CNN had me convinced all conservatives were flinty eyed extremists. Gloria Steinem had told me all conservatives wanted me back in the kitchen, having babies and never enjoying sex. She seriously began a speech in Toronto to women executives with exactly that set of points. 

    There are like minded people around the world and Ricochet is kind enough to let us foreigners come in and play. Thank you for that.

    Have hope. Canada has the longest serving conservative PM and our conservative govt. has made enormous changes under the radar.

    The conservative message is the stronger one for a life of happiness. I have been posting the front cover of our left leaning newsmagazine which tells the teacher union to stop brainwashing our children. 

  14. Indaba
    ctruppi

    liberal jim:Our military many of whom are wounded, killed, and disabled are those who are fighting.  Not me, not you!

    Is this yet one more pathetic attempt to sell memberships or simply the ramblings of a GOP chicken hawk?

    I sincerely hope you don’t get your pinky stuck in your keyboard.  That would be a tradegy · 9 minutes ago

    I wish they had a “dislike” button!  

    You know, I was stopping my Ricochet membership.  Your comment made me realize we need more soldiers in the fight! · 55 minutes ago

    Edited 54 minutes ago

    LiberalJim, crikey Moses, the fight for freedom of speech and ideas that go against the majority is hard. You do know the maker of that video that Obama and Hillary said caused the death of the Ambassador to Libya is in jail for a year?

     I lived through a war and there always two wars, the physical soldiers and then the battle of ideas. The leaders of ideas may not get a gun in the hand, but it is recognized that the pen is mightier than the sword. They got taken away in the middle of the night  and gave their lives. 

  15. She
    Half a League, Half a League, Half a League and onward rode the six hundred…Into the Valley of Death“  Hrmm… This isn’t improving.

    In that vein, here’s your Call to Arms.  Trumpeter Landry.  You have to listen carefully because it was recorded on a wax cylinder in 1890.

    But it’s worth it.

  16. Amy Schley
    Arahant: From my own reading, I would put us around 133 BC or perhaps closer to 44 BC, but somewhere in that range, although I do not think we have yet had our Marius.

    Of course, with modern technology, things do progress faster.  Perhaps Obama will be our Cæsar instead of just Tiberius Gracchus? 

    Rome continued to grow and spread its civilization, even after the Republic had fallen, and I think our civilization will continue, even though it may be the cynical, perverted version of our civilization that continues to spread.

    Any other Ricochetti have an opinion on where we are?  Many are the learned scholars upon this island in the sea of turmoil.  Any historians or history buffs want to weigh in? · 6 hours ago

    Edited 6 hours ago

    It’s not my period of historical study, but I will say this … either way, we have time.  Time to prepare, to protect ourselves, to create our own security net of family and friends.  And this election has helped me figure out where my current safety net has weak links.

  17. Chris Campion

    There are navy ships that sport fantastic names. The one that comes to mind this morning is:Dauntless

  18. Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    Peter Robinson: 

    1)  I love you guys on Ricochet–just love you. Of all the places I’ve spent catching up on the web, Ricochet proved by far the most gratifying and informative. By following links posted here, I could read what really mattered. And even when I had only a few moments to skim posts and comments, I could see what my friends–and after this past campaign, we really are friends–were thinking and feeling. Put it this way. After a catastrophe like this, I wouldn’t want to be stuck in this hotel room all alone.

    Peter, you’re a dear.

  19. katievs

    Exactly so.  Onward, Christian soldiers!

    We don’t know what the future brings.  We only know we have to be faithful to the light we’ve been given, for the sake of what we love.

  20. Goldgeller

    Great post! And fight. Keep fighting.