Tag: Fatalism

Night at the Woke Museum

 

For all of six picoseconds, I considered a career in public history. It’s my great fortune that fate instead sent me into the regulatory-industrial complex, where I can (for now) generate paperwork free of the taint of left-wing cultural politics. I know the world of public history reasonably well. I spent time in graduate school studying American architecture — a subject joined at the hip to public history.

One summer, I even interned at the institution formerly known as the Ohio Historical Society. (It is now known, officially, as the “Ohio History Connection,” a pointless and obfuscating name I prefer not to use.) Like all state historical societies, the Ohio Historical Society has a blog. Nobody reads this blog, save for the archivists and interns who write the posts (and one or two of their teacher friends), but that’s hardly relevant since the site still gives us a peek into the minds of the second-tier intelligentsia who staff such institutions. Their astroturfing reveals what matters to them — what they find interesting and inspiring. It tells us, in short, where the action is.

Fighting Fatalism

 

shutterstock_135889718Like many right-of-center Americans, I fell into a months-long funk when Barack Obama was re-elected. I understood voting for a charismatic cipher in 2008 after years of war, scandal, and a financial collapse. It would have been hard for a Democrat not to win, especially with the cheerleading of newsrooms and popular culture.

But 2012 was a different matter altogether. The voters knew who Obama was. They lived through four years of economic stagnation, failed foreign policy, and the callow dilettante presiding over both. They saw the backroom deals and the trillion wasted on a fictitious stimulus, but the American people didn’t care. They agreed with Mitt Romney on nearly every issue, but Obama made failure look cool. They applauded American decline and signed on for another four years.

Week by week, I slowly got over my 2012 fatalism. I focused on the small victories conservatives could win in the states and school boards. I saw a rising tide of right-leaning problem solvers in governors’ mansions and statehouses. And despite the bad rap many millennials get, I met so many young people who got it. My inherent optimism slowly returned.