A Tale of Two Countries
This column by ACRU Senior Fellow Robert Knight was published August 23, 2015 by The Washington Times.
There really are two Americas.
The one you see on the news, the Internet and pouring every week out of Hollywood, is a culture in the grip of mass insanity, fueled by ever-faster media and an insatiable sexual revolution.
The images are blasted around the world, horrifying our friends and making it easier for the Islamic State to attract recruits against “The Great Satan.” Not that they wouldn’t hate us and Israel anyway.
The other America is the one that’s been there all along and somehow perseveres. On a recent trip to Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, we saw real life going on —- families, churches, communities, schools, high school football games, county fairs, regular postal delivery, businesses and baseball. Plus an Amish buggy or two.
Even in the nation’s capital, where cynicism runs like water, you can see down-home America at any Washington Nationals game. It starts with community groups feted and awards presented. Then, a live rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” A few innings later, the 10-foot-tall contestants in the Presidents Race make their way from center field to the Nationals’ dugout, where comic trickery aids the winner. It’s good, clean fun, and you can hear children asking their parents while pointing at “Teddy” or “Abe,” “Who are these guys?”
The most moving part of an afternoon or evening at Nationals Park is when the announcer asks the crowd to express appreciation to America’s military veterans. The big screen shows a line of vets on a landing behind home plate, waving their hands and caps. Every person who can do so stands and applauds, some with tears of gratitude.
And the game goes on, pretty much the way it was played when Christy Mathewson, Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth delighted millions. The park still sells hot dogs, beer and Cracker Jacks, although at prices that would give the Babe a heart attack.
One reason many readers gravitate to the sports section of a paper or website is because those pages are the least likely to be infested with social engineers who impersonate journalists. When a guy is batting .210, it’s hard to mask the fact that he’s struggling. And a losing record, is, well, a losing record. Meanwhile, you can read about Bethesda’s Katie Ledecky setting new world swim marks with exact times down to the hundredths of a second.
Upon leaving the safe confines of sports, you can take in the next-least-politicized news —- business. Venture anywhere else and the cultural and political insanity assails you like fiery darts. The news itself, even without any massaging, can jar our sensibilities in ways unseen since the addled 1960s.
A day does not go by without some new outrage. You know what I’m talking about —- stories about fresh surges of illegal immigrants over the border despite the American people’s mounting anger that we’re losing our country; the Boy Scouts welcoming openly homosexual men as troop leaders; the federal debt soaring past $18 trillion and counting; Planned Parenthood getting caught dissecting live babies for organs and brains; the White House announcing the first openly transgender staff member; Pentagon officials rushing toward putting women into all combat units, including the Navy SEALs. I have yet to see a reporter ask how this will enhance the SEALs’ ability to conduct and survive dangerous missions.
Meanwhile, under President Obama’s nuclear “executive agreement,” Iran is pursuing an electromagnetic pulse capability that could plunge America into a dark age. Christians in Iraq and Syria are being beheaded, raped and sold as slaves while the Obama administration blocks Christian refugees and puts a welcome mat out for Muslim asylum-seekers. How much more disturbing can the news get?
At the movies, the Motion Picture Association of America gives an inexplicably lax R rating to “The Diary of a Teenage Girl,” about a 15-year-old having an affair with a 35-year-old man, complete with several nude scenes. The film’s director says she hopes to help young girls get over the “taboo” against being sexually active. Just when we thought we’d run out of broken taboos. People like this used to hang around schoolyards in creepy raincoats. Now they have big budgets and sophisticated cameras, and get warm reviews in major newspapers.
This is fifty shades of statutory rape, like former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle’s guilty pleas this past week for crossing state lines to have sex with underage girls and possessing child pornography. The “Diary” filmmaker gets away with it by having a 23-year-old portray the teen girl.
With the political world reeling from crisis to crisis and a media culture more decadent by the day, it’s more imperative than ever that people shed their apathy, get involved and push back the darkness. But in between battles, it’s not a bad thing to unplug and take in a ballgame.
At the very least, it’s good to take a drive in the real America. You can escape the evil media matrix —- for a while.