America’s Princess of Light, Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan, has adopted a somber tone for today’s edition of “Declarations.” While sipping on a petite tumbler of butterscotch liqueur and eating pasty crumpets, Noonan writes about how the financial crisis has shown how terribly inept either candidate would be at fixing America’s problems, because neither of them is Zeus or Jesus — basically, how can we expect anything from a president who lacks even a modicum of magical powers, such as mind control or laser-gun eyes? It’s one of those Peggington Noonington columns we love: you disagree with so many obnoxious points along the way, but she manages to end on a few staggering notes that kill you, headlong, right into the weekend.
Here’s how she ends it, after many previous paragraphs of calling both candidates pathetic losers:
I wonder if we follow the election so passionately because we’re afraid. We’re afraid a lot of our national problems are intractable, and the future too full of challenge.
We cannot tolerate feeling this way. So we make believe the election can change everything. And we follow it passionately to convince ourselves its outcome will be decisive and make everything better. We reassure ourselves with pictures of the cheering crowds at the rally. We even find some comfort in the latest story of the latest dirty trick. But deep inside we think: Ah, that won’t work either.
Some part of me thinks we are all making believe this is a life-changing election because we know it’s not a life-changing election. Ever have that thought? Me too. Then there’s a rally or a scandal or a gaffe, and it passes.
SO MANY SWEEPING GENERALIZATIONS, and yet, it’s not far off the mark.
Neither of these candidates, really, has acknowledged the depth of what we’re facing. It’s evident in the way they’ve ignored, or brushed aside, the most important question that they cannot answer: Where the hell is this country going, or what are we aiming for anymore? We don’t make things anymore; our post-industrial economy allows people to either purchase a commoditized college degree and make vast sums of money pushing paper around haplessly or work at Wal-Mart, or McDonald’s. Average real household incomes stopped growing 30-some years ago, and yet we still look at GDP growth as the prime indicator of economic wellness. In good times, everyone buys the new robot from Apple; in bad times, people find that that robot has somehow landed them in $30k of consumer debt which they can’t pay off, and worse yet, they stopped playing with the fucking robot a week after buying it. And also, oh shit, all of those robots were made in China in one of its robust, expansive 3-year-old metropolises.
Sometimes, when we’re bored, we comically invade countries.
So thank you PEGGY for your depressing column, you butt. Still, isn’t John McCain the worst? At least Barry might tax away the national debt a little bit, just enough to stave off the Chinese invasion for an extra 10-15 years, during which time we can all put the finishing touches on our makeshift cardboard rockets to Mars.
Why It’s Getting Mean [WSJ]