Sunday, May 03, 2009

The revolution got poor ratings

Mary Ann Glendon, who never found anything objectionable in the war of choice of George W. Bush, is not happy that President Barack Obama will give the graduation speech at Notre Dame University. So in what has become the standard Republican response to bad election results, she's picking up her ball and going home, specifically rejecting the award that ND was to give her on the same day.

But why exactly is she objecting? ND is a major national university and it invited the President to speak. It's not like he'll contaminate ND's students with something they haven't heard before. Nor does her boycott change any of the political calculus about abortion, the stated focus of her rage. Instead, the issue may be what has not happened: the overthrow of the American "regime", as called for by a First Things symposium in 1996, First Things being the magazine of elite reactionary Catholic opinion in the US (for contemporaneous context, see this 11 year old Andrew Sullivan piece). With which Mary Ann Glendon is closely associated (it's where her rejection letter to ND appeared).

And, no, we're not exaggerating. Here's a sample passage from the 1996 event --

“God and country” is a motto that has in the past come easily, some would say too easily, to almost all Americans. What are the cultural and political consequences when many more Americans, perhaps even a majority, come to the conclusion that the question is “God or country”? What happens not in “normal” times, when maybe America can muddle along, but in a time of great economic crisis, or in a time of war when the youth of another generation are asked to risk their lives for their country? We do not know what would happen then, and we hope never to find out.

What is happening now is the displacement of a constitutional order by a regime that does not have, will not obtain, and cannot command the consent of the people.

2 wars and one economic crisis later, there's been no rejection of the state. The "regime" is still here and America's messy abortion compromise remains in place. What is a good revolutionary to do, but wait in exile in Finland Harvard until the masses come to their senses?

Photo: Eric Draper

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