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Opinion Reasons to be cheerful — and worried

23:40  05 may  2021
23:40  05 may  2021 Source:   washingtonexaminer.com

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Two-thirds of the public (64%) are optimistic about the direction of the country, according to an ABC News/Ipsos poll that coincided with President Joe Biden’s first 100 days in office. That’s a high number, but the glaring question it leaves hanging in the air is what on earth the other 36% are thinking.

  Reasons to be cheerful — and worried © Provided by Washington Examiner

It’s important to remember that questions about direction relate, by definition, not just to where one is going but also where one is coming from. And America has just been through the year 2020, a hideous time in which tens of millions of people lost their jobs, a million-plus businesses closed, and all of us, social creatures that we are, were forced to stay apart from one another in ways that undermined physical and mental health.

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But now, suddenly, vaccines produced in record time are being administered, and they are working. People are being immunized and freed from reasonable or exaggerated fear of catching COVID-19. The sensible ones are taking off their masks and interacting as we humans are evolved to do. Once again, we can read facial expressions, hug family members, and get drinks with people we’ve shunned, been shunned by, or met only via video since the big chill set in 14 long months ago. That’s a huge weight being lifted off our shoulders.

And there is more. The bounce-back boom that began before Biden was sworn in (much though he claims credit) has lifted the economy over the past nine months to its pre-pandemic peak; gross domestic product grew at a 6.4% annual rate in the first quarter of 2021. Stock markets are at all-time highs, and Americans are invested in shares more heavily than ever before.

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Some people, assuredly, are optimistic also simply because Donald Trump is no longer in the White House — glad to be rid of his overbearing and inescapable presence. Those of the Left delight in the fact that without Trump’s huge figure athwart America’s path to socialist nirvana, they can shove Biden in that direction at high speed.

But these aggregate (if not universally shared) reasons to feel good only amplify the need to understand why more than a third of the country is pessimistic. Why is a substantial minority more gloomy than not, even though we’re rapidly exiting the worst pandemic in a century and are on our way toward full employment and wealth creation? It shows that the rosy picture produced by the snapshot of an opinion poll needs a warning label. It says something important that many millions of Americans, both looking ahead and glancing backward over their shoulder, are shuddering at the view of their nation’s future.

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The explanation for this is, I suspect, to be found in a Washington Examiner story reporting that Republicans are increasingly finding political traction when they speak out against “wokeness.” More and more ordinary people support politicians who are prepared to stand up to this corrosive pseudo-intellectual fad. Biden’s Democrats have so embraced the worst aspects of this new intolerant culture that, as Vivek Ramaswamy, an entrepreneur and author, commented, “Wokeness is no longer about challenging the system. Wokeness is the system.”

Democrats and their allies among center-left former Republicans pooh-pooh conservative alarm over the cultural revolution, but it has a vise grip on America. Critical race theory and radical transgenderism; the displacement of equality by equity; the “progressive” onslaught against free speech, free association, free enterprise, and indeed against the very idea of freedom do not allow optimism among that swath of the public that recognizes these things as a danger to the country they love.

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They know, as Sen. Tim Scott asserted powerfully in his response to Biden’s recent congressional address, that this “is not a racist country.” Yet they can see oily left-wing politicians such as the president and vice president ostensibly agree with Scott while doing all in their power to nurture the opposite view, appeasing falsehoods about “systemic racism,” gender identity, and the rest.

Perhaps these baneful cultural developments are now so obviously absurd that their collapse and a return to sanity are imminent. Maybe they will soon burn themselves out. We’d better hope so. For, while the Left excoriates this nation and obsesses over past sins common to all humanity, while it concocts false criticisms to erode self-confidence and national pride, there is a real tyranny on the other side of the world turning itself fast into a power capable of challenging the benign global leadership America has exercised for a century and more.

Tags: Beltway Confidential, Opinion, Biden Administration, Democratic Party, Coronavirus, Economy, Critical Race Theory, Transgender Issues, Tim Scott, woke

Original Author: Hugo Gurdon

Original Location: Reasons to be cheerful — and worried

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usr: 0
This is interesting!