The Rooted and the Rootless
Does Barack Obama understand the
people he leads? Do his aides?
These may seem cheeky questions to
ask of a team that just won the presidency. But there is
something in their
cool, insouciant, blasé demeanor, in the face of insults
to their country, that suggests there yet exists a
chasm—between them and us.
Now, the change since the 1960s in
the character of the nation has been great. The moral
and social sappers spawned by that decade have done
their work well. But Middle America yet remains a
blood-and-soil, family-and-faith, God-and-country kind
We are not Europe—yet.
Most Americans remain visceral
patriots. It`s in the DNA.
What almost cost Bill Clinton the
presidency in 1992 was not that he had opposed the
Vietnam War, but that, it was said, he
marched against his country while in a foreign country.
When Barack confided to friends in
San Francisco that he was
having trouble in Pennsylvania because these folks
"get bitter, they
cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who
aren`t like them … as a way to explain their
frustrations," he revealed that
he does not really understand a part of the nation
he now leads.
It is this part of America that
does not comprehend how the president could sit in
Trinidad and listen to the scrub stock of the hemisphere
trash our country—and say nothing.
To Obama`s supporters, he may have
behaved as a rational leader ought: Be pleasant and
friendly, smile, ignore taunts and insults, rise above
all that, communicate, seek common ground.
That is who Obama is, friends say.
On a personal level, there is surely nothing wrong with
so conducting oneself. But Obama is now president of the
United States. He represents our country, not just
The other America is hardwired
another way. It believes, as
Merle Haggard sang,
running` down my country, man, you`re walkin` on the
fightin` side of me."
At Columbia, Harvard Law and the
University of Chicago—where Barack, the son of a
single mom, shuttled from
Indonesia and back—a black kid in a strange Muslim
world, then in a
white world, by his own admission unrooted, learned
how to get along. And he is surrounded by aides with
advanced degrees from elite colleges who react just like
But if they don`t wish to lose the
country, they had better begin to understand the rest of
America—as the 1960s` liberals never did.
When columnist Tom Wicker famously
wrote, after the riots at the 1968 Democratic
"These were our children in the streets, and the Chicago
police beat them up,"
a Gallup poll recorded that 56 percent of
Americans interviewed approved of the Chicago cops.
To most Americans, it was the cops
who were "our
children," and the country was delighted the
obnoxious and over-privileged brats had gotten what they
When students marched down Wall
Street in 1969 to protest the
war" in Vietnam, the construction workers of Pete
Brennan`s building trades
waded in. Liberals could not understand how the
working class—the proletariat, for Pete`s sake!—so
Ever since the Social Democrats
voted to a man for the Kaiser`s war credits in 1914, the
left has felt itself repeatedly betrayed by the economic
class in which they have always invested so much hope.
This divide here is not Republicans
versus Democrat, so much as it is
NASCAR versus The New York Times.
When the Dubai Ports deal became
columnist David Brooks was as
stunned as his neoliberal colleague Tom Friedman.
"pitchfork-wielding xenophobes" were out of their
cages, and a new Dark Age was upon us.
When during the Panama Canal debate
Ronald Reagan declared:
"We bought it. We
paid for it. It`s ours. And we`re gonna keep it,"
and crowds came roaring to their feet, the
elites could not comprehend it, because they do not
Pascal meant when he said,
"The heart has
reasons that the mind knows not."
Rooted people love the things of
the heart: God, country, family and faith. The weapons
of the mind have been given to us, they believe, to
defend the things of the heart.
Knowledge follows love; it does not
Most Americans have grown to love
America long before they read the Constitution, or the
Federalist Papers. There are heroes in
who never learned to read. A true nation is an
extended family. If fathers or sons do not defend it, it
is their conduct that is indefensible.
Obama may be popular today, but he
will lose the country and his presidency if he lets the
perception take hold that he, the personification of
American sovereignty, does not react as a normal
The Obamaites may not like
Sarah Palin`s phraseology. But they need someone in
their councils who is rooted in the Real America.
CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
Patrick J. Buchanan
no introduction to VDARE.COM readers;
his book State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America, can be ordered from Amazon.com. His latest book
Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War": How Britain Lost Its
Empire and the West Lost the World,
Paul Craig Roberts.