David Brooks: The (Emma) Lazarene Creed
From the New York Times:
David Brooks OCT. 3, 2017
… The only way to beat Trump is to beat him philosophically. …
The Trump story is that good honest Americans are being screwed by aliens. Regular Americans are being oppressed by a snobbish elite that rigs the game in its favor. White Americans are being invaded by immigrants who take their wealth and divide their culture. Normal Americans are threatened by an Islamic radicalism that murders their children.
This is a tribal story. The tribe needs a strong warrior in a hostile world. We need to build walls to keep out illegals, erect barriers to hold off foreign threats, wage endless war on the globalist elites.
Somebody is going to have to arise to point out that this is a deeply wrong and un-American story. The whole point of America is that we are not a tribe. We are a universal nation, founded on universal principles, attracting talented people from across the globe, active across the world on behalf of all people who seek democracy and dignity.
That might come as a surprise to, say, John Quincy Adams:
Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.
But what would John Quincy Adams know about the point of America compared to Emma Lazarus? We must have faith in the Lazarene Creed. Brooks goes on:
… Today, the main enemy is not aliens; it’s division — between rich and poor, white and black, educated and less educated, right and left. Where there is division there are fences. Mobility is retarded and the frontier is destroyed. Trumpist populists want to widen the divisions and rearrange the fences. They want to turn us into an old, settled and fearful nation.
But we are an old, settled nation. We’re not going to invade Mexican territory again like it’s 1846.
Who finds this kind of rhetoric persuasive?
I guess lots of people do … But it sounds like self-parody. Perhaps Brooks is denouncing “the tribe” to see if anybody in the NYT comments even gets the joke?