A acquaintance of mine once sneered at people who travel overseas. Why travel to foreign lands when there was so much to visit in America? It was, he suggested, kind of un-American to traipse off to Europe.
I knew better. I had gone to Europe the summer after college. That was the summer I learned truly what it meant to be an American and to live in America. It was only by seeing the contrast with others that I fully appreciated my country and understood who I am.
Maybe it takes someone born in leftist Europe, someone who has lived at the end of the path to which the United States is headed, to fully appreciate what happened Tuesday. While many Americans understand that we punched a ticket Tuesday on the road to Socialism, perhaps only a European who has embraced this country can fully feel it in his bones.
Charles C.W. Cooke, a British-born writer who left his country for what he still believes is the greatest nation in history – the United States – has written for the National Review an eloquent lament, Why I Despair, which argues sadly that his adopted country is on its way toward a disastrous resemblance to his native land.
However sublime the miracle of Obama’s get out the vote effort – and whatever other technical reasons for Obama’s victory – the fact remains that America willingly and without coercion reelected an unabashed statist to the White House.
But, consider this: A president of the United States just ran a reelection campaign based on the promise of government largess, exploitation of class division, the demonization of success, the glorification of identity politics, and the presumption that women are a helpless interest group; and he did so while steadfastly refusing to acknowledge the looming — potentially fatal — crisis that the country faces. And it worked.
Critically, his reelection will enshrine Obamacare, a Trojan Horse that will usher behind the gates of freedom ever greater measures of government control.
Many had hoped that Tuesday would be 1980 revisited. It was not. Instead, in its effects at least, it was more like 1945 in Britain, in which year the Labour party was elected and began to put into place the foundations of a government-owned and -run health-care system that would quickly displace the established church as Britain’s national religion. (If you question the believers’ zeal, take a look at the frenzied NHS worship at the Olympic opening ceremony.) As Mark Steyn has correctly observed, in Britain as elsewhere, the National Health Service paved the way for a “permanent left-of-center political culture” that obtains regardless of who wins office.
And, Cooke suggests, the ascent of Obama could change U.S. society in ways we can hardly imagine.
In 2010, on the BBC’s Question Time — a British current-affairs show on which the guests trip over one other to display the appropriate degree of fealty to whichever orthodoxy is in the news that week whilst the audience tries to be as clever as one can be without doing any reading — the question of impending government spending cuts was raised. One audience member stood up and, waving her hands around, asked who would mow her elderly mother’s lawn if the government no longer did it. The audience clapped. The host looked serious. Not a single person on the panel said, “You!” Neither of the putatively Conservative guests even raised an eyebrow. A particularly oleaginous MP proceeded to tell her that it was a “good question.” I threw a coffee cup at my television.
I hope you get a chance to read the rest of Cooke’s piece. Americans may need to hear a warning spoken in a British accent to truly comprehend the magnitude of Tuesday’s results.