Almost all absurdity of conduct arises from the imitation of those whom we cannot resemble. -- Samuel Johnson
At the Democratic National Convention in 1988, held in Atlanta, the traditional red, white, and blue bunting was replaced by the designer colors salmon, cream, and lilac, because the Dems' media consultants assured them it came off better on television. It came off instead as ridiculous, and in so doing showed the gap between policy-making liberals and the rest of the citizenry. Those for whom patriotism is a distasteful ritual enacted under compulsion only once every four years find it hard to counterfeit, and it's not surprising that when they try to fake it for the cameras they can't get it right. Fr. Neuhaus had some fun the other day spoofing E.J. Dionne's clumsy defense of his fellow libs: "the progressive and the reformer have a problem with what passes for unadulterated patriotism." It's hard to convince others you share a value you sneer at.
We see the same salmon-cream-lilac obtuseness when Lefties try to talk religion. They live and move and have their being in a secular elite culture that has nothing but disdain for Christianity and Christians; at best they regard piety as a childhood disease. Only the coarsest political necessity obliges them to take notice of believers in the first place, and their discomfort at feigning an interest in faith is obvious. Still, like a drooling guy trying to convince a ballerina he "really digs Profokieff," the liberal lust for votes won't help them get the words right. Mark Tooley reports on Jim Wallis's pathetic teach-in for Dems on the make:
[Howard] Dean shared hope for America as a "moral nation," with national health care, an increased minimum wage, and a protected estate tax. "The folks in this church are ones who live their faith through works -- that is the mark of a real Christian," he assured his audience.
A protected estate tax. That'll impress the Christian voter. But while you're laying this line on her, Howie, try not to stare so hard at her legs.
The sad futility is evident in another column by E.J. Dionne, where the liberal Catholic journo is gushing about the liberal Christian pol Barack Obama:
And if you think this sounds preachy, Mr. Obama has an answer: "Our fear of getting 'preachy' may also lead [progressives] to discount the role that values and culture play in some of our most urgent social problems." They've both got it backwards. Religion is about ends, and genuinely religious people are not flattered when you point out how well their religion serves as a means. Christian charity may be useful in alleviating homelessness, but to praise its utility is to demean it. A politician not constitutionally allergic to faith might have written, "Our fear of getting 'preachy' may also lead progressives to discount the importance of urgent social problems in the personal decisions that religious persons consider matters of their salvation and damnation." Hint: don't look for many changes in Campaign 2008.