In her regular weekend column for the WSJ, Peggy Noonan waxes her usual eloquent on Obama’s vacant and clueless reaction to Paris. And in that typical eloquence she says something extraordinary:
After the attacks Mr. Obama went on TV, apparently to comfort us and remind us it’s OK, he’s in charge. He prattled on about violence being at odds with “universal values.” He proceeded as if unaware that there are no actually universal values, that right now the values of the West and radical Islam are clashing, violently, and we have to face it. [emphasis added]
Let that sink in for just a minute – there are no universal values. Values have to be cultivated and promoted and defended. They must be cherished and passed on generation to generation. Values must be institutionalized and preserved. They must be personalized and held close to our hearts. Anything less and they simply wither, like a volunteer tomato plant the year after you planted them.
That Obama is clueless about this is old news. What concerns me is if the American people know this. Noonan went on in her piece to say, “…Hillary Clinton Thursday delivered a speech on her strategy to face the current crisis; it sounded a lot like Mr. Obama’s strategy, whatever that is. ” One of the major candidates for the presidency is as clueless about values and their care as the current president and yet she tends to out poll the current GOP crop, barely. What Obama’s re-election (fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me) and Hillary’s current standing in the polls tells us is that a very significant number of Americans have failed to cultivate values in themselves and their loved ones.
We left it to the institutions and failed to support them as they rotted from within. (Do you need more evidence of this fact than what is happening in universities across the land in the last few weeks?) We have failed to cherish Western values in ourselves, choosing the easy path. We decided we did not need church if we were “just good people,” never realizing that it was church that helped us to understand what it meant to be good people and church that lent us the strength to execute it. Either that or we morphed church into something that felt good, but never really got down to business.
The cultivation and preservation of values requires the efforts of each of us. We all play a role in it, with our children, our loved ones, in our communities, clubs and congregations. It is a big giant machine in which we all have a function. And like any machine, it requires maintenance to continue to function well. It is funny how a car can be stopped dead in its tracks by the smallest part. We have all assumed we were a small and insignificant part when in fact we have the power to bring the whole value machine to a halt, and we are very close to doing so.
Noonan’s remarkable observation is not really so remarkable save that we have forgotten it. We are now confronted with a choice. We can sit here and lament it, blaming the next person or we can get busy. I vote for gettin’ busy.