Magazine article Insight on the News

Q: Is the Bob Dole Generation Morally Superior to Bill Clinton's?

Magazine article Insight on the News

Q: Is the Bob Dole Generation Morally Superior to Bill Clinton's?

Article excerpt

Q: Is the Bob Dole generation morally superior to Bill Clinton's?

Yes: Boomers should honor and emulate the proven character of Dole's generation.

Bob Dole, in the words of syndicated columnist Cal Thomas, "has an asset that Bill Clinton cannot steal. It is his generation." It is that heroic sense of life born of a golden age a century ago and handed down from stoic parents to stalwart sons and daughters throughout the twenties and thirties. What the members of Dole's generation possess is that steel-willed belief in America as Earth's El Dorado with a divine destiny. This is something that Clinton's government-loving elitists know too little about.

Dole's generation grew up without the plethora of government crutches and psychological excuses that enamor the liberal Clintonistas. It was raised on hardscrabble dreams shaped from the rectitudes of a freedom we no longer revere. It produced the last of the intrepid Americans who marched off to war with elan and came home still willing to chase the rainbows of better days ahead. They were assured by nothing more than their own convictions and sturdied with nothing to fall back upon but their own resoluteness. Our younger generations of Americans no doubt are willing to fight heroically for their country, but it is depressingly clear that they no longer are willing to live on the strengths of their own merits in peacetime. What Dole's generation has is old-fashioned "sovereignty of being," a concept totally alien to a team in the White House that came of age during the hippie paroxysms of the sixties and put its troth in nanny-state liberalism.

"Let me be the bridge of an America that only the unknowing call myth," declared the Republican presidential standard-bearer in his acceptance speech. Indeed, let this plainspoken "man's man" do precisely that. The youth of today could find no finer model of values and mores to emulate than the era in which Dole came of age -- the years from 1930 to 1950. I was but a small child in 1950, so I can only portray the era's virtues second hand, culling them from the memories of family and neighbors who preceded me. But there were enough glistening residues from the prewar and postwar years that lingered through the fifties to give one both an emotional and cerebral feel for the age.

What kind of time was it? Though hobbled in the thirties by the government-induced Great Depression -- which sowed the seeds of today's federal leviathan via FDR -- America still was a free and robust land. It was free at least in spirit, and its philosophical vision was healthy. The values of the nation's citizens up through the forties still were of the Old Republic. Men and women respected each other's uniqueness and right to exclusive assembly. People left their doors unlocked at night and strangers often warmly spoke to each other as they passed on the street. Doctors made house calls at all hours, and bankers made home loans at 3.5 percent interest. A night's diversion was Clark Gable at the Bijou and a few beers afterward, rather than mud wrestling at the Flamingo and snorts of cocaine. Taxes then were felt as irritants, not, as now, despotic extortions that lay waste to savings and self-reliance.

Baseball players didn't spit at umpires and loved the game more than the money, while fans, in turn, loved the players more than the exposes. Teenagers went to Scout meetings without fear of drive-by shootings. Schools revered the lessons of history -- not the latest in political correctness.

Yes, Americans of this era had a racial problem that sneered contemptuously at their founding principles. But there were pundits on the scene who spoke with sagacity and sanity about how to rectify this problem without unleashing the political furies with which all citizens now grapple. They spoke largely to deaf ears, but the country's soundness of soul provided spokespeople for those intellectuals and politicians who wanted to listen. …

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