Skip to comments.Stanley Crouch: Getting at the soul of our nation
Posted on 09/10/2012 11:26:48 AM PDT by presidio9
The end of the Democratic National Convention deepened observations of American life I have developed over many years.
I was especially impressed by the incredible variety of American women who took the stage in Charlotte. These included First Lady Michelle Obama, Massachusetts senatorial candidate Elizabeth Warren, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, high-powered New Yorker Caroline Kennedy and Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown law student who, you will remember, was called a slut by Rush Limbaugh for her views on contraception.
What they all had was soul. Always far beyond class, ethnicity, education and politics, it is the element that defines American democracy and drives it at its most fundamental level. This soul is the acceptance of argument but also, crucially, simultaneously, compromise and cooperation, all grounded in empathy.
The American soul makes itself felt here and the world over through empathy. This is what Michelle was talking about when she said, I love that for Barack, there is no such thing as us and them he doesnt care whether youre a Democrat, a Republican or none of the above, he knows that we all love our country, and hes always ready to listen to good ideas.
Obamas first term has not been perfect, but he has worked on the ô tough stuff the economy, health care and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that is central to the American project.
This is much more demanding than any of the lies and factoids told by the likes of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan at the Republican National Convention in Tampa the previous week.
Bill Clinton and Joe Biden held the GOPs feet to the fire for voting against bipartisan ideas to lower the deficit. They castigated the Republicans for failing to admit deregulation had much to do with the financial crisis. And they asked why, for all the partys supposed love of American women, its members opposed a bill to help guarantee them equal pay for equal work.
Of the Republicans, the only one who showed true American empathy was Condoleezza Rice, who spoke about how desperate our education crisis has become: We need to have high standards for our students self-esteem comes from achievement not from lax standards and false praise.
She knows that the overriding goal is to get us all prepared, from the very start to the very end, from pre-school to a college degree. We must build an educational system geared to make all of us the best that we can be, not just one that serves the elites.
This sense was much more prevalent among the Democrats. Clinton and Biden moved forward in their speeches with a shared sense of American democracy in which the profit motive is interwoven with morality, fairness and a respect for others.
We could again call it empathy because neither one made it seem sentimental liberalism, but common sense and decency.
You didnt hear that kind of talk down at the Tea Party convention in Tampa, where the falsifying faces of the conservative movement did everything they could to obscure the truth.
It all reminded me of powerful new film I recently saw, Beasts of the Southern Wild. Its director, Benh Zeitlin, is quite young and its stars are amateurs who give remarkable performances that have excited many Americans.
One of the films fans is Oprah Winfrey, who was told to go see the film by President Obama. She continues to represent, as do Bill and Melinda Gates, as well as Warren Buffett, empathy among American billionaires. Winfrey called the experience of watching it spiritual.
The film is full of soul, never more so than when the little protagonist, named Hushpuppy, realizes that turning to face the problems that terrorize her is the only way to defend herself. She knows she must have clarity to confront her problems clarity and honesty and strength. That is the American and universal way.
1) Georgetown University has asked Sandra Fluke to stop referring to herself as a student there. She is no longer enrolled, and has not passed the bar. She is a 31 year-old formerly Protestant woman who graduated from Cornell in 2003 with a major in women's studies. She spent the interrim seeking out a Catholic University with the intent of challenging its health care policy. Mission accomplished. I believe that personal attacks are conter productive in politics, but Rush Limbuagh did not call her a "slut" for her "views on contraception." He stated that she implied that she was having so much sex that she needed a government sponsor, which is a LOT closer to the truth.
2) The entire Democrat political philosophy, and the Convention they just held, was obsessed with nothing else but defining individuals based on "class, ethnicity, education and politics." They are proud to do so.
3) It is clear that Michelle Obama loves her husband, but the idead that "he doesnt care whether youre a Democrat, a Republican," or "hes always ready to listen to good ideas," is laughable. In his first week in office, Republicans (including Paul Ryan) challenged him on the stimulus, and his reaction was "I won."
3) With the exception of Bill Clinton, every president in the past century has had "tough stuff" to deal with. The great thing about our democracy is we get to fire the ones who are ineffective after four years of trying.
4) It would have been impossible for Bill Clinton and Joe Biden to have "held the GOPs feet to the fire for voting against bipartisan ideas to lower the deficit." The very fact that they voted against it necessitates that the ideas weren't really bi-partisan. This is politics 101.
5) No surprise that the only speaker Crouch liked at the GOP convention was the Black pro-choice Condoleezza Rice, but he obviously wasn't paying attention if he agrees with what she had to say about education. He omitted the part about "poor" and "mediocre" teachers in the sentence he quoted, and he ignored the line about school choice. That's either dishonest or just plain stupid.
6) Finally, are you really going to lecture us about "soul" from a convention that omitted God from its platform and than booed God when wimpy strategists tried to force Him back in?
Excellent reply. Thank you for getting the truth out there. God bless.
The convention that left out God has soul? Interesting.
The left (and in particular the Daily News) likes to hold Crouch out there as some sort of moderate because he was for the Iraq War, and because he supports charter schools (a belief he leaves out of this article so as not to confuse his targeted koolaid drinkers). In reality, he jumped the shark six or seven years ago, and can be counted on to deliver a column ghost written by Debbie Wasserma-Shultz on a weekly basis.
Which means, according to some of the people posting on a recent (and probably still-active) FR thread on charters, that Crouch supports the educracy's mechanism for attacking and destroying private and Catholic schools.
The thread sold me the idea that the charter school does indeed serve as a competitor and predator of private ed (and therefore school vouchers) by offering a "free" education comparable to what Catholic schools offer. Sometimes the charters fail and are embarrassing, but if they draw students away from private schools, the educrats win.
The concept appears to be working. Numbers of private and Catholic schools have been driven to close their doors, where good charter schools were available in proximity.
Thanks for posting this.
This isn’t an opinion piece. It can’t even be called spin. It is so far-fetched that the only two words that can describe it are lies and propaganda.
Stanley is a goof.
That is, w/o question, the biggest pantload of BS I've ever read.
In my entire life.
There were only three comments following the editorial and they are all negative. My favorite got a thumbs up from somebody:
greatjp - 3 hours ago - "If one follows Stanley Crouch's articles one can only say that Crouch is not a journalist but a propagandist for Obama and the Democratic party.Crouch, stay out of politics and go back to writing about Jazz."
The ubiquitous Obama, the ominipresent Obama, the Obama who is in almost every internet photo, tweet, Facebook page, email, reality show, talk show, newscast, magazine cover, newspaper headline, refrigerator magnet imaginable and probably soon even part of the print on children's PJs at Wal-Mart is going to get tiresome in the upcoming weeks. Perhaps Obama fatigue will set in. Maybe people will be too worn out to vote by the time November 6 rolls around.
If Mr Crouch thinks Sandra Fluke has “soul,” he reads fortune cookies for the plot.
While Stanley has the quantity, you have the quality.
Thanks for taking apart the windbag's ballooning column with a straight pin sharpened with facts.
Wish I would have spell checked it before I posted it.
Spell check is your friend kids.