And What Is the No. 1 Prob­lem Fac­ing Amer­ica?

The Signal - - Opinion - John BOS­TON MR. SANTA CLARITA VAL­LEY

The fa­bled mythi­cist Joseph Camp­bell was once asked what was that One Im­por­tant Thing he learned from a life­time of study­ing reli­gions and cul­tures. With­out pause, he an­swered: “We get into trou­ble the in­stant we fail to see the Thou in our brother’s eye.”

Ah, Joe. I’m in trou­ble on each six­ti­eth of the hour.

A while back, an ac­quain­tance asked what I per­ceived as the top prob­lem fac­ing Amer­ica to­day.

I think she was wait­ing for some­thing sexy. Cli­mate change. Ter­ror­ism. North Korea. Racism. Pan­demics. As­ter­oids. The NFL turn­ing to­ward a more benign, “May I Please Take Your Flag?” mo­tif in tack­ling. I know the woman didn’t like my an­swer. “Lib­er­al­ism.” I sup­pose I have my mother to thank for that. Crazi­ness was my first lan­guage. To this day, I speak it flu­ently. My mother was not just haunted by in­san­ity, she was dec­i­mated by it. Life, his­tory and lit­er­a­ture are rich with crazy peo­ple. There’s Drac­ula’s loyal, fly-eat­ing as­sis­tant, Ren­field. There’s the elec­tri­cal ge­nius, Nikola Tesla, who was madly in love with a pi­geon. King Charles VI of France howled and wan­dered the cas­tle halls, be­liev­ing he was a wolf made of glass. Like my mom, I’m guess­ing none could cop to a small pos­si­bil­ity that they were crazy.

No. Other peo­ple were the crazy ones.

I mar­vel at the tenac­ity of the in­sane. There’s an in­ex­haustible well of wrong as­sess­ments. Two plus two equals six. It’s been proven. Co­in­ci­den­tally, two plus two is 19,147 and a mil­lion-three. Proof? As my mother used to say: “There was a big writeup in the pa­per about it.”

Maybe that’s what drove me into jour­nal­ism. A de­sire to cor­rect an in­fin­ity of in­cor­rect ob­ser­va­tions.

Gaso­line is near $4 a gal­lon. We haven’t built a re­fin­ery in Cal­i­for­nia since the 1970s. Bet­ter, 10 have closed, re­sult­ing in a 20-per­cent de­crease in pro­duc­tion. We have epic traf­fic con­ges­tion. What do we get? De­creased car lanes and in­creased bi­cy­cle lanes. In a state of eter­nal drought we can’t seem to build a reser­voir. We have trou­ble not just ed­u­cat­ing our chil­dren, but pro­tect­ing them from a cul­ture vi­o­lent, vul­gar and preda­tory. With all the things that need fix­ing, we find the re­sources to build a multi-bil­lion-dol­lar train to nowhere.

So­lu­tions abound. Yet, be­hind nearly ev­ery prob­lem you scratch, out will pop a Demo­crat.

Odd. In sev­eral hun­dred con­ver­sa­tions over the years, I can pretty much give a Reader’s Di­gest ver­sion of what con­ser­vatism is. I’ve yet to have any­one from the left ex­plain lib­er­al­ism with­out their pre­sen­ta­tion end­ing in tears, swear words, ac­cu­sa­tions and/or reti­nas hurtling to­ward Mars. I’ve yet to hear some­thing other than poor ex­cuses for one-lin­ers and a litany of clichés and bumper stick­ers.

Four times in the last year, peo­ple from the Left have phys­i­cally threat­ened me. Once, it was be­cause I wasn’t in fa­vor of as­sas­si­nat­ing the pres­i­dent. Not mak­ing that up. In those few in­stances, they’ve backed way off when I in­vited them to ex­per­i­ment how try­ing to punch me might work out for them. I’ve been cen­sored by the Left, not for hate speech, but for vi­o­lat­ing mys­te­ri­ous and un­men­tion­able guide­lines. I’ve had three in­ter­net busi­nesses col­lapse be­cause of Lib­er­al­ism. Thank you, Google, Face­book and Kick­starter.

A dear friend, who is a life­long San Fran­cisco lib­eral, once in­vited me to switch teams, say­ing that his side could use a mind like mine. Bless him dearly. He was se­ri­ous. I didn’t of­fer my true feel­ings. Lib­er­al­ism can suck vi­tal­ity, so­lu­tion and po­etry out of a room. I am weary of sum­mon­ing pa­tience while the Left’s tantrum runs its course. I’m be­yond tired of the brain­dead ac­cu­sa­tions. We con­ser­va­tives. We want to poi­son ev­ery­one. We’re racist. We’re Nazis. We hate chil­dren. We hate old peo­ple. We hate AIR. We hate every­body. We may smile and say, “Merry Christ­mas,” but re­ally, it’s a wink-and-a-nod to eth­nic cleans­ing.

Dear mom. She made it to 90-plus years, trapped in­side the prison of her own mind. I see those eyes, fright­ened, filled with an anger thou­sands of years in the mak­ing, dart­ing back and forth, un­able to fo­cus. There was the con­stant blame. It’s al­ways some­body else’s fault. It’s al­ways a con­spir­acy. It’s al­ways mak­ing up the most bla­tant fibs, then stick­ing by them. It was al­ways, “You’re the one who is hurt­ing me,” as she flails wildly away.

That won­der­ful ques­tion: “Could I be the one who is wrong?” never vis­ited the poor soul.

I re­mem­ber a Demo­cratic friend in a melt­down:

“You use WORDS!” she growled. “I don’t care if you have all the facts and you’re right, I’ll NEVER be­lieve you!!”

Lib­er­al­ism is our No. 1 prob­lem. Why? You can’t fix any­thing when you can’t ad­mit you might be wrong. Or, in­sane.

That darn Joe. Mr. Camp­bell was right. We do get into trou­ble the in­stant we fail to see the ‘Thou’ in our brother’s eye.

And it can be so hard to see when there’s 9 inches of white around each retina.

John Bos­ton is a lo­cal writer.

Four times in the last year, peo­ple from the Left have phys­i­cally threat­ened me. Once, it was be­cause I wasn’t in fa­vor of as­sas­si­nat­ing the pres­i­dent. Not mak­ing that up.

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