by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Despite the ideological battles raging daily in the halls of Congress, on cable TV programs, and throughout the sewers of social media, Heather Wilhelm sounds a different tone with her latest National Review Online column.
As the cacophony of 2017 winds down to a close, I’d like to float an idea: Perhaps things aren’t all that bad.
I can feel the blend of outrage and indignation surging as I type. Sow the wind, as the old saying goes, and ye shall reap the whirlwind. In this wildly contentious year, there might be nothing more controversial than suggesting that things aren’t all that bad. Just ask the chipper pop star Taylor Swift, who faced an avalanche of Internet teeth-gnashing when she dared to say something cheerful (and apolitical!) on her birthday. “I couldn’t have asked for a better year, all thanks to you,” she declared to her fans on Instagram. “Can’t wait to see what 28 will be like.” …
… While this is all quite silly, I actually find it rather charming. It reminds me of that one mopey kid found in almost every college dorm in America, the one who refuses to go to parties because he needs to sit under his loft bed and dwell upon the fact that injustice still reigns in various corners of the Earth. He might not actually try to do anything about said injustices, but man, he can brood with the best of them. …
… Let’s forget our overflowing grocery stores, technological miracles, medical advancements, and the general prosperity we often take for granted. Setting the cheerful heresy of Taylor Swift aside, a majority consensus seems latent among today’s media and cultural elite: Everything is terrible, all the time. Since Donald Trump’s inauguration day, many pundits and reporters seem permanently and stubbornly jammed into one of three gears: quiet despair, mild panic, or borderline-reckless hyperbole.