Has Christine O’Donnell Changed American Politics?
To be sure, Christine O'Donnell's defeat of Mike Castle in the Delaware Primary is a crytalizing moment both for the Right and American politics. That does not mean it is all about her. And even if she were to lose in November, it will not change this moment, nor the fact that establishment politicians on both sides of the aisle are now encountering a force with which they never imagined they would have to contend.
On a mission to retake the hill and reignite the lights of the Shining City, the "almost chosen people" of our Army of Davids have been gaining ground, disintermediating the powers that be using every medium, old and new, to make our voices heard.
Sissy Willis presents it in terms of a question: which is to be master? That question pits a large chorus comprised of voices from mostly average Americans against a professional political, or ruling class – of both parties, in some ways. But that chorus did not begin singing with Christine O'Donnell, nor will it stop with her. She simply represents the latest loud call heard from it thus far.
It began years ago when a class of more pragmatic Americans, from conservative to libertarian, and many things in between, began to find their own voices through technology-enabled new media. It now spans the radio airwaves and a large, growing portion of the Internet. From the debate on the Iraq War, to immigration reform, S-CHIP, and even a Bush nomination to the Supreme Court, it has been heard before. And it's continued to grow louder.
Certainly John McCain's nomination of Sarah Palin as his selection for Vice President presented an opportunity for it to be heard. Now, in Christine O'Donnell, it has won a defining victory – just as it has helped score victories with Sharron Angle, Marco Rubio, Joe Miller, and others. Yet, the battle it is engaged in is just beginning and is far from over. There will be wins and losses in its future. But it will have a future. More than anything else, O'Donnell's victory should assure us of that.
One thing I do believe we need to do is move away from the notion that it is the voice of some far Right in America. It is not that, or, more accurately, not only that. It might best be described as the voice of common sense elevating up from and through the people, as opposed to the voices of elites, primarily educated in Northeastern institutions and embracing a thinking that is, on average, more progressive politically, than it is pragmatic and traditionally American.
The Left and the media would like nothing better than to portray it as a radical and fringe Right, looking to set America back 100 or 200 years. But that is not what these more pragmatic Americans want. What they want is to preserve what is and has always been the best of and in America, as it goes forward, navigating this great nation through increasingly complex and challenging times.
Despite attempts to portray him as such, Reagan did not ultimately emerge successfully as the leader of some far Right, or overly moralistic America. He emerged as a leader of and spokesperson for your average American - men and women who pay their taxes, abide by the laws, and embrace and value liberty for all Americans, as well as this nation's splendid and great history.
Today, as was true in Reagan's time, they want the best for everyone, regardless of their race, skin color, or personal wealth. Yet, they are not obsessed with apolozing for any of America's past mistakes in any regard. These are people who prefer to look forward, work always for the best for all, without getting bogged down in fights unnecesary and inappropriate to today.
In the final analysis, does Christine O'Donnell represent that – warts, or flaws and all? I believe she does. No one ever said all of America's people are perfect. Christine O'Donnell is not perfect and, with help of a sometimes malicious media, Right and Left, some minor flaws were made far more prominent than they ever should have been. It is that she won with them fully exposed that makes her recent victory so compelling and so important as a demonstration of this new movement's power, reach and determination.
The message should be, in my opinion, this great growing influence in American politics, often best put in terms of a Tea Party movement, does not demand purity. It does not demand perfection. It demands a healthy respect for our Constituion and a willingness to have and support common sense values and policies which will pull America back from what has been a long, slow slide toward European socialism since the end of the Reagan era.
If Christine O'Donnell is the latest embodiment of that, then she is deserving of our energetic and unqualified support. Her's is merely one battle of many of the same sort we must fight and win in every instance we can from now, through November, and right on into 2012.
We will not take America back with Christine O'Donnell. We will not take America back in 2012. But if we go forward, more together than we are apart, simply as good Americans, we can and will take America back, one day passing along that gift to our children. And as an American, one born here, who grew up here as a child, there is perhaps no greater gift than an America that sits as "a shining city upon a hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere" any man, woman, or child anywhere in the world could hope to receive.
That is why I fought for Christine O'Donnell, despite any flaws. That is why we should all fight for her in November. And we should continue to fight on no matter what the outcome, or challenges that lie ahead. Now, only we can put America back together, again. And we must do just that, not only for ourselves, but for generations of Americans still to come.
All the GOP's fuddy duddies and all the Journolista's men couldn't put the establishment together again!