Using analogies is always risky, as they often fall apart under scrutiny. But in this case, I’ll take the risk. And it’s Sunday, so the Biblical reference is apropos.
In the Old Testament, Moses wrote of the trials of the Israelites as they wandered the desert during their forty years of exile. During this period, the LORD provided the Israelites with manna (“manna from heaven”) to eat. Every night manna appeared on the ground, and the Israelites would gather it and cook it for their food…that was pretty much all they had:
The manna was like coriander seed and looked like resin. The people went around gathering it, and then ground it in a handmill or crushed it in a mortar. They cooked it in a pot or made it into cakes. And it tasted like something made with olive oil. When the dew settled on the camp at night, the manna also came down.(Num 11:7-8)
Eventually the Israelites tired of the manna and complained to Moses about having to eat manna every day (the Israelites complained about a lot of things during those years) and looked back to the “good ol’ days” in Egypt where they didn’t have to eat manna. Rather than manna, the Israelites wanted meat. Moses took their complaints to the LORD, and He responded.
“Tell the people: ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow, when you will eat meat. The LORD heard you when you wailed, “If only we had meat to eat! We were better off in Egypt!” Now the LORD will give you meat, and you will eat it. You will not eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, ten or twenty days, but for a whole month – until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it – because you have rejected the LORD, who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?” ‘ ” (Num 11:18-20)
So what does this have to do with anything RedState-ish?
Based upon the results of the 2008 election, it appears that a (somewhat thin) majority of the
Israelites American people have forgotten that much of the last eight years (at least until the past six months) has been fairly positive, but they are now clamoring for meat liberalism. I was struck with this parallel when I read an article by Thomas Frank titled “It’s Time to Give Voters the Liberalism They Want“. Really? I think perhaps that was pretty much what God thought about the Israelites.
Frank opines that voters have clearly stated that they really DO want liberalism, in the form of easier formation of labor unions (the main thrust of his article), “universal” health care, and wealth redistribution:
But it is also possible that, for once, the public weighed the big issues and gave a clear verdict on the great economic questions of the last few decades. It is likely that we really do want universal health care and some measure of wealth-spreading, and even would like to see it become easier to organize a union in the workplace, however misguided such ideas may seem to the nation’s institutions of higher carping.
Behind this speculation is a larger question of whether the United States has become a “center-left” nation, or if we still, as some conservative/GOP commentators have stated, remain center-right. This question has been discussed in many articles recently, and is probably one for an entirely seperate diary. An interesting assessment of this question, by Tod Lindberg, appeared in the WaPo last Sunday, and his conclusion was that we are no longer a center-right country. He says:
And so far, center-left government is largely an abstraction for the country. People like the sound of it, especially against the backdrop of a financial crisis and recession. In these center-left times, voters are receptive — or rather, it is their receptiveness that makes these times center-left. But whether they will like the new Obama tilt in practice remains to be seen.
If we are, as folks like Karl Rove insist, still center-right, then the voters have made a serious error in judgement in their rush to wipe out “eight years of failed Bush policy” (in the words of our Dear Leader-Elect). In fact, it appears that we may not be “center-anything”…the nation has become more polarized than ever, and the election of a President who is so blatantly far-left will be an interesting exercise in finding the real answer. In Frank’s article, he quotes Service Employees International Union President Andy Stern regarding this shift:
What is coming, they believe, is not triangulation redux. This was, SEIU President Andy Stern told me, “a clear election not on small things.” Mr. Obama “talked about what people wanted to hear about,” as opposed to the culture wars. “We’ve redefined the center,” Mr. Stern said. “Universal health care is now centrist.”
Hmmm. “We’ve redefined the center.” Not so sure about that. That may happen yet, but the endpoint of the redefinition may not happen until the American people discover first-hand what a left-wing socialist country is truly like…there may be a temporary lurch left, at least until Obama’s Leftist paradise becomes Paradise Lost. Until this occurs, though, America will get what they asked for – liberalism. And probably lots of it, at least in domestic policy. The public complained about the manna and now they want meat. So meat, aka liberalism, is what we will get.
Oh, and what happened to the Israelites after the LORD provided their meat?
But while the meat was still between their teeth and before it could be consumed, the anger of the LORD burned against the people, and he struck them with a severe plague. Therefore the place was named Kibroth Hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had craved other food. (Num 11:33-34)