From the Editor

John Turner

I'm on the move again, sending this to you from Annapolis, Maryland. Next week, I'll be in Los Angeles. And the week afterwards, back in Montpelier, where I hope I'll settle down for a while.

I'm not sure whether traveling around the country enhances my insights, or whether I do better when I just stay at home. You'll have to be the judge of that. One thing traveling does teach me: we do not have a homogeneous nation. Florida is not much like Vermont, and Annapolis is not much like either. And, I guess we all know that California's a whole new game. Whenever you hear a politician telling you that all Americans want this, or all Americans want that, write him off as a dope or a manipulator. We each of us have the right to work for the country we want and there is no American consensus which tells us what we ought to be supporting if we want to be "real" Americans.

The big news of the week for me was the fall in the value of the dollar. The public have generally refused to recognize that a gigantic national debt and an insane imbalance in trade can ever have any genuine influence on their lives. They may be about to find out just how wrong they can be.  It will be interesting to see who the media will decide to blame if the dollar continues to dive at a rate that can't be ignored. We can be pretty sure of one thing: they won't blame themselves.

The Sunday morning talk shows this week rendered a uniform judgment. Nobody has any idea what to do in Iraq. The country is diving into a murderous cauldron. The American forces there have little power to control anything. Enemies of the United States are poised to exploit the situation. And the Bush administration simply sits, like the blank-minded dolts they have been all along. This story is far from being over and we may not have seen its worst aspects. The few politicians who back in 2002 had the gumption to say that invading the country was folly begin to look wiser and wiser. But there's serious question about whether either the public or the media has sufficient memory even to recall who said what. This is not our finest hour.

I'm not looking forward to flying to Los Angeles tomorrow. The measures that have been adopted in the name of security are irritating at best. They demand a high level of stoicism in order to avoid going berserk. I promise to try. But, if I should suddenly disappear completely from cyberspace, you'll know what happened.

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Harvard Square Commentary, November 27, 2006