Skip to content

Neither Are We, Anymore

Over the weekend, Scott Simon had Jim Brady and his wife on the air. Brady was the press secretary who took a bullet intended for Reagan, and was wounded badly enough to remain in a state of permanent recovery/therapy ever since; I gather his wife was on to help overcome the speech barrier.

Simon pursued the human interest angle with his usual sycophancy, and in the process brought up the Brady’s son, about whom Mrs. Brady laughingly admitted, “We brought up a good, liberal son.” It was a good line; I recall earlier interviews in which Mr. Brady remained genuinely, enthusiastically Republican, even as he admitted the party wasn’t always living up to its principles. I was impressed; I remember thinking Brady might be wrong, but was honestly, patriotically so, eager to make the Reagan vision a reality despite strong evidence that Reagan’s methods lead directly away from that vision. He was not of the same cloth as Republicans eager to wrap corporate greed in patriotic colors. (It’s hard to argue that someone who deliberately takes a bullet is in it only for himself…) And even though the report of a liberal son had something of the air of a confession, it still sounded more like a “Kids. What can ya do?” shrug, and, because it was said with a smile, suggested an open-minded acceptance of differing political views that’s gone missing from too many respected Republicans.

But Simon, strangely, didn’t leave it at that. He sought a point-blank response: “Your son isn’t a Republican,” which struck me as pointlessly redundant, until I heard the reply.

“No.” It came after a pause that lasted slightly too long, and really did sound like a confession this time. So did the next sentence: “Neither are we, anymore.” And finally, after a very uncomfortable pause, “Times change.”

The shame behind that exchange was evident even to insensitive me. Was the shame felt for abandoning the party, or for doing so much for so long to support a political party that ultimately, to paraphrase Reagan, abandoned them? Either way, I found it deeply moving, a frank recognition among (former) Republicans deep in the party establishment that what passes for conservative policy these days is Not Right, combined with a palpable sense of loss over the fact.

They know. We all do. Liberals, too. Just as the Republican party has morphed into something openly, positively evil, we liberals know that too many Democratic politicians have transmogrified into shills for empire, despotism, and big money—it’s just that they have to be more subtle about it, given their base. The principled politicians are too thin on the ground to stop it. We’ve all been complicit, either in voting for Republican bastards, in voting for Democratic conciliators or in not voting at all. We all know. The truth hurts.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *