Friday, August 12, 2016

The protected and the unprotected

Peggy Noonan is the wisest opinionator we have. In Saturday's Wall Street Journal she ponders the disaster of Angela Merkel's decision to invite 800,000 immigrants to find new lives in Germany. (Of course twice that number came, and the vast majority have no intention of finding new lives. They simply brought their old lives with them.) Ms Noonan sees this as just another example of how our elites live in a world of their own, wholly insulated from those at the bottom who must live shoulder to shoulder with the newcomers:

Ms. Merkel had put the entire burden of a huge cultural change not on herself and those like her but on regular people who live closer to the edge, who do not have the resources to meet the burden, who have no particular protection or money or connections. Ms. Merkel, her cabinet and government, the media and cultural apparatus that lauded her decision were not in the least affected by it and likely never would be.
Nothing in their lives will get worse. The challenge of integrating different cultures, negotiating daily tensions, dealing with crime and extremism and fearfulness on the street—that was put on those with comparatively little, whom I’ve called the unprotected. They were left to struggle, not gradually and over the years but suddenly and in an air of ongoing crisis that shows no signs of ending—because nobody cares about them enough to stop it.
For "Merkel" we can substitute Obama or Jeb or Hillary or Romney. They don't get it, and they presume to lecture the masses on right behavior. (The one image I will take away from the Obama presidency is that wagging forefinger.) Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders live magical lives as well, but something in each of them has turned the wagging finger into a shaken fist, directed at the powers that be. Thus the turmoil of our endless 2015-2016 presidential campaign. 


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