The silence of the bumper stickers

Received mail about seeing no bumper stickers in North Carolina and Virginia. Marilyn writes thoughtfully: “A possible explanation for no bumper stickers in NC is my observation that more couples here are a split-ticket. Bare bumpers are the compromise.”

But bumper stickers also express advanced political yearnings: “Charlton Heston is my President” or the classic, “You can have my gun when you pry it from my cold dead fingers” or “Had enough yet?” And devoted followers tend to keep the stickers on long after the race. Apparently not with Obama. Driving home to New Hampshire, only two drew attention. One said, “Danger: I drive like a Cullen.” Another was a Mitt Romney sticker seen at rush hour in Hartford on a car driven by a woman simultaneously driving and eating a plate of macaroni and cheese. Spooky. It brought to mind that quiet moment when the dogs headed for the hills just before the tsunami.

I’ve been experiencing a political turning since Bill Clinton, and since they changed the money to the bloated deconstructivist thing. Many of those who predict change professionally using a generational system saw the Great Change in Barack Obama. I did not. I saw the Obama presidency as the successful completion of a political cycle starting in 1831. There were three objectives of the northern invasion of the South: Preventing Southern secession, freeing the slaves and egalitarianism between black and white. C. Vann Woodward pointed out that the third goal was unachievable in the 1800s but America was beginning to get to it in the 1950s. The Obama presidency achieves that third goal. So the Obama presidency brought an end rather than a beginning. And when historic periods end, something entirely new begins. The Roosevelt longing is evidence of a society looking back, not forward. The change is ahead.

Change is either external or internal. Generational predictions usually follow an 80-year model. I use a 160-year-model as the historic periods, like the generations, appear to alternate. So I have been predicting internal change. And that is what we have been seeing in this past year as Missouri, Arizona, Texas, Minnesota, Vermont and 30 other states call for sovereignty. The runaway popularity of Ron Paul and Austrian economics is evidence that we are experiencing internal change.

Today, several nations including China, Israel, Germany and Canada send subtle messages that they do not necessarily require our benevolence. China and Israel, increasingly less subtle. Globalization no longer works to our benefit although the priests who accompany the conquistadors — Bono, Matt Damon, Lady Gaga — think they are still very much needed to save the world. Internally we hear the phrase “post American” more frequently. It will neutralize those cultural missionaries who “think globally” but “act locally.” (Or is it the other way around?) Yuppies may be retiring in droves to third world states where living is cheap and reefer grows on trees, but otherwise we are seeing the end of globalization as we have known it.

The Wall Street Journal’s intuitive Peggy Noonan long ago sensed danger and called a warning. Better than those tsunami dogs, she sensed it back in 1994: “Something inside was telling us we were living through ‘not the placid dawn of a peaceful age but the illusory calm before stern storms.’

“I can imagine, for instance,” she wrote, “in the year 2020 or so, a movement in some states to break away from the union.”

Maybe not. As Col. Ely S. Parker, the Seneca Indian who served as Grant’s adjutant, said to Robert E. Lee at Appomattox, we’re all Americans here. What I can see is an end to the specific New York cultural, political and economic sensibilities that took dominance here by force in 1865 and soon after conquered the world with Wilson and the Roosevelts.

The storms will start in September and October 2010.


Visit Mr. Quigley's website at http://quigleyblog.blogspot.com.