Post-September 11, you'd think the political right would be able to make a pretty strong case for some form of racial profiling. After all, we were attacked by young, male Arabs, and we know there are more young, male Arabs among us plotting more such attacks. As Slate editor Michael Kinsley put it in a recent Washington Postcolumn:
Today we're at war with a terror network that just killed 6,000 innocents and has anonymous agents in our country planning more slaughter. Are we really supposed to ignore the one identifiable fact we know about them? That may be asking too much.
In a 1954 effusion about his friend J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, C.S. Lewis had this to say:
Almost the central theme of the book is the contrast between the Hobbits (or "the Shire") and the appalling destiny to which some of them are called, the terrifying discovery that the humdrum happiness of the Shire, which they had taken for granted as something normal, is in reality a sort of local and temporary accident, that its existence depends on being protected by powers which Hobbits forget, against powers which Hobbits dare not imagine, that any Hobbit may find himself forced out of the Shire and caught up into that high conflict.
In the past few days, pretty much every one of us here has had to deal with this subliminable message debacable. To tell you the truth, I'm tired of those DemocRATS scurrying around nipping at us over one gol-darn frame in our new ad.
Following George W. Bush's first official policy speech to Congress, most conservatives were exultant. They remarked on Bush's conspicuous lack of verbal blunders (apparently the only mistake he made, quickly corrected, was calling education "not my top priority"). They marveled at his shrewdness in pitching his tax cut as a moderate position, rather than an extremist scheme originally crafted to counter tax-flattener Steve Forbes in the primaries. The syndicated columnist Cal Thomas happily concluded that Bush had exceeded expectations -- that he had begun to seem, well, presidential.