Maybe this is just me.
I mean, I went to school hiding under my desk on the last Friday of every month as air raid sirens howled and we practiced what we would do if the Russians attacked.
I read comic books where Iron Man, the Avengers and the Fantastic Four were always on their guard because of the threat posed to America by the evil “Commies.”
And I grew up at a time when every liberal politician jockeyed to prove that he (always “he”) was tougher than the next guy where the Soviet Union was concerned. Conservatives demanded an unyielding and aggressive stance toward our great geopolitical foe and liberals were seen as too potentially soft to get the job done.
In that era, to suggest mere outreach toward the Russians was to be called a traitor, a “Commie dupe”, a “weak sister.” It was to commit political suicide.
So while I’m sure a lot of us are taken aback by it, a sense of stark and utter bamfoozlement overtakes me and people of my age at hearing conservatives now rationalizing the Trump Administration’s ongoing liplock with the Russians. For us it’s as if we woke up in a world where cats are mating with dogs and Coke is singing the praises of Pepsi.
The easy argument is that times have changed. Maybe so, but the former Soviet Union remains our great geopolitical foe, as witness its recent attempt to hijack an American election. What has changed, it seems, is our response thereto.
Conservatisim, as practiced by the Republican Party and Donald Trump, has embraced a conditional morality in which nothing is ever truly wrong – or right. No, the only markers that seem to matter are whether a given alliance, arrangement or agreement helps them gain or hold power.
As a result of that moral sliminess, we find ourselves in an era that, to those of us of a certain age, cannot help but feel surreal.
Trump’s son meets with a Russian lawyer in hopes of being given information damaging to Hillary Clinton?
Trump spills top secret information to Russian visitors during a meeting in the Oval Office?
Trump trusts the word of the Russian president more than he does his own intelligence agencies?
And all of this now “conservative?”
One wonders what ever happened to the conservatives of not so long ago who would have spat fire and raised unholy hell at a fraction as much pro-Russian misbehavior on the part of a U.S. administration.
Has situational morality won the day? Has our capacity for outrage been worn to a useless nub? Or isnt this new order of things not every bit as bizarre and untenable as it seems to those of us of a certain age?
I mean, is it just me?