August 17, 1980
Anyone trying to discover which way the political wind blows in Amerika today has no farther to look than the sun-blasted grazing lands of the West. The front is occluded. Winds down to nothing. And the forecast calls for heat, high humidity, no precipitation, and little change. Even the radicals seem content to wait until the 1984 election to chide ‘we told you so’ – they have no choice in the coming presidential election, but no choice. America is holding itself hostage, demanding an immediate return to the good-old-days of ‘The New Frontier’, ‘The Eisenhower Years’, ‘The Sixties’, or ‘Pre- Whatevergate’ – according to the individual’s political presumptions. America is expressing all the symptoms of a general, numbing confusion of destinies, a novel impotence which threatens the world as nothing else ever could.
Most notably, America’s confusion stems from its recent awareness of its own fallibility. In a world tottering on the edge of chaos, America has no power over nations which refuse to act according to the niceties of our diplomatic rules, and little influence over allies whose self-interests override our smiling,