The question is not, “Is America falling?” but, rather, “Why is America falling?”
I’m currently writing from CPAC 2014, the nation’s largest gathering of conservative political junkies. The event is being held at the beautiful Gaylord National hotel, adjacent to the scenic shoreline of the historic Potomac River. We’re just a few short miles from Washington, D.C., which, at least for now, remains the modern-day equivalent of the Roman Empire.
I say “at least for now” because America finds itself skipping along the primrose path to Rome’s ill-fated finale. I needn’t trouble you with evidence to that effect as this tragic reality is hopelessly inescapable. It’s a self-evident truth. Unless our next generation of leaders – Gen-Y Millennials – can successfully turn things around, we’re up the Potomac without a paddle.
The day’s speeches have ended and conference-going night revelers are about. The indoor balcony to my 12th-floor room faces, as the hotel website accurately boasts, a “spectacular 18-story glass atrium.” My balcony door is open wide, and the bustling din from several parties across the cavernous vestibule soaks the room.
A chorus has begun. What is this? Have party-goers launched an impromptu rendering of “America the Beautiful”?
No, this is a chant, joined by scores – a hundred or more perhaps – of young conservative bacchanalians on multiple suite balconies and from the open air bar below. What is that they’re chanting? Is that, “Amer-i-ca! Amer-i-ca!”?
At first, it’s hard to tell. It’s a booming echo that reverberates throughout the entire hotel.
And then it becomes clear.
Alas, our next generation of conservative leaders are not chanting, “Amer-i-ca! Amer-i-ca!” They are, instead, chanting, “F**k O-bama! F**k O-bama!”
And I hang my head.
So, now, children at the hotel, parents, staff, tourists – both foreign and domestic – and every other conceivable variety of guest who happens to be staying at the Gaylord National hotel during CPAC 2014 has a skewed, and likely irreversible, first impression of America’s conservative movement.
Or is it skewed?
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m certain that the vast majority of CPAC attendees, both young and old, are as appalled and embarrassed by these drunken yuck monkeys as am I.
But I think the very fact that these blazer-clad, Cro-Magnon morons could even imagine, for a moment, that it’s somehow cool to publicly chant “F**k Obama!” – or “F**k” anything for that matter – speaks to a much larger problem, not just within the conservative movement, but, more importantly, within our entire culture.
Matt Barber is founder and editor-in chief of BarbWire.com. He is an author, columnist, cultural analyst and an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. Having retired as an undefeated heavyweight professional boxer, Matt has taken his fight from the ring to the culture war. (Follow Matt on Twitter: @jmattbarber).