US Politics

Can Joe Biden make the City on a Hill shine?

BY Bruce Anderson   /  11 January 2021

The sad and angry words needed to castigate the British climate must now be redeployed to the climate of American politics. What a mess. What a nightmare. What an unutterable shambles.

The Capitol embodies a secular sacredness. Surely such a building ought to be inviolate. In baleful contemplation of troubles in London during the 1830s, Thomas Arnold the Headmaster said: “Flog the mob and hurl the Leaders from the Tarpeian Rock.” Tempting. But some early Marxist itinerant window-breaker once described revolutions as festivals of the oppressed. On all sides, a large number of Americans are feeling oppressed. As a result, the civilities of public life are breaking down, and this cannot all be blamed on Trump. In the States, much has been going wrong for many years.

It all seemed so different just after the War. Almighty armed forces. Almighty Detroit. The almighty dollar. Good jobs for Joe Sixpack and Hank Hardhat. Russia was a threat and had to be contained. She was, in the strategy outlined by George Kennan in his long telegram.


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