Features

After 1968

"After 1968" Continued...

Issue: "Bleeding economy," Oct. 18, 2008

(Eilberg in 1978 lost his bid for a seventh term after a grand jury indicted him for bribe-taking. When he eventually pleaded guilty to conflicts of interest, a judge sentenced him to five years in prison. Eilberg died in 2004.)

And at the end of May I joined the liberal Boston Globe as a political feature-writing intern. Dear reader, you might infer from my history so far that my discernment was not great, but the Globe throughout the summer assigned me to go into a suburban Boston community, spend a day talking to people about a complicated issue, and write an article that was probably filled with gross misunderstandings but was nevertheless correctly progressive.

I'm astounded now to think that the Globe would print my article without even checking to see if I had gotten the facts right-but at the time, I took it for granted. I was the prodigal son who, instead of ending up coveting pig's food, received pats on the back. And yet, the more unmerited favor I received from the left-tilted powers that be, the more resentful I felt. I knew, deep down, that something was not right.

Paul Krugman asks whether Republicans will be able to "ride Nixonian resentment into an upset election victory in what should be an overwhelmingly Democratic year." Sounds to me like the New York Times columnist is a little resentful of the American voters who just might, once again, yank away the White House from its rightful Democratic owners.

After writing columns for 25 years I know the columnist's sense of play. Writing columns is like doing crossword puzzles: The game, instead of filling in horizontal and vertical boxes, is to start with a blank piece of paper and use 650 or 725 words to create a flowing argument. It's a lot easier than actually having to govern and make decisions with irrevocable consequences-but when those who govern don't do what you think they should, it's easy to grow resentful.

When I was young, and before I was a Christian, all of life was that way. Despite my semi-deprived background, opportunities for Yale students seemed endless and consequences seemed invisible. But with applause so frequent, shouldn't the next step be for everyone to follow my lead? And if they did not, had I not the right to be angry?

My resentment arose not from having too little but having too much, yet having it without the love, joy, peace, and patience that are the fruits of the Spirit, as Paul wrote to the Galatians. Does some resentment in American politics today arise from the same lack? And is Krugman wrong in seeing the splinter in the eye of conservatives but not reading the front page of his own newspaper every day?

Read other episodes in this multi-part biographical series.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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