Tensions are getting higher with the election's approach, so I want to emphasize that this post is in no way intended to be disrespectful of either side. A liberal friend brought up an interesting point, and I wanted to bring it to your attention here because of Winds' location right at the center of the blogosphere. My only interest is to expose the question to a larger community, to see if the observations hold true in a broader sense than in the smaller community that reads Grim's Hall.
We were recently welcoming a new reader, and asking her to tell us a bit about herself. In return, I thought perhaps we should all tell her a bit about ourselves. (Which is a useful exercise, actually -- it might make a good concept for the Winds community as well.)
At the end of a long string of comments, Jeffrey -- a committed liberal and Obama supporter, whose friendship I greatly value because of his careful thinking and insightful critiques -- noted that, unlike the rest of us, he hadn't mentioned anything about his family history. He wondered why so many people felt that was important.
The question reminded me of Prof. Althouse's post about one of McCain's earliest commercials, the one that started with old footage of Theodore Roosevelt, then FDR, then young McCain, then McCain today. She wrote:
"I thought: This is the feeling of being conservative — it is a deep emotional sense that the past matters and flows into the present and makes sense out of the future."
For many of us, it's a very strong sense: we see our ancestors behind us, past the parents and grandparents we may have known, we can imagine the ones who came before them from their stories, and from histories the ones behind them. It's a sense of belonging to that sweep of things that rose out of the past, of being part of a long current that -- like a river -- imparts force and direction.
It was an insightful comment she made, and something that I think tends to matter deeply to conservatives. Indeed, it may be the very quality that makes you a conservative.
I got the same sense the day after Sen. Clinton's speech, reading liberal blogs who talked about it. What was (without question or near comparison) the strongest part of her speech for me was her mother/daughter/Harriet Tubman metaphor. That's a force of that kind, where she sees herself as a part of a line that is itself part of a movement, imparting force and direction, and she gloried in it.
Yet I didn't see that quoted by anyone on the left. They quote the attacks on McCain, or the stories about the lady with the bald head from her cancer treatments, or the wounded Marine; but the part that really impressed me didn't seem to register at all with them.
Now, I don't read as many left-wing blogs as some of you do, so it's entirely possible that it was a major focus on a large number that I missed. Nevertheless, Jeffrey agreed that it was an interesting question, and so I want to put it to you.
Do you think that the sentiment is something that conservatives feel strongly, but that a mind that tends towards progressive politics doesn't feel as deeply? Or (if you are a progressive who disagrees) are there different forces that you feel a part of -- movements like the one that Sen. Clinton spoke so well about, stretching across generations, movements that swell around you, imparting force and direction to your life?