Dear American Friend,
You must think it strange that a foreigner, an Australian, cares about your presidential election. However it is hard not to be drawn into the huge debate which is currently roiling social media.
In my early years, America meant things like John F Kennedy and the space program. It meant Honest John rockets and the Manhattan Project. Or the Dick Van Dyke Show and Chubby Checker.
Broadly, I grew up admiring the American achievement, in a younger brother kind of way, and I generally felt that America was a force for good. Again, a bit bossy and directive like an older brother, I imagine, but basically benign.
As I matured, I came to realise that America was really a Protestant country, indeed Puritan in its fundamental ethos. As a Catholic, that troubled me, but only a little. I was sure that the “great and the good” and “the best and the brightest” in America were on the side of the material and moral progress of Western civilisation.
I suppose I was vaguely aware that the Puritan streak in America gave it a curiously ambivalent attitude to the world and the flesh, and a tendency to rush to occupy the moral high ground, to use the rhetoric of the pulpit in the secular world, to condemn the backslider, and to reach for the slogan.
It was a kind of austerity, which one could also learn to live with.
However now it seems that that Puritan tendency has been co-opted into a busybodying desire to spread, of all things, sodomy and abortion throughout the world. The self-righteous tone has become virulent political correctness. All the worst cultural products and most disturbing ideas and memes seem to come from the United States today. They wash up on foreign shores, including here in Australia and some at least take root and fester in our society too.
Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are effectively White Anglo-Saxon Protestants. Hillary represents what happens when the overvaluation of women which seems to be part and parcel of traditional America lets loose the feminine principle to ride roughshod over reason and masculinity. Trump represents possibly the last gasp of WASP pride.
Hillary Clinton is a woman whose most ostentatious cause (pro-abortion feminism) is a rejection of normative womanhood which must hasten the demise of the folkways of her own WASP ethnic group. If demography is destiny, and if Hillary becomes president, it will mean the increasing and probably inevitable collapse of her own (British) ethnic group in the United States, and its replacement with Hispanic and other groups.
A masculine system can handle a woman who plays by its rules (like Margaret Thatcher or Queen Elizabeth the First, or Mrs Gandhi) but it cannot survive real and ongoing “petticoat government” by formidable American feminists of the Puritan woman type represented by Hillary Rodham Clinton (of Wellesley College).
If Donald Trump prevails, which is probably not the more likely result, things may be different. The old American ethos might gain another life. But his candidature is something of a “last hurrah”. Many American men seem to have effectively given up and lost their morale. I have been stunned by some of the remarks from American men about their reverence for women like Hillary.
And that is one of the problems with Protestantism. Unlike the present pope, who has recently been complaining about the dangers of “gender ideology” to marriage – because he is a Latin man who no doubt would exclaim “vive la différence!” – Protestants have never quite known what to make of women. At times there has been a troubling tendency among WASPs in America to pedestalise the womenfolk.
And there is no higher pedestal than the American Presidency.
Wishing you all the best in November,