“Beware Greeks bearing gifts” was a handy rule-of-thumb for savvy governments in the ancient Mediterranean world. Troy’s disastrous experience with Odysseus’ wooden horse ruined the going-away-gift tradition for centuries.
Today most Americans, aside from Cliven Bundy and the odd tea party chapter, aren’t under siege by hostile forces. Our most annoying outdoor ornament is the garden gnome.
What modern man should really fear are crocodiles bearing concern.
Conservatives have a great deal of experience with the phenomenon. The New York Times or the Washington Post will run a story filled with hand-wringing about the future of the Republican Party now that the government has shut down, Rep. Eric Cantor has been defeated, Ted Cruz has been elected, “comprehensive immigration reform” was blocked or John Boehner resigned to spend more time on the tanning bed.
The left fervently wishes for the return of the “Gullible Old Party” that would go along with Democrats to get along. The comfortable party of “bi-partisanship” that defined legislative victory by trimming 5 percent from a bloated spending bill and then stood by silently when the money was added during the next congress.
A Republican Party run by conservatives would make the left work for its legislative victories and worse, would offer a competing vision to the default Big Government orientation of the dependency culture we live in today.
This week a new, concerned crocodile slithered down the bank and into the water. RT.com expressed its concern in the column: “America is a bomb waiting to explode.”
Before you’re tempted to agree with the premise, it helps to learn that RT.com was formerly known as Russia Today, which evidently put a damper on efforts to build an audience outside the walls of the Kremlin.
Funded entirely by the Putin regime, RT.com is essentially Al Jazeera with out the exploding haberdashery. And the apparatchiks there are concerned by “four tendencies” in Obama’s America that seem like a reminder of Russia’s own problems.
Number one is the U.S. no longer has enough serfs, something Russia would know about, since theirs were finally freed in 1861. Sounding like Willie Nelson, RT.com laments the number of farms has fallen from 6 million in 1935 - about the time Joseph Stalin’s forced collectivization killed millions - to about 2 million 2012, leaving only about 4.6 million people that “currently have the means to feed themselves.”
Most economic indexes view moving people off the farm and into the city as progress, but maybe those economists haven’t seen Russian cities. RT.com contends even a short disruption in the food distribution chain would spell disaster.
It does make one rethink his views on a backyard garden when the only survivors of a food chain holocaust would be that portion of the Mexican population that moved north to farm and a handful of their overseers.
Second is our dollar, which is backed by, well it’s backed by nothing but positive thinking. We left the gold standard in 1971 and if the drug cartels decide the greenback is too shaky, the economy could crater.
Third is not the illegal drug problem, it’s the legal drug problem. This is rich coming from a country where Patricia Critchlow estimates 20 million Russians are alcoholics in a nation of just 144 million. Distribution disruption would add thousands of unmediated lone gunmen to the mobs looking for a grocery store to loot.
Finally, RT.com laments our morals are in decline. Stampedes at Black Friday sales where comrades, er, consumers fight “each other over reduced-price items” are the final nail in the capitalist coffin. (This is an event unknown in the USSR where stampedes were confined to days when bakeries had bread.)
What’s hard to understand is why does the Kremlin care?
John McCain once called Russia “a gas station masquerading as a country.” Surely it can’t wish for a return to Reagan’s muscular America. That lost nation caused the fall of the Soviet Union. An event Putin terms the “major geopolitical disaster of the century.”
A sleepy, insular and socialized Obamaland is exactly what Putin needs to reassert Russia as an important player. What RT.com should be doing is helping Democrats - that soup kitchen masquerading as a party - elect Hillary.
Michael Shannon is a commentator and public relations consultant, and is the author of “A Conservative Christian’s Guidebook for Living in Secular Times.” He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org