Flash of Hindsight
Arts and Letters
TODAY I GOT a letter from the ACU. It was bad enough to wake up this morning in a 64-degree room, with four books to read for an exam tomorrow. Breakfast was lousy because they ran out of cheese Danish; the Dunster House library didn't open when it was supposed to, and the book I wanted was missing anyway. But none of that stuff mattered when I got this letter. The ACU is the American Conservative Union. Maybe it's because I keep my politics quiet; maybe it's because I wear dresses sometimes; maybe they just send these letters to all potential DAR members. Anyhow, it was in my mailbox at 10:30 this morning. They had even addressed it personally. It began:
"Dear Fellow Conservative,
"Opinion surveys show the American people are basically conservative in their political attitudes ... [but] the thrust of government in Washington is continuously to the left ..." Now I knew that the statement was ridiculous: everyone knows that the federal government is impotent. So I was going to throw the letter away and just start studying. But I was hooked. This M. Stanton Evans who had somehow gotten my name on his mailing list had more to tell me. Putting my readings aside, I continued: "While taxpaying conservatives are hard at work earning a living, an army of left-wing agitators, radical legal services lawyers, AFL-CIO lobbyists, Common Cause publicists, tax-exempt Naderites, ACLU attorneys and countless others swarm through the Nation's Capital--pressuring, harassing, demanding."
I WONDERED what he meant. A glance at Nixon and Agnew could reveal "taxpaying conservatives" to be a contradiction in terms. Linus Pauling got rid of the Common Cause a couple of years ago. And if conservatives are against "pressuring, harassing, and demanding," then why did I receive this backing-me-against-the-wall letter asking for money? It just didn't make sense. But then in a flash of hindsight it all came clear. They had enclosed a report which "describes the fashion in which ACU has sought to seize the initiative in behalf of the conservative position--not merely to hold the line against further advances by the left, but to carry the battle over to the offensive." Then I got it. The battle was being waged by the offensive. It wasn't as good as a Gerald Ford interview, but it did have a few nice touches. Now that I understood it, I decided to read their report. They have some dynamic plans for 1974. The best was their new affiliate, "Public Monitor," a program designed to "maintain surveillance of the liberal bureaucrats ..." I think that means that they're going to let us watch Teddy take a shave.
ACU doesn't like the Equal Rights Amendment. They think it is "a fallacy." You see, with ERA I might make as much money as a man, even as much as my husband. And then I might not respect him. And then I might not respect him. And then I end up helping Teddy shave. Figuratively speaking. But you can see that it is still confusing. I mean, why should they write me a plea for financial support so I can help them make sure I will always need it myself? I guess I'll just have to leave that for M. Stanton to figure out. Maybe I should leave the whole thing to him.
One more thing before I start studying. Or maybe I should let M. say it for me. He probably would do a better job than I would: "Election year will be a crucial one for America's free institutions. Liberals are counting on conservative demoralization and inaction to push the nation deeper into radical collectivism. You can make the difference by lending your support ..."
Well, actually M. did say a little more, but I thought it would be better just to end it there. That way it is more conservative.