Adam Corolla has a wonderful and important new video for Prager University about the amazing, and oh-so-necessary human capacity for change.
First the video, and then a personal confession.
Once upon a time I used to believe some pretty foolish things. Jewish, lower-middle class, born and bred in Brooklyn, my family were (and many still are) doctrinaire Democrats.
I was taught that Republicans were for rich people and Democrats for the poor. I was convinced that Republicans were—every last one of them—anti-Semitic to the core.
Naturally, it was an article of faith in my family that FDR saved the United States from robber barons, and the best friend Jews ever had. Never mind that FDR’s New Deal only prolonged the Depression. Never mind that FDR refused to open America’s shores to desperate Jewish refugees. Never mind that FDR pledged to Ibn Saud that he would never support a Jewish state in the Middle East. The FDR cult of personality—a substitution for religion and G-d— still holds firm in the minds of ossified Jewish Democrats.
Desperate to learn about movies, art, and literature, I refused to settle into my yeshiva environment and struck out for a secular college where, presumably, I would discover an open environment devoted to expanding the student’s mental horizons.
This was true—but only up until certain vivid red lines.
Yes, we eager students studied history, literature and art. But soon enough it became clear to me that a massive amount of time was spent on Marxist theory, a material view of the world. Still observant, still wearing a yarmulke, I would ask about religion, about the spirit. With deep condescension, my professors informed me that we live in a post-religious world. Religion, I was lectured, was the opiate of the people.
I wondered, but never had the courage to suggest, that perhaps Marxism was the opiate of the elites.
My friends and professors raged against the war in Vietnam. But my father served as a chaplain in the U.S. Army and I could only cringe when my friends called U.S. troops baby-killers and Stormtroopers. I never went to any protest marches. I just sat in the dark and screened movies.
One afternoon, I watched a Vietnam protest on TV. Suddenly, I saw something deeply disturbing at the edge of the frame. A Palestinian flag was held aloft by a bunch of kaffiyeh wearing agitators who were chanting “Free Palestine.”
Something was wrong.
What were these Arab terrorists doing at a Vietnam protest?
It took me a few years to understand that American liberalism had been hijacked by radical leftism. Great and brilliant Democrats like Daniel Moynihan and Scoop Jackson were replaced by radical, simple-minded demagogues like Ted Kennedy and Bella Abzug.
It took me a few years to perceive that American Christians were different than European Christians.
Karen and I changed at the same gradual pace. We never really sat down and formally discussed our political and social evolution. We were on the same wavelength.
Jimmy Carter was the last straw, the last Democrat for whom I voted. When I pulled the lever for a Republican for the very first time, my entire body trembled. I felt like a traitor.
As we raised our children, as we climbed the economic ladder, we more fully understood the virtues of free enterprise, a Constitutional Republic, and the blessings of liberty. We recognized that some of our—Israel and Judaism’s—best friends are pious Christians of all denominations.
I have changed on a deeply personal level. No longer do I count on clever sarcasm to level opponents in debate. I try to listen and respond thoughtfully to those who disagree with me. Frequently, I simply withdraw to a private corner rather than enmesh myself in a nasty ideological battle with friends or family.
I’m a better and wiser person now than at any time in my life. When I meet people who hold the exact same ideological beliefs they held when college or grad students, I feel sorry for them. They are flowers that never bloomed. Frequently, these are people who lead marginal and/or dysfunctional lives. Always, they wallow in myriad social and personal complaints, and show a distinct inability to appreciate, to be grateful for, well, most anything.
—two things have never changed.
I fell in love with Karen when I was 9 years old and my love for her has only deepened.
And my love for movies remains undiminished.
Some things are, blessedly, eternal.
And now, David Bowie’s “Changes”