Published November 14, 2022
Did anyone learn anything?
The midterms taught an old lesson about the dangers of projection, the overwrought narrative line and metaphors (like “red tsunami”) that are too vivid and ambitious for their own good. The outcome hints at something interesting about the subtly honorable calculations of voters confronted with mediocre choices. In the end, reality overwhelmed the scenarios. It’s nice to know that Americans aren’t as predictable as their politicians and media geniuses assume they are.
But the most useful lesson of this election season has to do with something subtler: The results may suggest a kind of embarrassment starting to spread in the American civic mind. It’s an awakening suspicion that this mess is what the country deserves and is its responsibility to fix. There’s something to be said for embarrassment—even for shame.
Lance Morrow is the Henry Grunwald Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. His work focuses on the moral and ethical dimensions of public events, including developments in regard to freedom of speech, freedom of thought, and political correctness on American campuses, with a view to the future consequences of such suppressions.