Peggy Noonan. An American. A normal American, breathing, watching, reading. Wandering, around her country. A watchful sentinel, proud and drunk. Must she feel shame, for being afraid of the young foreigners, infiltrating? Nay.
Children. Coming. Not sexually, but geographically, coming from far away, to here—America—the bright and shining beacon, the homeland, the land of the free. We must keep them out. Scared children, wand'ring thru the desert lands, confused, afraid, unable to pass the citizenship test. Ahoy to you! Peggy Noonan, an American woman, does know the feelings of a small child. Come, child—rest your head pon Peggy's bosom, and take comfort in her welcome.
There seem only two groups that view the situation with appropriate alarm.
One is the children themselves, dragged through deserts to be deposited here. To them, everything is a swirl of lights, color and clamor, and shouting and clanking. A reporter touring a detainment center in Texas noted a blank, lost look among some of the younger children. Every mother knows what that suggests. Children who cry and wail anticipate comfort: That's why they're crying, to alert those who care for them that something is wrong. But little children who are blank, withdrawn, who don't show or at some point know what they're feeling—those children are in trouble.
Children, in trouble. Suffering. In the desert—hot. Hot children, parched by the ceaseless sun which shines constantly unto America, Ronald Reagan's sun-kissed smile beamed down upon us from heaven. A grateful nation, besieged by suffering foreign children. A nation of empathy. What do the "normal" Americans? What do the "normal" Americans believe? For this we turn, again, to Peggy Noonan, the Normal Whisp'rer, she who channels all of us, into words. Words of truth. Words of love. Words of normalcy.
This is how I think normal people are experiencing what is happening:
It's like you live in a house that's falling apart. The roof needs to be patched and there are squirrels in the attic, a hornet's nest in the eaves. The basement's wet. The walkway to the front door is cracked with grass growing through it. The old boiler is making funny sounds. On top of that it's always on your mind that you could lose your job tomorrow and must live within strict confines so you can meet the mortgage and pay the electric bill. You can't keep the place up and you're equal parts anxious, ashamed and angry. And then one morning you look outside and see . . . all these people standing on your property, looking at you, making some mute demand. Little children looking lost—no one's taking care of them. Older ones settling in the garage, or working a window to the cellar. You call the cops. At first they don't come. Then they come and shout through a bull horn and take some of the kids and put them in a shelter a few blocks away. But more kids keep coming! You call your alderman and he says there's nothing he can do. Then he says wait, we're going to pass a bill and get more money to handle the crisis. You ask, "Does that mean the kids will go home?" He says no, but it may make things feel more orderly. You call the local TV station and they come do a report on your stoop and then they're gone, because really, what can they do, and after a few days it's getting to be an old story.
This is how Peggy Noonan thinks normal people think: just like Peggy Noonan, in the midst of a gin-soaked afternoon fever dream, four Xanax deep, beset by visions. Is that you mother? I'm home again. Home in America. A squealing boiler. Nightmare children. Squirrels and hornets. Buzzing! Buzzing! Buzzing, attacking, advancing upon my castle, my home, my fortress! The police can do nothing. The children, they stare with dead eyes, needy. Children of the corn—Mexican corn.
Would you perchance fetch me my laudanum? I need a tonic. I am normal. I am America. I am Peggy. My door is locked.
[ Photo: Getty]