I don’t like writing about September 11, 2001. My experience that day is not all that important and, truth be told, I’d rather not remember what I was doing or what I felt as the war we’d been ignoring for years showed up in Manhattan, Northern Virginia, and a lone airplane that later ended up in flaming ruin across a field in a town in Pennsylvania whose name you’d probably never heard before that day. I’d much rather you hear the memories of a good man like Kui Fai Kwok but you can’t because he was murdered that day by a bunch of single-minded killers who our President regards as little more than common criminals. I’d rather we hear from one of the estimated 200 people who decided to leap to their deaths rather than die from suffocation or smoke inhalation or fire but we can’t because they, too, were murdered.
I’d rather our elected officials spoke with the overwhelming voice of the American people who want total and decisive victory over the well-educated and largely well-off Islamist monsters who are trying even still to kill us. Instead, those officials have decided to play silly little political games and urge us to work in soup kitchens and get over our “difficulty” while the killers work relentlessly toward their next slaughter.
I’d rather we had listened to Mark Steyn two years ago:
Being a member of an NGO (non-governmental organization, as they call them at U.N. conferences), Osama bin Laden can easily “imagine there’s no countries”: He’s been doing it for some time. By contrast, the distinguishing characteristic of people who stand around holding candles and singing John Lennon seems to be a colossal failure of imagination. When some bozo guns down his schoolyard, the day generally ends with him dead or in custody. The vast squadrons of grief counselors who descend on the joint faster than the local SWAT team and start drooling about “healing” and “closure” do have a point to this extent: The event is over, there is something to “close.” But you can’t begin “healing” until the guys have stopped firing. And in this case they haven’t. This isn’t Independence Day. It’s not a movie. It’s an old-fashioned radio serial, with cliffhanger endings week after week after week. Whoever is responsible for September 11 already has well-advanced plans for the next atrocity — probably nothing to do with planes; maybe a gas line, maybe just a shopping mall in some town you’ve never heard of. A terrorist is an opportunistic warrior. If he can kill the president, he will. But if he can’t, he’ll kill you. Imagine that.
So we need something a little more robust than the soothing drone of Lennon and Oprah. We need people willing to speak truth to evil. Saying you love everyone in general is like saying you love no one in particular. It’s like being told “Gee, that was really special” by a hooker.
Here is my worry: At one end of the national spectrum are the anti-American elite, the Edward Saids and John Lahrs secure in their redoubts. At the other end are the great full-throated “These colors don’t run” patriots. But in between is a big wobbly blurry mass trembling on the brink of making this just another wallow in victimization-the “dominant discourse” (as Said would say) of the day. Five years ago, Bob Dole wondered, “Where’s the outrage?” Three years ago, Bill Bennett wrote a book called The Death of Outrage. In Europe, the ferociously anti-American Left is plenty outraged — it is raw, visceral, passionate, and none the worse for that. If we can’t get outraged-not sad, not weepy, not candle-in-the-windy, but outraged — over thousands of people killed for no other reason than that they went to work, then we’re really in trouble. If cultural passivity — love the world, be non-judgmental, everybody does it — co-opts even this awesome event, then the sleeping giant isn’t sleeping so much as comatose.
This is war. Save the love-in for later.
But we didn’t listen then and we sure aren’t listening now.
I’d rather 9/11/2001 had been just another day. But it wasn’t, and no amount to wishing or happy talk from people who lack the courage to face the world as it is will make it so. All I, or any of us can do, is look today square in the face and make sure that our world, today’s world, is as safe and free as we can possibly make it. Maybe then, our kids will look on that day nine years ago as the day we made all our rathers work out for good.
Category: Political Pontifications