And so another September 11th anniversary has come and gone without much notice, except for a few maudlin mentions on the nightly news and the perfunctory remembrances in which the names of the dead are read out publicly at the sites where they died. We are only a dozen years from that date in time, but otherwise miles away from where we were on that crisp, clear morning. On that day, we were a happy, prosperous nation going about the business of being Americans, more or less as had generations before us. So, where are we now?
Well the truth is, we are not in a good place. Our economy is a fragile one, destabilized even more by a foolish, partisan piece of legislation which further threatens our domestic tranquility, while we are fast becoming an international laughingstock as a result of a juvenile and effeminate foreign policy. On top of all this, the moral fiber of the nation has been noticeably weakened by a culture that slothfully wanders ever further away from any underpinning based on objective truth.
The real question is, what can we do about it? Can it be that it is only the presidency of Barack Obama which has brought to the fore this moral torpor? Can the great majority of the blame rest with him and his policies? In a word, yes. On his watch we are fast becoming a passive people; one that is led by other nations instead of being the one out in front of history. Indeed, many are now joking that Vladimir Putin, by way of his domination of Obama, is now “the leader of the free world.”
For most of her history, America was strong and could lead because of her firm reliance upon the self-evident truths so elegantly stated in the Declaration of Independence. The charge to actively protect and defend American life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is a noble cause indeed and one embraced unanimously by all our Founding Fathers and most of our presidents until relatively recently. And it is this cancer of passive leadership that threatens always to spread from the White House to the rest of the country as it seems has now happened. After all, a fish rots from the head down.
Think about it: in the Carter years, was it average Americans who were depressed and ashamed of their country and their military? Did they want to throw in the towel or grovel before turbaned despots around the globe? Did they want to throw up their hands in despair and don sweaters in the face of an energy crisis? Of course not. Didn’t they want to stand back up on their own two feet and start kicking butt and asking questions later? Sure they did. But sadly, until the ascendancy of Ronald Reagan, all Americans had to bear the stamp of Carter and his malaise ways; call it presidential osmosis
Many, myself included, felt that 9/11 was a great wakeup call in this regard, insofar as it shattered the idea that the oceans would protect us from the evils inflicting calamity on the rest of the world; that we would see the consequences of appeasement in the face of terror, as so blithely embraced by Carter and Bill Clinton. And for a while, it did. But the efficacy of this lesson did not last long.
In the years since September 11, particularly during the last few, America has shied away from clear paths of action and resorted to sloganeering our way our of perceived problems; a detestably un-American way of doing business. President Obama prattles and dithers about “pinpricks” and “broadsides” while the rest of the world laughs. Ineffectual and euphemistic poppycock may be grand for fundraising but not so good for leading a great nation.
The only sure way to restore American greatness here at home and in the eyes of the world is to readopt the spirit of action that allowed our forefathers to pass on this greatness to their posterity. America can regain her goodness, and therefore her greatness, if only she finds her true voice again. She is in desperate need of leadership, especially at the national level, and she must not despair in finding it.
Hopefully, a kind of reverse osmosis would do the trick; where the goodness of country itself will produce the kind of leader required, as first happened with the venerated Father of our Country, George Washington who exhorts us still:
We should never despair, our situation before has been unpromising and has changed for the better, so I trust, it will again. If new difficulties arise, we must only put forth new exertions and proportion our efforts to the exigency of the times.