Thursday, September 20, 2007


Do they understand us? Do they think that what they see on TV and in Hollywood movies is who we are? Do they think that bikini waxing and tribal armband tattoos and blonde highlites is the heart of our culture and substance of our souls? We have grown foolish, no doubt -- distracted and silly and self-absorbed. We have grown middle aged and youth-obsessed, and we have looked to our own comfort more than is fitting of our heritage.

Do they think that's who we are? That would be a mistake to soak their feet in blood. At the core of even the softest of us, the weakest, the most foolish and unfocused, the most irresolute and self-loathing, in the soul of even the least American of Americans, there burns a tight bright flame that has been fed on liberty and loyalty and devotion to the highest human aspirations. If the shade of young Army Specialist Casey Sheehan could rise from his grave to comfort the deranged and tormented, the grief-stricken and broken heart of his mother Cindy, she might gather in the strings of her soul and knit them into something firm and strong. She is American, and America has the example of God, in welcoming home prodigals. Strength can come from weakness, as Casey Sheehan was born to his mother.

America is courage. It is nobility. It is valor and the salvation of the world. No it isn't? Of course it isn't. But it is. It is, as long as idealism has a place within reality. So I don't know what the enemy is planning for us, for our festivals or holy days or elections. Perhaps they think they can frighten or influence us. If they have any understanding at all, any merest hint of what mettle we are made, they will lie still as the hare in the wolf's den, hoping to find a moment to flee, hoping to escape notice. For we are not, no, never -- we are not Spain.

Some other nation will falter and fall, bend and break, be cowed by the hard looks and rank emotion of the brigand and the oppressor. But this nation will look first with disdain, then amazement, and then with fierce resolve at those who threaten and torment and kill. We will feel shock, of course, should we be struck. We are real people, not cartoons. We will be confused or afraid, some of us. But we've felt it before, and we expect it again, and when it comes, it will not overwhelm us but rather lift us on a swelling tide of righteous wrath that will wash the desert lands in sorrow and dismay. So. What, then? What is there to say?

Don't tread on me. Don't try it, and don't think you can. It is you who creep in the dirt, not I. It is you whose mouth is dry with dust, whose veins are thick with malice, whose heart needs the heat of hatred to animate your sluggish soul. There is no field on which you can prevail. I will nail your skin to the wall if you raise your head against me. I am content to leave you be. I would take no notice of you. The world is large enough for many ways, and you are welcome on my paths as I should be on yours. But if you think to strike at me, again, your time of celebration in your streets and on your rooftops will end. Laughter will die in your throat and anguish will poison all your days. Your brood will scatter your grave with ashes, and the apples of sodom will be their only food.

America chooses its future. No course will run straight, and no captain or crewman is without fault. But we are presented with the clearest of choices. Spain, in voting for capitulation after the attacks in Madrid, at least had an excuse. It had been viciously attacked, and reacted in the passion of its fear. What will our excuse be, if we throw down our arms, if we abandon the field, if we bare our necks? Shall we scream and hitch up our skirts and flee to the safety of a stool because we have seen, merely seen a serpent? Shall we skulk and slouch in far corners, brave enough only to mutter and cast resentful looks?

Liberty does not slouch. She does not bend. She stands at the coast, facing east, a colossus, and she is beautiful and fearsome, and she demands as much as she gives.

This is my choice. This is what I stand for. This is what the enemy must be reminded we are. This is what the enemy fears. This is who we are.



Jack H said...

I don't know what your custom is, about following links, but I just followed my own, "Cindy" link. I'd forgotten it. Tastes will differ, of course, as to good or bad. But I'm glad I wrote it.


Anonymous said...

I stopped following links when someone (not FP!) linked to a jihadi website that freaked me out, spilled coffee everywhere..

Thanks for the link to "Cindy". It was a kind and insightful look at this woman that I had before looked at unforgivingly. And thanks for "Colossus"...I've been despairing lately, being me and all. Too much crazy news.