A Long Read, But A Great One!
It is the same as always; only more than ever, the world is looking to America.
Eleven score and eleven years ago, our forebears brought forth upon this continent a new nation whose founding principles have transformed every human life since.
Within merely 231 trips by this small planet around the sun, the United States of America has become the Great Enigma of all recorded history: We are the most-envied, most-admired, most-coveted, most-desired place on earth to live and work and play and raise a family. Yet we are the most-resented, most-reviled, most-rejected, most-hated nation on Earth.
More people want to weaken us, harm us, destroy us and conquer us than any other land. Large in number, they remain a global minority.
The enigma unveils a tormenting conundrum: No people in all of history have been more caring, more generous of their substance to help fellow inhabitants of this globe. No other nation has so magnanimously forgiven its debtors their debts. No other nation, at such cost in blood and treasure, has ridden to the rescue more often to save other nations from enslavement.
Tolerating the Intolerable
No other nation has tolerated — vigorously protected — its own internal critics' freedom to abuse, malign, lie about, and defame its own principles and its own freely elected leaders to the extent the United States has. No other nation has made a safe harbor, and principally financed, within the heart of its largest city a global town square for other nations to send their officials to speak slander and hurl epithets against their host.
Amid all this, the nation whose risky course on a hostile sea of international scoffing and belittling was set in 1776 by a small band of brave, God-fearing patriots is today the best-fed, best-clothed, best-housed, and best-educated, the healthiest and the safest, most fully employed and creatively occupied nation on the face of the earth. It is, by virtue of its own merits and hard work, and the inadequacies and foolishness of other nations, now the world's only superpower — powerful enough to destroy, many times over, all life on this planet.
Yet it is a nation that has no territorial ambitions. It covets no other people's assets. Only those who threaten the United States with harm have cause to fear it.
At no time in history has productivity been higher, unemployment lower, and inflation virtually inoperative than in America today. All of that is following on the heels of the murderous assault of Sept. 11, 2001, a calamity that would have paralyzed most cultures, but made Americans only stronger.
Soiling Their Own Nest
Despite a worldwide organized aggregation of terrorism bent on America's annihilation, there are within our midst those who are wallowing in the luxury to hate America, to blame it first and foremost for all the world's ills and to join the chorus of America's enemies abroad. Such craven treachery has always been part of the American scene. Still, the American ship of state sails on.
It is indeed an enigmatic global — and domestic scene — for an American to ponder.
What to make of it all?
First, never forget what it is to be an American — and to thank God every day for that unique blessing, a blessing that carries with it a commensurate responsibility.
Second, never forget what it is America stands for.
Finally, never, never abandon the fight — wherever it may break out, wherever it may call — to keep America safe.
America needs to back off from all the lesser quarrels, the shabby compromises, the petty diversions, and look at the larger picture.
No End in View
America is a long, long way from the end of this war of terror that was thrust upon us. Those of us alive today will very likely not see its end. Nor may our children. Nor may theirs.
Ultimate victory, or ultimate defeat, will come, for that is what ultimate means.
In this long, unwinding conflict America will suffer setbacks and experience advances. The authentic picture will not be revealed in the most-recent image on the television screen, but in the lengthy cavalcade of events that yet lie ahead.
What will it cost to win that ultimate victory? The only answer is: It really doesn't matter. For the cost, whatever it is, will be unbearable should we fail. That is why America must do whatever it has to do.
Expect Even More Travail
Already, a painful number of American families have had to bear the dreadful cost of loss of life of loved ones. This burden will spread and grow more weighty, as casualties continue. There is no way to avoid that awful reality. Great, and then greater, sacrifice looms, for more and more Americans.
Life in the United States, as we now know that style of life, will not continue, and will never fully return, in its present form. Carefree days of self-indulgence and wishful denial will wrench to a close.
In its borning years, the United States was in mortal danger. Those times are upon us again. What is at stake is our very survival.
It Is Nothing New
In those grim years, when there were no assurances this new nation could make it past the next day, even into the next season, Americans did not give up. They never lost sight of the light ahead.
We stand once again in their shoes.
America had allies then. America has allies now. America will have them tomorrow.
While we strive for our own, our children's own, survival we are also called upon to help our friends. America will not abandon those friends.
The flickering flame of the small candle of liberty that was handed to us in 1776 is now a towering flame of hope for the whole world. All across the lands where people are held in bondage, threatened with mutilation and death, degraded beyond belief, there is that growing realization that they, too, can be a part of this sweetest of revolutions — the American revolution of free men and women.
Too Late to Turn Back Now
This is causing great upheaval and strife, in the Arab states, all across the Middle East, up and down the archipelagoes and peninsulas of Asia, crisscrossing the South American continent, all over Africa from the Mediterranean Sea to the Indian Ocean, from the Horn to the Atlantic.
The present conflict in Mesopotamia is but one of many battles that will be fought, some won, some lost.
The inescapable reality, the welcome news, is that the genie of liberty is now out of the bottle, and can never be stuffed back in again. The beautiful part is, it is all our fault.
Small wonder America is so hated in all the dark corners where tyranny, quite correctly, feels threatened. In the highest compliment attainable, we are hated because of who we are and for what we stand. So, let us stand tall and relish the hatred we have earned.
For This We Are Guilty
Yes, America is to blame for this out-of-control wildfire, for America, in 1776, struck the spark.
We must never cease nurturing, never cease fanning that spark. Or history will never forgive us.
What, then, is the real State of the Union in 2007? It is in 2007 what it has always been — in mortal peril and at the same time on the threshold of historical greatness.
This is no time for crawfishing or for cowering, for regretting or for retreating. This is a time for renewal and rejoicing.
America will not be defeated. America will not be destroyed. That is the magnificent promise, the grand adventure of history that Americans have inherited.
We have one another. We have our friends. We have our faith in the Almighty. And we have the sure and certain knowledge that the multitudes of this planet are on our side, too.
They sense, and we should know: America is on the right side of history.
The Democrats having, once again, been their most exquisitely lousy selves had rather depressed me lately. I thought about Barbara Boxer's incomparable crassness to Dr. Rice, Jim Webb's unbelievable rudeness to the President at a handshake, Ellison's treachery in drawing up papers for Mr. Bush's impeachment--even while his palm was held on the Koran in front of him and he was being sworn into office--and I thought 'yes, they are only being what we knew them to be'...
However, John Perry's beautiful words have stirred me again and reminded me that, I should not look at the pettiness of those who I knew were petty, but at the greatness of America still before me. (Oh, and for the 69% of the bedwetters who think America is a 'poor' country, or one that is no longer great--you can all go f*** yourselves--in my own crass gesture of exactly what I think of you!)