Friday, September 12, 2008

More than just Shopping

In the national service forum yesterday both Barack Obama and John McCain went back in history and remembered a president calling for Americans to "go shopping" in response to 9/11. They aren't the only ones to say this of course, it's approaching urban legend. The chief honcho at Time Magazine and a former CNN anchor just sat and bobbed their heads.

Here is what Bush actually called Americans to do:
Americans are asking: What is expected of us? I ask you to live your lives, and hug your children. I know many citizens have fears tonight, and I ask you to be calm and resolute, even in the face of a continuing threat.

I ask you to uphold the values of America, and remember why so many have come here. We are in a fight for our principles, and our first responsibility is to live by them. No one should be singled out for unfair treatment or unkind words because of their ethnic background or religious faith. (Applause.)

I ask you to continue to support the victims of this tragedy with your contributions. Those who want to give can go to a central source of information,, to find the names of groups providing direct help in New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

The thousands of FBI agents who are now at work in this investigation may need your cooperation, and I ask you to give it.

I ask for your patience, with the delays and inconveniences that may accompany tighter security; and for your patience in what will be a long struggle.

I ask your continued participation and confidence in the American economy. Terrorists attacked a symbol of American prosperity. They did not touch its source. America is successful because of the hard work, and creativity, and enterprise of our people. These were the true strengths of our economy before September 11th, and they are our strengths today. (Applause.)
Video is here.

Could he have asked us to do more? Perhaps. But the purpose of terrorism is to terrify people into staying in their homes and cowering in fear, awaiting the next attack. The stock market was in a free fall at the time and airplane seats were a dime a dozen. The hijackers had hit us in the economic underbelly, so asking people to sign up for Americorp or begin registering voters was not going to kill or capture KSM.

In other words, taking a trip or going shopping--if nothing more but to show the terrorists we were not going to cower in fear--was one of the most important things the average person could do at the time. These two candidates need to get off the revisionism, and the two moderators shouldn't have allowed them to get away with it. Of course, they agreed or they wouldn't have been hosting the forum.

By the way, Barack Obama's view of service expressed during questioning, almost to a forced level, could not have contrasted more to McCain's somewhat more cautious approach to expanding federal government programs of service. For Obama it's more about the 'underrepresented' and always has been, and it's likely he'll enact programs to bring about a change to their representation and financial well-being. The question is, whose pocket will he pick to do it?


Anonymous said...

One wonder’s how working on behalf of anarchist Saul Alinski qualifies as “community service.” The answer or lack of one accompanied by the usual headlight stare may come from this question: How is the interest of the community served by propagating the ideology of a man who hated America and all it stood for? Interestingly, Hillary Clinton was also an Alinski acolyte … and having read both Alinski and the infamous Clinton paper, I fail to see a benefit to the work performed.

I’m sure there is a moral relativist counter-argument, but it is hard to imagine how any clear thinking person can equate the perpetuation of the victim mentality to “service to America.”

I do agree with your point in this article, AC … but I do think Mr. Bush failed to unite Americans behind the war on terror. When only military personnel are making sacrifices, then clearly most people do not have a stake in winning. After his “lets roll” speech, I expected more from Bush; I think it is fair to say that he failed an important test of leadership to unify the American people. I know … he could never unify everyone, but I believe this arrogance set into motion factors that unacceptably prolonged “pacification,” beginning with the appointment of Paul Bremer.

A.C. McCloud said...

Good point on Alinski. As Obama explained his vision of service it sounded a little too tinged towards Marxism to me, at least in how described his expectations from citizens. Maybe someone will investigate his association with those socialists before Nov. Maybe pigs will fly.

OTOH, McCain tries to come across as touchy-feely upfront (hence, the maverick) but constantly reels himself back to republicanism, which he did by saying the Fed Govt isn't the be-all, end-all on service. Hooray.

As to Bush, I was referring to their trite reduction of his call for unity to a buzz phrase. Everyone knew what he meant at the time. He dropped the ball by going into Iraq, which gave the left a solid reason to divide the country. I cede your point on the military sharing all the burden for the wars (I had sons serving) but this war isn't like WWII in regards to requiring vast recourse to build fleets of tanks and planes. Really, all citizens can reasonably do is report suspicious behavior (which the left hates) and not complain about the Patriot Act (which both sides complain about). I'm trying to think of what Bush could have called on average citizens to do other than go about their normal commerce, because had he said "conserve gas" it would have been counter to the first request.