On Thanksgiving we give thanks for the good things--family, health, friends, belief in a benevolent Almighty the maker of all things, and country. But the country is a bit wobbly right now under the weight of a growing financial mess and the ever-present specter of terrorist attack.
Some of it is from our own doing. The Founders never intended for success to be measured by excess and greed. They wrote about the perils of unbridled capitalism and how it might one day topple the great "experiment". Adams went as far as saying our Constitution was made for a moral and religious citizenry. But it's a mistake that can be corrected. Terrorism, on the other hand, is not of our own doing. The horrible Bombay/Mumbai attacks could be a preview of coming attractions here. Yet in spite of all our problems these words keep rattling around in the memory banks...
It didn't work for McCain but only because voters rejected the messenger, not the message. His words have meaning beyond a single person, going back to the beginnings of this nation. They are not just words.
As made clear by Zawahiri's recent racist rant AQ extremists are common thugs hiding behind tunics. If they manage to attack us again it'll be a clear attempt to trigger a worldwide financial Armageddon, the very reason Bush felt compelled to urge Americans to "go shopping" after 9/11. Landing a blow to our economic soft underbelly is the only way they win, and we cannot allow it for the sake of our children. We need strong leadership to remind us of this.
As Biden says, Obama will soon be tested. He'll start with a clean slate, yet oddly enough another massive attack in America would prove beyond doubt that it wasn't George Bush (or some Cheney pipe dream) triggering the hate. Too many Americans have been living in a cocoon of conspiracy and denial since 9/11, ie, Bush was the reason they hated us, some even going so far as to believe Bush was behind the attacks themselves. One can almost feel a coming decision point in history as those realizations come crashing down and force us all to confront reality.
Let's hope the worse never comes--there's so many things we'd all rather be doing--but a little preparation of mind never hurts. Comes a day we might be faced with a tough decision--either fall down and beg for mercy or stand up and fight. Fighting doesn't always mean picking up a rifle, it can also mean refusing to lose confidence in our way of life (or each other) or volunteering in the local community, or becoming a leader if only to remind people of why we need to stand up. Or just doing the right thing, as a noted filmmaker once said.
When McCain said those words people responded because they could see the scars to back them up. They aren't the same coming from every man. The man America just elected doesn't have the scars but once asked if the great speeches of American history were "just words". He clearly understands the power of rhetoric as it basically won him the presidency. We may soon find out if he believes in the actual words. God hope he does.
Happy Thanksgiving to all, and thanks for dropping by this remote outpost.