Shall We Sleep Or Wake?
Shall We Sleep Or Wake?
A clear Tuesday morning five years aroused a sleeping giant. Are we still roused, or are we trying desperately to return to slumber and its pleasant dreams?
First, consider that we have not been attacked on our soil since that dreadful morning, an unexpected yet unheralded blessing. Do you remember those first anxious days, wondering from which direction the next blow would come? Yet we have remained unscathed here in the heartland, and the revelations by President Bush last week revealed that has been no accident.
Indeed, thousands of men and women work anonymously to ensure our safety, from the financial expert who tracks the money of murder to the staff sergeant patrolling the streets of Baghdad. These are our heroes, or should be. While some we cannot know, we ought to know more about the courage, skill, and savvy of our defenders.
We are often ill-served by an antagonistic and unimaginative media, but we the people bear some responsibly for not demanding to know our champions. Perhaps that knowledge makes it harder to pretend that war is a dream that does not touch us.
Americans have become victims of their own success. After five years, our economy is unexpectedly strong as unemployment remains low and the stock market returns to the giddy heights of the dot-com boom. Our military forces have toppled two totalitarian enemies far from home. We have remained free from attacks such that instead of being fearful to attend fireworks displays, we complain about the cost of gas to get there.
So as the clear and present danger recedes into back-page headlines, we try to go back to sleep. Far easier it is to hide under the covers and call the bogeyman Bush or Cheney or Rumsfeld than to face the real monsters outside the door. President Bush did not lie or mislead us into war with Iraq. Saddam Hussein did that, and even now in our proxy war with Iran our enemies are Islamic fascists and not phantom U.S. government conspirators.
Anniversaries let us recall the past and make promises for the future. Shall we learn from our history and make plans for our future, or shall we regurgitate past events as an old man dreams about long-wasted opportunities?
Let us not seek hiding in oblivion from the darkness. Let us stand, clear-eyed, and defeat our enemies in day’s bold light.