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The terror attack on September 11, 2001, was undoubtedly the transformative event of my youth and shapes my worldview as an adult. Now we bear witness to the next generation’s defining moment: an unprecedented national lockdown and social upheaval. Like 9/11, the mindset of the people who live through it reflects both the environment of what came before and the reaction to everything that comes after. There haven’t been straight lines drawn between 9/11 and the current cultural, social, and political chaos that is occurring in America now. Rather we’re living in a pendulum that those in power would rather see blasted off-course into the heavens than swing back to a state of balance between natural rights, freedom of thought, liberty, and law and order.
9/11 united the country in patriotism and civic responsibility, and in an instant it became clear what President Reagan meant when he said “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” America enjoyed a generous peace dividend in the 1990s, thanks to the strong leadership through the Cold War of Ronald Reagan and a tightening of domestic conservatism. We had relatively good standing both within and beyond our borders. Patriotism wasn’t a value to be shamed. We celebrated our heroes with the understanding they were flawed men, much like each of us – but also with the potential for greatness that only America offers the opportunity to realize. Civic duty was instilled as a way of life and fragile institutions were only as good as the people we trusted to keep them. When our way of life was threatened, we fought, hard. When the choice came down to submitting to politically correct ninnies or survival and victory, Americans for the most part chose the latter. There was no room for weak-kneed career politicians nor milquetoast military bureaucrats. Our common purpose was clear and our conviction strong.
But after years of a war that was growing unpopular and brewing fears of economic ruin, cultural decay, and political unrest the hope that President Obama promised never materialized. His lasting legacy will be that of ushering in an era of shame and apology for American strength. He and the Democrats sold our liberty and exceptionalism for good favor in the eyes of globalists and political elites. Working-class Americans stopped being thought of by the political class as the backbone of an industrial and innovative powerhouse that was the envy of the world. They were an unenlightened underclass to be put up with at best and eliminated at worst. Now the political and cultural chasm widens each day into an impassable abyss, and Reagan’s words ring with an ominous tone. The young generations are coming of age with a feeling of American disgrace that leads to an unsustainable path. It is inclusivity at the cost of individuality; honor in victimhood over honor in personal responsibility; redefining our nation by the sins of our founders, not the circumstances they overcame.
And we have no leaders to stand up for the American values that are being trampled to death under the jackboot of an irrational mob. Politicians are conforming to a path of least resistance. The easy thing is to point a finger at some deeply ingrained wrong that gives groups of people both permission to be perpetual victims and to keep them segregated by identity politics. We witnessed too long our political leaders in both parties be more concerned with petty infighting and posturing for self-serving interests than to listen to the people they serve and act accordingly.
The hard thing is to look at the devastation in cities caused by a combination of arbitrary lockdown rules and allowing mobs of rioters to rove the streets. We are desperate for leaders who are willing to risk political slings and arrows to stand strong against the utterly destructive wave of chaos drowning whatever common sense, decency, and moral fortitude remain. If Republicans won’t defend Roosevelt, Lincoln, or Jefferson from being slandered, degraded, and eventually erased, how can we expect them to defend us? They keep proving their unending devotion to retaining their own political power, citizens, and history be damned.
Will 9/11 be the last of these momentous events that led to a better America, defined by not by conquest, or fear, or apology – but liberty, morality, and virtue? Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” This implies we are moving slowly, but steadily toward a more just society. But judging by his actions during the Civil Rights era, it takes more than just being a bystander to fate. We must be active in bending the arc by engaging and defeating an anti-American mob that would lay claim to its own historical truth. It prefers we erase everything deemed problematic, restarting our nation at woke Year Zero.
Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous words were a paraphrase of a sermon by abolitionist minister Theodore Parker in 1853. Parker said, “I do not pretend to understand the moral universe. The arc is a long one. My eye reaches but little ways. I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by experience of sight. I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends toward justice.” By this, we have to ensure an arc of history towards justice – a curve that started as a vision at America’s founding, bent continually towards a more perfect Union through civil war, world wars, and social unrest. By sitting idle as the progressive left marched to break our curve by destroying our ideals, we risk losing our country.
Do we stand on the accomplishments of our past leaders despite their flaws and moral shortfalls? Do we persist because of our yearning for that piece of their vision, guiding us to always be better? Or do we cede our future to a generational mentality that thinks grace cannot overcome our sins and our history is unbearably offensive that we must reimagine our nation as one not worthy of a history at all?Published in