America Seems to have Lost Its Soul
- 26 January 2007 by Author 0 Comments
America Seems to have Lost Its Soul
By Richard Larsen
Published – Idaho State Journal, 1/26/07
Our President in his State of the Union address recounted some of the greatness that is America. From a stellar economy, to individual acts of magnanimity and of heroism. Monetary and fiscal policy by this administration have facilitated an economic environment where America has benefited phenomenally. But where the acts of courage, heroism, and sacrifice presented by the President have in previous generations been characteristic of the greatness of America, they somehow seem less so now.
The President told of Wesley Autrey, and his courageous rescue of a fellow subway rider in New York City, and of Tommy Rieman, a heroic Army Sargent who used his body to shield wounded comrades in Iraq. These examples of courage seem to stand out more these days than they ever have. It seems that the heart, courage, and conviction that have been the very soul of America are fading away.
There was a time, not so long ago, when men and women united all over the country in a common fight; an effort to do all that was humanly possible to defeat enemies who sought our destruction, and the extirpation of our freedom and liberty. A time when collections were made of used rubber tires for the war effort. People bought war bonds to help fund the arduous work of fighting tyranny and the manacles of oppression.
Such sacrifices are not required of us these days. We fight oppressors and purveyors of destruction with high tech weaponry and a volunteer military force. Rather than going to the local theater to see the news reels for war updates, we click on the TV or surf the internet only to be bombarded with images and propagandistic analysis ad nauseam about our purported impotent efforts against an enemy sworn to our destruction or conversion.
To many, Iraq is George W. Bush’s war. He started it, so if our efforts there fail, it’s his failure. Then the anti-American nay-sayers can do their high-fives because Bush failed and we don’t have to hear about it in the news any more.
Over 3,000 brave, committed, and courageous volunteers in our military have died in Iraq. For who? George Bush? No. For us! If that nascent democracy collapses because we failed to provide the support necessary to stabilize the country, it is all of us who are more at risk. Is the world safer with a stable Iraq, or a collapsed state with warring factions creating an environment ripe for nurturing more terrorists? Are we as Americans, safer if we allow the collapse of Iraq only to become a breeding ground for terrorists much like Afghanistan before the attacks of 9/11?
The questions are of course rhetorical, but they should be answered by each of us for the conclusions seem self-evident. President Bush did not start this war on terror. The terrorists started it. But we can finish it, one stage at a time, if we continue with the heart of previous generations that have sacrificed much more than we to preserve our union and our freedom. But if we cower, as too many Americans are doing these days, we prove that the likes of Wesley Autrey and Tommy Rieman are anachronistic in today’s America. And instead of a nation of potential heroes, we confirm that we are spineless, convictionless, solipsists who wallow in naivete and ignorance about the struggle that we are now engaged in.
If we fail in Iraq, it should not be because our Commander in Chief presides over a nation of people who failed to provide him the populist support requisite for surmounting our challenges. By the way, the President is the Commander in Chief, not the micro-management-prone Congress that seems to think they can usurp that constitutional authority. The President said Tuesday, “The war on terror we fight today is a generational struggle that will continue long after you and I have turned our duties over to others.” If we don’t realize that, we are naïve or stupendously detached from reality. Too many of us seem to suffer from amnesia, naivete, and lack of conviction in core principles or a combination of all the above, and are unwilling to stand a little sacrifice now for a greater assurance of safety and security for future generations.
“Talking heads,” analysts and columnists, criticize us for being obsessed with winning. When it comes to preservation of America, we should be obsessed with winning. Even if you belong to the “hate America” crowd and feel guilty over the liberty and quality of life we enjoy in this great land, you should be obsessed with winning. When it comes to our legacy to our children and grand children, winning the fight against those who have sworn in their wrath to destroy us, of which Iraq is the most prominent front, should be our primary obsession.
As we focus on the mistakes of the past, we paralyze ourselves with indecision and uncertainty for the future. We simply cannot afford to be anything but realistic in assessing the risks associated with failure.
So which is it? Are we Americans willing to fight for freedom and security, or are we a nation of narcissists, impervious to the amplified battle we leave for our posterity?
Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, and is a graduate of Idaho State University with a BA in Political Science and History and former member of the Idaho State Journal Editorial Board. He can be reached at email@example.com.