Sometimes you don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
The United States is at war, a global struggle against Islamic extremists who aim to destroy the Western infidels and form an international caliphate governed by Islamic sharia law. They triggered a war with the 9/11 attacks, carried out in typically cowardly fashion by suicide bombers who targeted civilians.
But faced with such dire threats, some still insist on seeing us as the problem. Look no further than the April 17 edition of the online magazine Salon, where Nina Burleigh describes her foray into a Red America town in upstate New York.
“Eighty of Narrowsburg’s 319 adults are military veterans and at least 10 recent school graduates are serving in Iraq or on other bases overseas right now,” Burleigh writes. And, horror of horrors, “The school’s defining philosophy was traditional and conservative, starting with a sit-down-in-your-seat brand of discipline, leavened with a rafter-shaking reverence for country and flag.”
That became a problem when her son started kindergarten and learned to love his country, forcing Burleigh to have a big talk with the little guy. “I told my son that our president had started a war with a country called Iraq. I said that we were bombing cities and destroying buildings. And I explained that families just like ours now had no money or food because their parents didn’t have offices to go to anymore or bosses to pay them,” she writes.
Hopefully, even her five-year-old was able to see through Burleigh’s childish untruths.
In his book “While Europe Slept” American expatriate Bruce Bawer writes that he and his homosexual partner fled to the continent in the late 1990s, hoping to escape the evangelism that was making them so uncomfortable in the United States. Instead, they found that liberal Europe was being overwhelmed by conservative Muslim immigrants. Bawer wonders if Western values will survive there.
“It’s as if Europe, after all the horrors it inflicted on itself in the 20th century in the name of God and country and Volk were determined to yank up its roots, pull down the flags and base its sense of identity on safely superficial things,” he writes. But, “a civilization with so prosaic a self-understanding is a house of cards, easily toppled by a foreign people possessed of a fierce, all-subsuming sense of who they are and what they believe.”
For now, Burleigh has “rescued” her child. “Our son is enrolled in a well-rated K-5 public school on Manhattan’s Upper West Side,” she writes. “Not surprisingly, the Pledge of Allegiance is no longer part of his morning routine. Come to think of it, and I could be wrong, I’ve never seen a flag on the premises.”
Too bad she doesn’t know, as Europeans are learning, that self-defeat begins with self-loathing. It’s easy to say “The United States is too strong; what’s happening in Europe couldn’t happen here.” But to make sure it doesn’t, we’ll need to have pride in our country and be willing to fight for it.
Even after her diatribe (but before he returned to Manhattan) Burleigh’s son told her, “But Mommy, I love America! I want to hug America!” Hopefully, someday the mother will be as wise as her kindergartner was.
Saturday, April 22, 2006
A State Of Being Can Be Its Own Punishment
It's sad, really: