Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Lonely Ride of the Watchman

As I was perusing Huckleberries Online and Jim Olivera's daily "Best of the Northwest," I came across this piece by Frank Miele in The Daily Interlake. (The Daily Interlake is a paper based in Kalispell, Montana, serving the Flathead Lake area of Montana, and regularly punches above its weight in quality.)

Read the whole thing, but there was one paragraph that I particularly wanted to bring to you attention:
Bush's war against terror is a riskier proposition probably, partly because he is the Paul Revere in that war, unlike President Reagan, who was George Washington at Yorktown. It is relatively easy to accept the sword of surrender from your enemy. It is harder by far to be the first in line to shout "the British are coming" since lots of people would rather not fight the British ("They never bothered me or my family!") or anyone else. Bush, with just as much urgency as Revere, is riding his horse at full gallop to sound the alarm. Some along the road take up their arms and follow him, but many others just retreat into their comfortable houses, pull back the shutters, lock the doors and feel safe.
Who among us would have thought, in the days immediately following 9/11, that in the elections of 2002 and 2004 and the debate in 2006 would not be about the way to prosecute the War on Terror but whether we were even at war?
That is where we are as a nation now, divided in the early years of the war on terror between those who seek the comfort of what was and those who spurn that comfort in order to ensure any kind of a future at all. It is profoundly worrisome to look where Bush is pointing. If there is any chance to see the shadow of a peace-loving Islamic terrorist in that fog ahead of us, then by God someone will see that peaceful terrorist and try to get us to shake his hand. Meanwhile, the president's vision of a murderous brutal enemy does not waiver, and he is either right or wrong, but like Reagan he will not be deterred.
I would like to share his confidence, but I cannot. Bush has three years left. What happens after him? The Democrats not only share his vision but reject it, and militate against it. There are only a few Democrats, Senator Joseph Lieberman chief among them, who I trust to carry us forward, and they have been all but stricken from their party. And there is a significant portion of the Republican party that is soft as well.

It appears we just don't get it, not enough of us anyway, and the same goes for our representatives.

We are still divided. This September, it will have been five years since 9/11. We still cannot decide if we are even at war, when the debate we should be having should be focused on what to do about Iran and how is our wider strategy in the War on Terror proceeding. Instead, we argue over whether we are even at war, an incredible waste of time. The choice is actually very simple.

We can be actors or victims. We can suffer our fate, or we can make our own.

It is not too late, but the time to decide is now. The clock is ticking.

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