It seems to be a terrorist theory that Americans are too soft to
resist ongoing violent attacks and the consequent psychological
terrorization. Although there may be a kernel of truth in this
assumption, inasmuch as we tend to be an addicted people, there is
enough evidence to prove that our true nature and our most
powerful longings are exemplified in sacrifice and endurance.
Our military personnel in Iraq are fighting an
extremely difficult war against terrorists. These young men and
women are willing to give their lives for the freedom of others.
Some have returned home, maimed and scarred, and they do not
The response of New York City's police officers,
firefighters, and average citizens to a massive terror attack
demonstrated American heroism, unity, resilience, and positive
defiance. As for the psychological impact of grief, anxiety, and
fear, New Yorkers continue to live and work in the city as well
as to make plans for rebuilding the World Trade Center area.
The early settlers of America who
survived the rugged landscape and harsh weather were a hardy
people. The pioneers who went westward were tough, adventurous,
and hopeful. We stand on the heritage of people who were able to
separate from loved ones, pare down their possessions, develop
self-sufficiency, and go forward.
Americans have resisted extinction and overcome the wounds of
political betrayal. Many African Americans have risen from
deprivation, brutality, and exclusion, to become prominent in
every field of American enterprise.
Americans did not do what the
people of Spain did after the Madrid train bombings. The
Spaniards did not re-elect their pro-American president (who had
seemed the likely winner before the Madrid attack). They elected
the opponent who then withdrew the Spanish troops from Iraq.
If Americans were
easily intimidated, incapable of withstanding severe stressors,
then George W. Bush would have lost by a landslide no matter who
his opponent was. If our political system had caved in, then the
Republican Party would not have chosen Bush as their 2004
candidate. They would have found someone to meet with the
approval of the terrorists.
Please note that I
am not saying that John Kerry would have appeased the terrorists.
Kerry took a strong position against terrorism in his campaign
speeches. It is the worldwide unpopularity of Bush's Iraq war
policy (right or wrong) to which I refer.
Working 9 to
Americans have a comparatively high standard of
living. We work hard for this. Many Americans work two jobs.
Some homes are headed by a working father and a working mother.
There are single parents who work all day and then come home to
cook dinner for the kids. Americans have fewer paid vacation days
than many Europeans and Scandinavians.
The fact that we
own a lot of material things does not necessarily mean that we
are spoiled. It means that we work long hours to obtain these
things. If we had to live off rations such as was the case in
World War II, most likely we would adapt.
We give our money away. We do this through a number of
channels such as charities and nonprofit organizations, churches,
scholarship funds, and shelters. It can be argued that our giving
is not sacrificial, that we give from our surplus. Even so, such
giving is unselfish.
Americans have adjusted to increased security
measures, such as airport baggage inspections. Although many
people object to the Patriot Act, these objections may have
decreased since the London terror bombings of July 7th. My point
is this: we have accepted the inconvenience that security measures
bring into our lives. Our focus is on safety and survival, not on
Whether we look at
the American character or the democratic process, we have the
resources to win the war on terrorism. The task ahead is not to
let partisan strife weaken us from within, and not to let
obsession with political correctness weaken us from without.
Until we meet