A video store I frequent was closed yesterday because one of the tapes was found covered in white powder. The fire department arrived, and it turned out the powder was not anthrax, but gypsum. A customer whose house was being re-modeled had returned the tape. The store was re-opened and everybody went about their business; no freakouts, no panic, no big deal.
It occurred to me that in a small kind of way, my country had defeated Osama bin Laden in a small battle in the War on Terrorism.
This brings me around to something else I am beginning to notice, and that is an instinctive kind of Americanism that seems to happen to people here, almost by osmosis. If bin Laden hired me as an advisor on what his enemies – the American people – were all about, I would have some things to tell him that I think would surprise him, and this is why he will not prevail.
I am not an expert on the military, or the government, or the inner workings of the Bush Administration, but bin Laden’s war is not just with those entities. His war is with the spirit of America, by playing on our fears, our phobias, our softness and lack of resolve. When it comes to the inner workings of being an American, by God I <I>am</I> an expert!
I suspect much of bin Laden’s human intelligence comes from a very small group of Arabs who have lived in the United States for five or 10 years, long enough to be very knowledgeable of life here. These guys, many of whom have been working as cabdrivers, hanging out in bars and strip clubs, renting and watching Hollywood movies, listening to rap and angry rock music, are bin Laden’s spies.
Bin Laden has probably heard about disenfranchised teenagers in black goth clothes, pierced and spiked and tattooed. He has heard about kids who have no idea what World War II was fought over and do not care, who eschew church and family and morality for sex and drugs and rock’n’roll. He has heard about girls who live for shopping sprees in which they max their parents’ credit cards, and cannot wait to augment their breasts with silicone. He has heard about boys who slack their time away on skateboards instead of pursuing wholesome activities like baseball or fishing.
Bin Laden must have heard about how Americans are addicted to on-line pornography and videos that depict the flower of our young womanhood getting debauched in extreme gangbang orgies. Or the kids who drop ecstacy, or listen to lyrics that urge them to kill themselves because society has no place for them.
Surely bin Laden heard from his operatives about racial tensions dividing us from each other. Of blacks demanding affirmative action and victimhood, and of angry white rednecks who would just as soon chain ‘em to the back of their pickup trucks on a lonely country road.
Or bin Laden heard about gay pride and official policies that give rights to the Sodomites of the New Gomorrah.
Of course, bin Laden was told all about selfish, wanton Wall Streeters whose very existence revolves around the Almighty Dollar. He heard about parents who do not spend time with their kids, and kids who never see their fathers.
Gleefully, bin Laden’s spies saw all this and more, reported it verbatim, and the conclusion based on all this “intelligence” is that the United States of America does not have the stomach to overcome a challenge.
Bin Laden has bad intel on two fronts. First, he does not understand history, and like the Japanese military leader Tojo during World War II, he has awoken a sleeping giant. But that is very much a military concept, one that speaks to our desire to confront him with our armies, our spies, our technology.
Bin Laden’s biggest mistake is believing all the information he got from his people about the nature of our people, particularly our young folk. What those transplanted Arab terrorists could tell their leader was what they saw, but they lack an intrinsic feel for what makes an American.
A kid grows up in this country, flush with freedom and opportunity, but the schools teach them all kinds of garbage, like the Manifest Destiny of Westward Expansion was nothing more than an Indian Holocaust, or that we dropped the Atom bomb on Japan because the white leaders at the time hated yellow-skinned, slant-eyed little people.
They are told that our Vietnam experience was on a moral par with Hitler’s Germany, that we are warmongers and racists who meddle in the affairs of innocent countries just trying to get by.
They are certainly not told that the leaders of Communist Russia and China were for years unadulterated mass murderers, and that they would have kept murdering if not for our stopping them. On the other hand, they are told that the only reason we have not replaced gas guzzlers with electric cars is because a handful of Big Oil families will not allow it, that the Ozone Layer cannot possibly be a naturally-occurring phenomenon, and that companies that employ millions are nothing more than exploiters of the human condition, especially in Third World countries where folks working for them would die on the huddled streets if not for the jobs created by the “exploiters.”
I know this is what they are being told, because I have a daughter who has been told this kind of thing in the public school system for 11 years. I told you, I am an expert.
It is not just schools that tell our kids what a piece of crap America is. Hollywood is excellent in this regard. Our news media is very efficient at it, too.
So, getting back to Osama bin Laden’s “eyes and ears” in America, they hear all of this stuff and tell him about it, no doubt. What he does not get from them, he gets from CNN.
There is a point, however, that these people are missing. For some reason, there is a common sense factor that young people raised in this nation seem, thank God, to possess. An adult who moves here may possess it after a long while, but they are much less likely to understand it than the young.
What it comes down to is that the young boy or girl growing up here, listening to all the “down with America” rhetoric, is smart enough to figure a few things out for themselves. Okay, we’re warmongers and racists and greedy exploiters, but…but…something does not add up.
We’re free to think for ourselves, to express opinions and live our lives as we see fit. “How can we be racists if every person of color I know seems to be doing just fine, and none of my friends are down on them, and what about all those black dudes makin’ coin in music and sports? Have they accomplished all of that despite our narrow-mindedness?”
A kid looks around and sees streams of foreigners here and thinks to himself, hey, if we’re so bad, how come everybody keeps moving here? Dot-commers especially saw what democracy is in this nation. What about the guy from India who started that Internet company that went public? Or the black-Jewish kid with computer skills who commands a $70,000 salary?
A girl is told that we are a nation of homophobes, but has a hard time squaring this concept with the fact that all the gay people she knows about seem to be doing fine, thank you.
Kids hear about how we just blow people up without regard for human life, but common sense tells them that something is wrong with that picture because they know if we wanted to, we could obliterate a country like Afghanistan from the planet, and instead we painstaking bomb only military targets and strive to keep casualties to a minimum.
Some of the smarter kids even study things like the Roman Empire and colonialism, and make mental note of the fact that the heavy-handed tactics of Rome and the British occupiers are not our style.
Hey, I thought Pat Robertson might have had a point when he said that we had gone so far from God that we had become vulnerable, but Pat missed the point that occurred to me. That is that we are free, and we are human, and we make mistakes, but as Frank Sinatra once said, the fun is in correcting our errors.
The young sense all of this much better than we give them credit for. They see injustice and do something about it. This generation sees racism and they gang up not to keep it going but to stop it.
They also sense instinctively that this is their time. There was nothing really special about the youth of the 1930s and ‘40s who took up the challenge of stopping Hitler, and later the Stalinists. A young man today sees our flag waving, and may not be inculcated by overwhelming patriotism, but they know that flag stands for something really special. They know because they have been here all their lives and that is long enough to understand such things. They know because they have been allowed to think for themselves, and down deep they know this country is the best in the world despite what they were told. They know that because that is precisely what they were told, and they realize that if we were not the best we would never have the confidence to let everybody go around badmouthing us. We are such a great country that we know our greatness can sustain the slings and arrows of anti-U.S. sentiment. They know that the freedom to speak ones’ mind is something special, and that our enemies do not have that right.
So they will fight. They will volunteer. They will sustain us in our time of need. They will not give up, they will never surrender. They will make us proud. In the meantime, our schools, the New York Times, Hollywood, they will for a while depart from the liberal playbook and do their part, reporting the truth in all its glory. Bin Laden will hear of it, and he will not be able to understand it. His prognostications will prove inaccurate, his calculations slightly off.
Eventually, bin Laden and the “thousands who will rise to replace” him will wither. They will become yesterday’s news, like the Kaiser, Hitler, Pol Pot and others who clutter the dustbin of history.
As for future generations of Americans, they will go back to their selfish, cynical ways. God bless ‘em for it.
Causes Steven Travers Supports
Conservative, Christian, USC, American patriotism