In the terrible wake of 9/11, authentic patriotism swelled. Members of Congress gathered on the steps of the Capital and vowed to protect this country. They sang "God Bless America" and not one part of it felt less than wholly genuine. Ubiquitous flags flew honestly and quietly.
President George Bush addressed the nation and the world, saying we would not blame these atrocities on our Muslim brethren. I respected him for that. He was a leader.
I suspect the profound experience associated with 9/11 was not unlike the swirl of patriotism that engulfed the country at the onset of World War II, which is often credited for ending the Great Depression.
In a way it did. A massive government war effort--a cloaked stimulus--coupled with a rush to country rescued the United States from its financial doldrums. Uncle Sam was spending and America was ready to accommodate him. I know; my own family was a part of it. My grandfather worked for a humble small business, Laganke Electric, which wasn't so humble after the government contracts for military instrumentation started rolling in. My grandfather eventually launched his own company, Lakeshore Electric, on the waves of the war effort.
World War II was a stimulus program that worked, but it wasn't driven by dollars. American confidence pulled the country back from the brink.
American confidence is a mighty thing. When it's gathering speed, nothing can stop it. When it's sinking in vitriol, it takes the whole world down with it.
Somehow we squandered the patriotic gifts that sprouted in the shadow of 9/11, but I'm not ready to give up yet. Although I do not blink wide-eyed with blind patriotism, I stand in loyal opposition when I disagree with the White House and Congress. I stand against division and hate. On this terrible anniversary and on every day, I stand for America.
She needs me.
|Black Clouds Hovering Over America by John O'Brien|