In my continuing review of bumper stickers I saw one yesterday that said, “You cannot win a war any more than you can win an earthquake.” Leaving aside the silliness of this comparison, it can be used to make a point quite different than the bumper sticker owner intended. You can react to an earthquake by meeting the challenge and rebuilding or you can sit amidst the debris and complain about how terrible earthquakes are. Similarly, you can react to war by meeting the challenge and fighting for what you believe in or you can sit amidst the debris and complain about how terrible war is.
The little old lady driving the car with the bumper sticker had a second bumper sticker to tell us where she stands: “I’m already against the next war.” Knee-jerk liberalism has morphed into mindless pacifism.
Bookworm sometimes sounds as if she thinks leftists want to destroy America. For the most part, I disagree. If you talked to the little old lady with the bumpers, I’ll bet you find that she loves America very much. She just wants an America that is so decent, so downright nice, that the rest of the world will not be able to avoid responding in kind. The scary thing is that a growing number of Americans believe this is a practical approach to the world. The truth, of course, is that much of the world would laugh in delight at the little old lady’s bumper stickers, seeing them as announcements of America’s weakness and ultimate demise. Much of the world would happily encourage America to be nice, and decent and soft, the better to destroy America.
What worries me is that if 9/11 didn’t demonstrate to these folks the foolishness of mindless pacifism, if dozens of terrorist acts around the world didn’t do it, if the foiled threat to blow up airplanes didn’t do it, if open declarations of jihad didn’t do it, what will? To what dire depths must America fall before the eternally optimistic little old ladies will realize what a dangerous world we live it?
I love that little old lady and I love America. America has an optimistic, loving, caring, generous heart. But these are times that require hard-headed realism, not soft-hearted wishful thinking. I fear America will listen to its heart, not its head. And I fear for America.