With any luck, the US will emerge unscathed from the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks—avoiding a repeat of 2012, when terrorists took advantage of Barack Obama’s feckless stewardship to siege the US Embassy in Libya.
Per tradition, I will take a moment on Saturday to remember a time when the country was more united—and when people still looked to Bruce Springsteen for meaning (before The Boss’s long slide into total cultural irrelevance).
Warning: Video contains graphic language and images from Sept. 11, 2001.
My 9/11 reflection last year observed that there was a sense of having moved on beyond this epochal touchstone—that the once visceral emotions had given way to a more detached, historical perspective.
Still—if only for a fleeting moment on a single calendar day—the underlying feelings of magnanimity, empathy and compassion for our compatriots have lingered, even after the dust settled.
In fact, an entire cottage industry now revolves around mining moments of redemption in the face of that unspeakable horror. I must admit that movies like United 93, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Lone Survivor, American Sniper and 13 Hours—all dealing with the events or fallout from 9/11—have a special way of tugging on the heart strings.
Sadly, the shocking snap-back under the Biden administration to a pre-9/11 position of global vulnerability and national insecurity has left many heads reeling.
In the wake of a President Joe Biden’s disastrous withdrawal from Kabul, we now have at least 13 new American heroes (and scores of innocent Afghanis) to mourn and remember among the running tally of 9/11-related casualties.
With that in mind, the uplifting morals—the silver linings I have often sought to cull from my ambivalent mix of emotions about the 9/11 terrorist attacks—have been harder to come by this year.
But, at the risk of forgetting our solemn duty to respect and revere the occasion, one theme to glean from it all may be the importance of heeding the unintended consequences of our actions and inactions.
Years of relative peace and tranquility abroad—even while domestic turmoil rages—have lulled a new generation into a sense of false complacency, blinded to the existential threats that America constantly faces from within and without.
While Islamic terrorism helped rally the country around the flag 20 years ago, the US landscape has now changed for the worse, creating vulnerabilities within our own borders that pose, arguably, a greater threat than any al-Qaeda– or ISIS-linked groups.
America’s enemies know full well that they can use democracy’s own weaknesses against it to indoctrinate US citizens and effectively vote the nation into extinction—and the process is well underway with the current Biden administration.
Just as nation-building in Afghanistan was, undoubtedly, a function of American hubris during the George W. Bush administration, the radical Left’s efforts to “re-imagine” and transform all aspects of American life are eventually doomed to fail.
But for how long?
The growing push-back against indoctrination into these radical, Marxist worldviews is now taking many forms:
- a grassroots, parent-led movement to effect change at local school boards
- a newfound resolve among GOP-led legislatures and other state leaders to close loopholes in their laws
- the determination from right-wing journalism outfits like Project Veritas to expose the shadowy corruption hiding in plain sight within our ranks
Yet there continues to be a subversive, under-the-radar campaign to manipulate public thought and, in particular, to brainwash the nation’s young people.
THE HIVE MINDSET
Here, leftists have been able to leverage one of their greatest strengths—collectivism—by tapping into the need for impressionable, young minds to forge their own identities through social relationships.
Groupthink has allowed radical forces on the Left to cover up all manner of sins. They don’t need to have truth or rectitude on their side as long as they have paid protestors and megaphones loud enough to drown out the facts.
Conservative efforts to respond in kind are far less effective, given the Left’s ability to circle the wagons and cut their losses for the sake of the cause. Dare to speak out and you risk losing your social status, your reputation or worse.
I experienced this recently in a fantasy-football group after calling out someone’s leftist social-media advocacy last year. That led to a heated debate and ad-hominem attacks, prompting me, in part, to leave the group and step away from my longtime “commissioner” role.
In the end, none of it was worth anything. Nobody was the wiser or better for the exchange. But ultimately, I was forced to apologize or be shunned for openly daring to challenge the leftist dogma.
The sad part was, at least half of this group supported me politically.
PAYING THE PIPER
One of the most intriguing and enigmatic figures in European folklore is the Pied Piper of Hamelin.
Legend has it that he was unassuming person of low regard (hence, his motley outfit) who was hired to solve a civic problem—the city’s vermin infestation. But after being mistreated by the townsfolk, he wound up luring away all of Hamelin’s children, as well.
There is some historical basis for the story, although differing facts may lead to differing conclusions about how to interpret it.
Clearly, though, the message is never to take one’s own sense of power, authority or righteousness for granted.
There is an inherent risk in assuming that reason and consensus—two of the cornerstones of democracy—will prevail in perpetuity.
Desperate and subversive forces will always find a way if we are not actively guarding our values and principles with the same fiery resolve as we did on 9/12.
The Islamic fundamentalists who plotted and supported 9/11 discovered that there was a heavy price for their actions. However, for two decades they remained, waiting in the wings for another chance to balance the ledger.
The Left’s efforts to impose their worldviews are beginning, likewise, to unravel under their own folly. But if America does succeed in digging itself out, the success of their socialist coup attempt is a cautionary tale for freedom-loving citizens to be ever-vigilant.
Otherwise, the enemy may rear its head when we least expect it, ready—like the Pied Piper—to lure our posterity into the abyss.
In response to the new set of circumstances we now face, I am revising my 9/11 tradition.
I may continue to seek the cathartic release that comes with reliving and retelling the national trauma of that fateful Tuesday in 2001.
But to that I will add a viewing of Reagan’s famous 1967 inaugural speech and his 1964 RNC Convention speech, to be reminded always of how precarious a situation it is trying to uphold and maintain our inalienable rights under constant threat of assault.