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Jewish World Review Sept. 24, 2001 / 7 Tishrei, 5762

Betsy Hart

Betsy Hart
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I've never been prouder to be an American -- IN a recent column written after the horrific terrorist assaults on our country, I questioned whether Americans had the "guts" to now fight the kind of protracted war that would have to be fought to rid us of the evil of terrorism. I wondered about our President's ability to lead us, and criticized his performance in the early hours after the assaults.

My question has been answered - we do have the guts. In fact, it appears I wholly underestimated the American people and our President. (Readers were only too happy to point out these shortcomings to me!)

Many times I've written about the corruption of our culture by self-styled elites, a dangerous decline of moral values, religious commitment, and character in our society, and a creeping and destructive relativism. I'd often wondered if those things had so weakened the fabric of our society that we would no longer be able to withstand a national calamity like the Great Depression, WWII, or something like these terrorist attacks.

But while I don't for a minute minimize the assault our culture has withstood from within, it does appear indeed that we have withstood it. That the best in America, meaning patriotism, answering the call to service and sacrifice, and that unity that we share as Americans whatever creed or color, has even triumphed. In the wake of this terrible tragedy, the finest instincts have come to the fore and the worst - from those who preach class warfare, racial, ethnic and gender divisiveness, who try to stand against G-d --- those folks have been silenced or largely marginalized. In fact, this act of terrorism could be one of the worst things to ever happen to America's Left.

Because we are all Americans now. The pulling together has been astounding. The lack of partisan bickering, the lack of a balkanized response to the horror, has been extraordinary. Unlike in almost every recent major news event, "Chandra," "Elian," "Monica" "O.J." there is no "woman's" view or "response of blacks" or polling to find out what Hispanics think - to date, anyway, we're all in this together as Americans in a way that transcends all other differences. No, this is not good for the future of liberalism in the United States.

Oh there are the absurd cases, of course. The Committee for the Freedom From Religion Foundation had the amazing gall to denounce the national day of mourning and prayer which the President declared. But that's seen by almost everyone of good will in America as an outrageous, if disquieting, joke. Likewise there have been the occasional Leftist demonstrations and denunciations of America's warmongering, but now these too seem little more than a relic of a distant past.

The giving spirit, the money pouring in to help the victims, the caring that Americans have shown to one another in these recent days, the flags everywhere, the resolve, the faith and pride in this marvelous country and most of all the unity that has positively erupted from coast to coast has shown that we Americans are made of pretty fine stuff. I, for one, wasn't sure if that "right stuff," to borrow a phrase, was still there. But I've been shown now that it is -- I should never have doubted it in the first place -- and I'm utterly convinced that that "right stuff" will serve us well in the long days ahead.

America could well come out of this stronger, and better, and more united than ever. And that would be quite a rejoinder to the terrorists who apparently thought their evil acts of destruction could actually destroy us.

JWR contributor Betsy Hart, a frequent commentator on CNN and the Fox News Channel, can be reached by clicking here.


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© 2001, Scripps Howard News Service