October 15, 2005


We Americans have arrived at one of those junctures in our history when the national complacency has finally been punctured. We are no longer insulated by the belief that someone else (our leaders, the intervention of divine agency, a return to better luck, take your pick) will fix things for us.

We have been locked in a war for the very survival of civilization as we know it, yet we are blessed by circumstances that provide us (for the most part) with a state of comfort rarely enjoyed in the rest of the world and never during war time.

Recently, the forces of raw nature have inflicted massive damage on part of our population, effectively destroying a famous city improvidently built mostly below sea level, damaging others, displacing thousands. Measured against the disasters in the rest of the world, this was a small hit.

Yet we were angry because our president was unable to instantly make things better for us. Like spoiled infants, we decided to blame the President of the United States for the state of the weather, the world and the morning news.

While our president’s approval ratings are better by ten points than Harry Truman’s were at a comparable period, W’s own party seems prepared to savage the Commander in Chief just when the going gets tough.

Why do we think we need a Great Leader to get us out of this? What we really need is an executive who is making reasonably good choices on the big things. Well, the president is making reasonable and courageous decisions on the big things. And the little things? They are …. well … little things.

The brutal truth of our situation: we Americans are spoiled because we think we are entitled to leadership as therapy.

It’s never too late to grow up.

The Iraqi people will have two more successful elections this year (today’s will be followed by parliamentary elections) and they will try and convict the homicidal thug who used to rule them for crimes against the people.

Democracy is the new subversive force in the Middle East.

The US economy is remarkably strong. European unemployment approaches depression levels while our economy must import labor to keep up.

As soon as we wake up and decide to behave as adults who live in the real world and accept responsibility for our role in it, our current funk will vanish like sea fog in the desert sun.

America, it’s time to grow up.

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