Enough About Them, How About Us?
Common Sense – Chapter 4; Part 4
The American people are like the suckers in the horror movie who always seem to do the stupid thing while the audience is shouting, Don’t open that door, don’t go there! But for a short time, we actually listen. We didn’t open that door and instead we remembered who we really are.
September 11, 2001, changed us a country. Do you remember the lines filled with Americans who wanted to donate blood—even though none was needed? Do you remember that the following Sunday’s football games were postponed, that the late-night comedians deferred their jokes, and that even trial lawyers respected a self-imposed moratorium on terrorist-related lawsuits?
After 9/11 we began to remember our heritage and the power of sacrifice. We returned to our churches, synagogues, and mosques. We reconnected with our neighbors, our friends, our families. Four months after those attacks, 61 percent of us believed our country had changed for the better.
But shortsighted politicians, professors, businessmen, and other “experts” who saw America as a giant shopping mall didn’t like the changes. If people were getting to know each other again, they couldn’t be buying stuff. And if people stopped buying stuff, then the whole Ponzi scheme would collapse far sooner than those experts had expected.
The same television executives who have filled our sets with acts of violence, murder, and sex took the video of the planes crashing into the towers off the air because they were too “offensive” or “painful” for most people to bear.
It was another lie—but it worked. We stopped thinking about 9/11 and how fragile our freedom is and instead we followed President Bush’s advice to spend money and “Get down to Disney World in Florida… Take your families and enjoy life, the way we want it to be enjoyed.”
The result is that about only 21% of us now believe our country is better off today than it was before September 11. We’ve gone back to being September 10 people—our heads are once again buried in the sand and our hands are out, waiting for the next entitlement paid with “free government money.”
California is a prime example of that. Their budget went from $75 billion to $145 billion in about ten years—a 92% increase in state spending. Then their house of cards came crashing down. California was short about $42 billion on their last budget, yet they still won’t do the commonsense things to get back on track, like lifting restrictions on offshore oil drilling. In fact, they’re doing the opposite—using the same kind of financial schemes that got them into the mess to get out of it. Their latest act of genius is to sell bonds to themselves—something that is akin to borrowing money from your wife. If they won’t sacrifice for themselves, why should the rest of the country sacrifice for them?
We are once again living in days that will “try men’s souls”; days that will be remembered by historians are great and perilous. But how will history remember us? Will we be remembered as the heroes of our time or as those who lost that which was most precious in order to satiate our own desires and appetites?