Tags: Words | Live

Words To Live By

Monday, 11 November 2002 12:00 AM

We knew all along that Americans believe in our president. They admire him, they respect him and, most of all, Americans trust George W. Bush.

Now back to those who are in denial. Since Election Day the Democratic spin has been that President Bush was successful in making the election a referendum on homeland security and war with Iraq and that's why the Republicans made historic gains in the House and have retaken control of the Senate. They say that the president unfairly portrayed the Democrats as being anti-war and anti-homeland security. I say that if the shoe fits ...

It's a fact that most Democrats in the House voted against the president's bill authorizing military action against Iraq. It's also a fact that the Democratic leadership in the Senate has held up the president's version of homeland security legislation. Therefore, there was nothing "unfair" about telling it like it is.

However, a little thing like the truth isn't going to stop those who need to rationalize away what really happened in order to come up with something that sounds acceptable to their own ears. The truth is that the Democrats in the House are about to redefine themselves as a party by electing Nancy Pelosi as minority leader.

Nancy Pelosi is a San Francisco liberal, who is as far left as her city is on the map of the United States. Nancy Pelosi voted against the resolution on Iraq. She's against the extension of welfare reform. She's against the president's tax cuts. She voted no on the homeland security bill.

She also reportedly defended the trio of Democrats who went to Iraq several weeks ago and blasted President Bush while standing in Baghdad. Need I say more about Ms. Pelosi and the state of the Democratic Party?

Since the Democrats don't seem capable of fixing their Election Day woes, only capable of making them worse, allow me to take all of us back to a time and place where those on both sides of the aisle were in total agreement with President Bush. At least it looked that way at the time.

Sept. 20, 2001: A mere nine days after the Sept. 11 attacks on our nation. At 9 p.m. President Bush enters the House chamber to address a joint session of Congress. From the well of the chamber he delivers what will surly be remembered as one of the most moving, forceful and brilliantly delivered speeches in our great history.

I think that we all need to take a look back and revisit some of what the president said on that night. I believe that it's important for Democrats and Republicans alike to see and hear those words again and again.

"Tonight we are a country awakened to danger and called to defend freedom. Our grief has turned to anger, and anger to resolution. Whether we bring our enemies to justice, or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done."

Bush went on: "On September 11th, enemies of freedom committed an act of war against our country. Americans have known wars, but for the past 136 years, they have been wars on foreign soil – except for one Sunday in 1941.

"Americans have known the casualties of war – but not at the center of a great city on a peaceful morning. Americans have known surprise attacks – but never before on thousands of civilians. All of this was brought upon us in a single day – and night fell on a different world, a world where freedom itself is under attack."

Bush was interrupted by thunderous applause 32 times for words like these: "The war on terror begins with al-Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.

"These terrorists kill not merely to end lives, but to disrupt and end a way of life. With every atrocity, they hope that America grows fearful, retreating from the world and forsaking our friends. They stand against us, because we stand in their way.

"Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success. We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism.

"Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.

"... But the only way to defeat terrorism as a threat to our way of life is to stop it, eliminate it, and destroy it where it grows.

"Americans are asking: What is expected of us? I ask you to live your lives, and hug your children. I know many citizens have fears tonight, and I ask you to be calm and resolute, even in the face of a continuing threat."

The president finished up this most memorable moment in our lives with the last of his 2,990 words on that night: "Great harm has been done to us. We have suffered great loss. And in our grief and anger we have found our mission and our moment. Freedom and fear are at war. The advance of human freedom – the great achievement of our time, and the great hope of every time – now depends on us. Our nation – this generation – will lift a dark threat of violence from our people and our future. We will rally the world to this cause by our efforts, by our courage. We will not tire, we will not falter and we will not fail.

"I will not forget this wound to our country or those who inflicted it. I will not yield; I will not rest; I will not relent in waging this struggle for freedom and security for the American people. The course of this conflict is not yet known, yet its outcome is certain. Freedom and fear, justice and cruelty, have always been at war, and we know that God is not neutral between them.

"Fellow citizens, we will meet violence with patient justice – assured of the rightness of our cause, and confident of the victories to come. In all that lies before us, may God grant us wisdom, and may He watch over the United States of America."

When George W. Bush finished his speech to the nation, we were one. Democrats and Republicans alike, groping to get a shot at shaking the president's hand. Tom Daschle gave the president a big bear hug. All were in agreement with what they heard that night. Or so we thought.

What is it that has changed from Sept. 20, 2001? What is it that motivated Daschle in the Senate and the Democrats in the House to pull back much of their unconditional love for what the president said on that night? What is it that turned them from supporters to obstructionists?

Maybe we should ask Nancy Pelosi once she takes over the minority leadership in the House. Better yet, maybe we should ask Ms. Pelosi to read George W. Bush's address from 9/20/01. Maybe it will mean something to her. That is, if it ever really meant anything to her and those on the hard left the first time that they heard it.

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We knew all along that Americans believe in our president. They admire him, they respect him and, most of all, Americans trust George W. Bush. Now back to those who are in denial. Since Election Day the Democratic spin has been that President Bush was successful in...
Monday, 11 November 2002 12:00 AM
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