The polar bears are now swimming for a week to get from one precarious perch in the sea to another and NBC Evening News featured Beyonce and her Lemonade film on Monday night. Refreshing new evidence that our priorities are in order.
MORE LIGHT AND LESS NOISE.
President Lincoln was bothered to death by those persons who boisterously demanded that the War be pushed vigorously; also, those who shouted their advice and opinions into his weary ears, but who never suggested anything practical. These fellows were not in the army, nor did they ever take any interest, in a personal way, in military matters, except when engaged in dodging drafts.
“That reminds me,” remarked Mr. Lincoln one day, “of a farmer who lost his way on the Western frontier. Night came on, and the embarrassments of his position were increased by a furious tempest which suddenly burst upon him. To add to his discomfort, his horse had given out, leaving him exposed to all the dangers of the pitiless storm.
“The peals of thunder were terrific, the frequent flashes of lightning affording the only guide on the road as he resolutely trudged onward, leading his jaded steed. The earth seemed fairly to tremble beneath him in the war of elements. One bolt threw him suddenly upon his knees.
“Our traveler was not a prayerful man, but finding himself involuntarily brought to an attitude of devotion, he addressed himself to the Throne of Grace in the following prayer for his deliverance:
“‘O God! hear my prayer this time, for Thou knowest it is not often that I call upon Thee. And, O Lord! if it is all the same to Thee, give us a little more light and a little less noise.’
“I wish,” the President said, sadly, “there was a stronger disposition manifested on the part of our civilian warriors to unite in suppressing the rebellion, and a little less noise as to how and by whom the chief executive office shall be administered.”
as retold in Project Gutenberg's Lincoln's Yarns and Stories, by Alexander K. McClure
I know everyone has listened to this report with disgust and horror and sadness so informing isn’t my purpose. National Geographic produced a miniseries in 2005/2006 called “Inside 9/11” which was probably the most comprehensive and comprehensible study of the national tragedy. They ended it with the intentions and words of Bin Laden to the effect that he and those like him had no intention to mount a military attack against the United States but that they did intend to wear us down economically.
$3 trillion dollars (and counting), eight years of a Republican regime with a hidden agenda and a silent mainstream press later it would appear he thought it through and ISIS seems to have a copy of his play book. With this difference: You can make more money. The US is good at it. Replacing lives and shattered bodies, not so much. Bin Laden’s other comment had to do with that subject. He explained that our culture was afraid of death and his was not and that was the difference that would allow him to prevail.
It looks like that door is opening as well so maybe we should campaign to change a few of our more beloved policies. Freedom of the Press must be treasured and preserved but when the voracious need to know is providing moving and hapless targets perhaps we should provide protection and limit the number. It’s not admitting defeat, it’s common sense. To do otherwise is admitting stupidity and tunnel vision. Likewise, we should end our reluctance to demand visas from the citizens of our friends, like Great Britain. Our current policy allows them (and citizen/ terrorists) to travel here without in depth investigation of their documents or the purpose of their trip. Friends will understand the reason for changing our policy.
We are not going to reform or reorder or remake every culture we encounter with money or movies or McDonald’s or might. Was Iraq significantly improved by our sojourn there? They don’t want us, like us or need us and the sooner we come to terms with that immutable truth, the sooner we’ll be able to install a meaningful policy, with teeth, to protect our own.