The nation is unhappy.
This is an anniversary date on which we should remember the evil that was enacted upon us and the justice we brought to the world. Instead we find that many do not remember (because they were not taught) and the evil is closing in on us once again.
The president tried to turn that mood around last night and failed, utterly. My Facebook and Twitter feeds are full of memories and disappointments. Hugh Hewitt rounds up just a small sampling of the disappointed reaction to the president last night.
No wonder we are unhappy.
Much of the failure of this administration lies in its inability, perhaps unwillingness, to recognize some essential tenets of the American character. These tenets are deeply rooted in Christianity; they are in large part what makes us a Christian nation. I can hear The Left screaming charges of “theocracy” right now. Nonsense , this is not about theology in any serious fashion. Those of us on The Right look at the moral/social place we find ourselves and wonder if we really are a Christian nation anymore. I would argue that in many important ways we still are.
Americans recognize evil when they see it. Christianity recognizes evil when it sees it. We don’t parse it, we don’t split hairs, we name it for what it is. In order to fight it, you have to look it square in the eye and recognize it. We believe evil can be redeemed, but generally there is a penance to achieve that redemption. Without the penance, we can never be sure the evil will not return. This is not theological (Evangelicals and Catholics will argue eternally about the role of penance) this is practical. Practically speaking you do bad, you suffer consequences so I can know you have learned not to do bad again. You don’t renounce the bad, the consequences keep coming. This president truly does not get that.
Americans worry about more than just themselves. Christians are commanded to do this. Few passages galled me more in the president’s address last night than this one, “American power can make a decisive difference, but we cannot do for Iraqis what they must do for themselves,….” In other words, “Not my problem, really.” That is remarkably self-centered, even selfish. In the preceding paragraph of the speech was this gem, “While we have not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland,….” In other words, “Evil does not really matter unless you perpetrate it on me.” Well, you know, we weren’t gassing Jews here in America way back in the day, so why did we bother with Europe? It was the Japanese that hit Pearl. We fought in Europe because it was the right thing to do. But then if the president cannot recognize evil, then he cannot really recognize “right” either.
Americans die for others, we do not ask others to die for us. That, dear friends, is the heart of Christianity. While Obama committed an entire additional 475 troops to non-combatant roles, John Kerry bragged about the “40 nation coalition.” (Talk about herding cats!) Inherent in every action taken and proposed by the president is an effort not to spend American lives. No one wants to see an American die, but it is honorable and good, even Godly, when they die in defense of what is right – in the destruction of evil. But then again, you have to recognize evil to get that.
No wonder we are unhappy.
But we will not stay unhappy for long. Americans hope, and Christianity is the source of our hope. We will get through this, and eventually we will be accorded the opportunity to rebuild this great nation and to put evil back into its dark places. Despite this administrations best efforts, we remain rooted in our hope in the ways I have just described and so many more.
We will be happy again.