I was trying to put my finger on why some Americans have forgotten, or discounted to a certain degree, that we are at war with radical Islam; more accurately, radical Islam is at war with us. Former President Bush called it a War on Terror and resolved to make those who attacked America accountable regardless of where they hid or who helped them hide.
President Obama changed the national perspective with a simple alteration of terms; from “terrorist attack” to “man-caused disaster” and “global war on terror” was downgraded to “Overseas Contingency Operation”. Snap your fingers and just like that the war was over; that simple? War, what war? Had we known all we had to do was change the classification or terminology and, with the snap of our fingers, think how many lives would have been saved during that Overseas Contingency Operation with Japan.
There are reminders of the ongoing conflict; just go to the airport and pass through security set up to stop potential terrorists. Perhaps airport security is a poor choice since most travelers consider these measures invasive government policies, our government declaring war on its own citizens rather than preventative measures in time of war. Even the video clip on the side of my blog has become “invisible” over the years. I mentally ignore the Twin Towers being attacked with smoke billowing across the skyline as they crumble to the ground; why is that?
Do you remember the eerie silence in the skies above us following 9/11, when you looked up and noticed there weren’t any commercial aircraft transporting folks from city to city? Our awareness of being attacked was fresh on our minds and in our hearts; we knew we were at war. Life goes on and many of us hardly remember how still the skies were. See, there goes another flight headed for the airport; all is well.
Our fire fighters and police officers go about their business each day and go home to their families. Every now and then a serious issue takes the life of one; but nothing like that horrible day so long ago when the Twin Towers came crashing down on brave individuals trying to evacuate hundreds of terrified workers. War; what war?
There are all kinds of cycles; the most familiar is where Summer follows Spring, followed by Autumn and then Winter. Little children know day follows night and night follows day; the sun in the morning and the moon at night .
Then there are long term cycles which explain generational shifts; one of these is called the Prosperity Cycle. M. Russell Ballard explained it in plain language during a talk he gave at General Conference, Learning the Lessons of the Past , printed in the Ensign, May 2009.
“There is a famous saying attributed to George Santayana. You’ve probably heard it: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”… There are great lessons to be learned from the past, and you ought to learn them so that you don’t exhaust your spiritual strength repeating past mistakes and bad choices.”
“You don’t have to be a Latter-day Saint—you don’t even have to be religious—to see the repeating pattern of history in the lives of God’s children as recorded in the Old Testament. Time and again we see the cycle of righteousness followed by wickedness. Similarly, the Book of Mormon records that ancient civilizations of this continent followed exactly the same pattern: righteousness followed by prosperity, followed by material comforts, followed by greed, followed by pride, followed by wickedness and a collapse of morality until the people brought calamities upon themselves sufficient to stir them up to humility, repentance, and change.”
There are others who’ve shared similar observations. Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at The University of Edinburgh, remarked regarding the Fall of the Athenian Republic:
“A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship.”
“The average age of the worlds greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:
From Bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage.”
Many of our “non-participating” citizens are hooked on government entitlements and have lost the vision of our founders. I call them non-participating because they would rather have someone else do the work or someone else earn their keep rather than put forth the required effort afforded free men and women. They spend treasured votes making sure to elect representatives who provide a continuation of those entitlements, a self imposed form of bondage. These folks, long since departed from the American “can do spirit”, aren’t interested in whether or not radical Islam intends to eradicate our way of life as long as their dependency check arrives on time each month.
In my own irrepressible form of optimism, I believe America has at its core a sufficient number of citizens filled with great faith and courage as demonstrated by the Tea Party movement. We have it within ourselves to press forward with the fight for liberty and to restart the engines of industry which have been languishing in despair. Radical Islam can never have power over a righteous America built on correct principles of self government as long as we acknowledge where our strength comes from; our obedience to God.
Maybe I shouldn’t have tested my bum knee, climbing carefully up the extension ladder as I hung the American Flag; it’s barking at me now. That singular effort, making sure the American Flag was placed across the entrance to my house has become a necessary reminder, not only to me; but a proclamation to anyone passing by that I haven’t forgotten what happened on 9/11. The displayed American Flag represents our resolve to stand for all that is right and honorable.
We don’t need to be burning the Koran as a symbolic gesture against radical Islam; no, all we need is the American spirit burning in our hearts. We stand for a nation, established by God and the inalienable individual rights He offers all our citizens; life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. May we honor our commitment to freedom through our obedience to the commandments God has given us is my prayer this sacred day, in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal , a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.