Thursday, July 19, 2007

"What this country needs"

Published by Real Clear Politics - July 13, 2007

"What this country needs", according to some of our friends on the political left, "is a uniter, not a divider." Someone (obviously a Democratic president) who will bring this country together and put an end to congressional partisan bickering. Someone who will "reach across the aisle" to their political opponents in order to "get something done."

As reasonable as this sounds, this is exactly what we don't need. What we do need is a strong decisive leader, someone who will have the courage to lead this country through these perilous times without recourse to the latest polls or concern for his or her personal popularity. Someone in the tradition of Washington. Lincoln or Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

The most important issue facing us today is not congressional unity, but the growing threat of Islamofascism. Whether we like it or not, we are at war, at war with an enemy who has made its intentions toward us crystal clear. While we, in order to more precisely define our enemy, endlessly dither over legalistic semantics, they simply say, "Death to the infidel!" And we, my friends, are the infidel.

Democracies by their very nature dislike going to war. But does anyone seriously believe that we would have been better off remaining an English colony? Or that this country should have turned a blind eye to slavery? Or that somehow, if he had conquered England, Hitler would have been content to stop there and not threaten the United States? Understandably, traditional Western democracies prefer to sit down with their opponents and discuss the issues in a gentlemanly manner. Unfortunately, our enemies seldom play by the same rules. Tolerant liberalism is a good method for dealing with tolerant liberals, but a disastrous method for dealing with intolerant radicals.

Even before America had actually become a nation, there were anti-war movements. Surprisingly, according to eminent historian David Mucullough in his book "1776", two-thirds of the American colonists were against the War for Independence. Before 1861, the North was deeply divided over the prospects of going to war with the South. There were numerous anti-war demonstrations, violent anti-draft riots and several presidential assassination attempts -- one of which was, of course, successful. Prior to our entry into World War II, the United States was deeply isolationist, and several anti-war organizations denounced Roosevelt as a warmonger who, according to the highly-vocal America First Committee, was "lying to the American public" in order to bring the nation into an unwanted and in their view, unnecessary war.
Many people hated George Washington. Many people hated Abraham Lincoln. And, God knows, a lot of people hated FDR. But today, we commemorate their successes and honor their unwavering leadership.

A great leader does not strive to attain consensus but, rather, persuades us -- however difficult and frightening it may be -- to honestly face up to our challenges and somehow gives us the courage to do the right thing.

We can only hope that such a leader emerges before the 2008 presidential elections.

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