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American Enterprise Bank

Things we haven’t learned since 9/11

Anybody see the interview Sunday evening with former President Bush (2) on National Geographic Channel? The subject was 9/11 and he spent an hour reflecting on what that day was like for him.

It didn’t break a lot of new ground, but the ex-prez has some thoughtful recollections on what must be the most memorable day of his life. He did a good job — and not a Teleprompter in sight.

We’ll be bombarded the next week with “anniversary” telecasts, panels and, yes, newspaper columns on the decade mark of that fateful day. I’ve never met anyone over the age of 15 at the time who doesn’t remember exactly what they were doing when they heard the news. Don’t believe I ever will.

The Bush interview prompted (not teleprompted) me to ruminate on what we have learned since September 11, 2001. Many of us believed in the days following the attack that something good would come out of all that death and destruction. The nation — indeed all the nations of the world that value freedom over barbarism — would have a unity of purpose that in the end will magnify the best.

We didn’t do that so much, did we?

We’re divided more than we were on September 10 of that year. The divisions in our political, cultural and to some extent our religious lives are back with little immediate hope they will recede.

Political correctness, that destroyer of original and critical thinking, has a firmer grip on our institutions. It is stifling thought and limiting our potential as a republic. The obsession with not “offending” smothers  a system where honest dialogue is vital.

Ideological poles (right and left) are more pronounced than they were a decade ago. On the left are political leaders who strive to stay in office by appeasing the “have nots,” a collective monster they have had a hand in creating.

Their man in the White House, the very best they could come up with, is essentially vapor. And he replaced Mr. Bush who, for all his leadership in the wake of September 11, diminished in stature the next seven years.

On the right, leaders spend most of their time and energy placating an increasingly angry constituency that sees the American Dream slipping away. We borrow 40 cents of every dollar spent in Washington, mostly from the Chinese, famous for their “long view” of history. They think beyond the next 15 minutes.

Half our citizens don’t pay taxes to support government institutions, a very dangerous statistic in a representative republic. They’re simply not involved, and the weakened economy is swelling their numbers.

There’s more, but you get the point.

The morning of September 12, 2001, many of us believed America would use its muscle to eradicate seventh-century theocracies fomenting a hatred of western culture so intense that it led to the attack. It would be messy, but necessary.

That didn’t go so well either. Somewhere along the line we got into “nation building” instead of eradication. Nation building?

We have learned something since that day, and it’s that we’re not on the right path if the United States of America is to remain the beacon it’s been for the rest of the world for 200-plus years.

That direction is obvious to anyone with an IQ above their belt or dress size. America needs to pull back from pointless foreign commitments and force other nations to fund their own defense, pull way back on equally pointless social spending that is fashioning a nation of zombies, stop spending more than we take in and resolve to maintain a smaller, more lethal military force whose job it is to eradicate those who would do us harm. No nation building; they can clean up the mess they created.

And political correctness, the kind of drivel that prompted the mayor of New York City to ban references to the deity in the 9/11 observance and has made mush factories out of our education system — please, please — let’s banish it in favor of just behaving with good manners.

That would be a proper legacy of 9/11.

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