So good does still come from evil — and patriotism, in the best sense of the word, is what we got. Thanks to an egotistical leader of “a microscopic cult of idiots,” leaders from all sides of the political aisles spent the week fulminating against burning someone else’s scripture. Media figures shone their spotlights on this evil, that it might wither, as evil does best, under the glare. Non-Muslims have made a point of opening their own Q’rans, and finding readings they can use in this morning’s worship. Liberal religious scripture societies are offering Q’rans alongside Bibles, for sale or distribution. One in five of us Americans might believe that our president is a Muslim, but our real grievance seems to be that he’s not doing enough for the economy. How long has it been since I have heard so much talk about the real American way, the way of tolerance and leaving each other to worship in peace and freedom? Utopian dreamers will argue that there is still dissent against that Islamic Center going up near Ground Zero — but that is not the majority view now, and in the long run, theocracy-based opposition will not best the First Amendment.
As if to underscore the nature of this core value, President Obama praised his precedessor by name for making similar statements even as the World Trade Center and Pentagon burned and fell. And what of that shadow in the earth of Shanksville, PA, where the heroic passengers of United 93 took down their own plane, rather than crash passively into one of the nation’s most hallowed shrines of democracy (White House or Capitol, either one irreplaceable in their symbolism)? To avoid stealing the spotlight, or making a statement that could be construed as political, George W. Bush and Barack Hussein Obama dispatched their more-popular-than-their-husbands wives to make a joint appearance of praise and thanksgiving. Wives: symbols of home and love. Mothers: symbols of nurture and comfort. Women: symbols of peace and justice.
It is fashionable on the far left to scorn patriotism as a shell, a hollow loyalty. This week, nothing could have been farther from the truth.