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Attorney General John Ashcroft, in his defense of anti-terror tactics to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Dec. 6, unwittingly reproached himself while only restating the predominant attitude in America today. It is one dominated by traits that have weakened fortitude in these United States since my father's "Great Generation" led us to a position of world leadership.
This attitude is best referenced contrarily by the perspicacious American poet William Blake when he spoke of the "Giants who built our world." American ancestors became giants leveraged in faith. The architectural wonders, the engineering feats, our symbiotic society and even our Constitution's durability we inherit having been created and forged by men with a "firm belief" - a "Faith!"- in the goal of seeking a good greater than personal gain.
Serving a "greater good" had our nation thriving in optimistic faith. A "firm and concentrated belief" that, whatever the project, we (not "I" or "you" but "we") could overcome and resolve all obstacles hindering success. From constructing the nation's network of railroads and highways or building expansive bridges like the Brooklyn and Golden Gate to working the New Deal or needing to amend our Constitution only 17 times in 225 years, we succeeded with faith in our serving something greater than ourselves. These things could only be accomplished, however, when we worked together and trusted our neighbors were serving the same good ultimately, we all are!
"E Pluribus Unum" (Many as One) was built upon a faith founded in a "God We Trust (which does not denote only the God of Christianity, or Judaism, or Islam, or Buddhism, or Hinduism, it just means serving any just and good Power greater than any of us). Living in fear of our neighbors or associates the real evil in the world - as Mr. Ashcroft would have us do, lacks the courage and bravery that has made our nation great. Quite the irony too, for his boss, the president, heralds that citizens must go about our business and consume without fear. (Is he asking that we all become schizophrenic?)
Further, with half going on a million laid-off because of supplier fears, what would the Bush administration have us do, spend into deeper debt? I try not to let anyone "squeeze my turnips!"
Faithless and discouraged voters will destroy our freedom quicker and more resolutely than any terrorist network. Citizens of America must unite in our common struggle! Not for anything as superficial as the economy - which in reality is a thing upon which only the wealthiest of us "survives" - but out of a faith that we can do anything in which we believe!
John S. Sonin