The truth, which is indestructible, has a way of accumulating against pride and arrogance, and then sweeping them from its path. Mark Helprin, The Wall Street Journal, January 23, 1998
A couple of years ago in the Wall Street Journal, Opinion, Peggy Noonan’s article, Word of the Decade: ‘Unsustainable’ as well as Mark Helprin’s Memorial Day Beyond Stone and Steel, caused me to recollect Mr. Helprin’s well penned axiom on arrogance. For within America there is a reckoning force building up across our country, a counter-force to the political abandonment of those values that have sustained our nation. The “big sweep” is coming!
Ms. Noonan declared, “Some of the politicians talking about how to stop the spending crisis are the same politicians who, for many years, said there was no crisis. They’re like the forest creatures who denied there was a fire when everyone else could smell the smoke and hear the crackle. Then the flames roar in, and the politicians say, ‘Follow me. I know the path out of the blaze!’ It will be hard for them to win the trust that will get the American people to back a path out and through.”
Mr. Helpren, in his article avowed: “We will fail to assure the national security…if our political leaders, very few of whom have studied much less know war, commit our troops promiscuously in service to tangential ideology, with scatterbrained objectives, and without what Winston Churchill called the ‘continual stress of soul’ necessary for proper decision. This cannot be accomplished in the absence of resolution, vigilance and sacrifice.”
Almost 40 years ago as a young Second Lieutenant, at the Marine Corps Basic School, we all were admonished to, “LEAD, FOLLOW, or GET OUT OF THE WAY!” Our politicians have chosen none of these options. America is without leadership. Congress is broken and America is broke.
Yet “truth” is beginning to accumulate against the narcissism and pomposity of too many in our government. And this “truth” is no less than the determined, indomitable, and even gritty spirit of the American people; the hard working tax-paying citizens who are straining to protect and defend the American dream for themselves and the next generation.
Our all-volunteer military marches bravely into the battle, as they have sacrificially done so for over two centuries. On this Memorial Day, some will join the “stone and steel” resting place of Arlington. Other citizens are volunteering in disaster areas like Joplin, Missouri and the tornado disaster states of Oklahoma, Tennessee and Alabama, all helping to comfort and repair lives forever affected by the catastrophes. Americans have always volunteered throughout the world, because that is the character of America.
America desperately is calling for citizen-volunteers, who unlike our politicians, actually “smell the smoke and hear the crackle” of economic catastrophe and calamity of continual wars. Many are leaving their homes and jobs to volunteer as well, charging into a fortress well ensconced and sheltered by the career politicians. Citizens who have never engaged in a campaign for public office are “suiting up” for battle. The attack on the walls of pride and arrogance is beginning again.
John G. Brunner