It’s getting hard to recall when Americans weren’t hysterical. When once we admired the tall, quiet, western hero — soft-spoken and brave, but slow to anger, devoted to justice. Not brash, boastful, or reckless.
It’s getting hard to recall when Americans were the good guys (at least in the movies) and not just heavily armed wannabes. The movie good guys finished a lot of fights, but started few. You had to push them, hard, before they fought back, but then only with good reason and right clearly on their side. No question.
It’s getting hard to recall a time when the only thing we had to fear was fear itself. A time when a confident America refused to be terrorized. Now (as Digby noted yesterday), conservative pundits stare out of TV screens as if reading from a badly written, made-for-TV script and sternly warn an America already armed to the teeth, “You need to be afraid.” It’s just what ISIS wants (along with Glock, Smith & Wesson, Ruger, Heckler & Koch, and Colt Industries). And like the Eloi entranced, Americans again trudge numbly down to the gun store.
It’s getting hard to recall when Americans weren’t so jumpy that they’d go to guns with any stranger over a perceived threat, over any noise in the night (maybe a daughter), and with any actor, state or stateless, who looks at us sideways on the street, because Omigod! American leaders — trained police too — weren’t that easily rattled. Politicians didn’t stare wildly out of TV screens and rave about the gates of hell being unleashed and terrorists coming to kill us in our beds. Those were the poseurs, the weak-kneed, movie bureaucrats we cheered to see finally humiliated and deposed in Act 3 when the real hero stepped in. The one with a quiet strength who could keep his/her cool and act, not react.
The jumpiness smacks of an empire in decline, bereft of self-confidence, desperate to prove to itself through bombing something that it’s still got it. It says more about us than about our adversaries.
And it’s getting hard to recall a time America wasn’t at war with Whomeva.”