Everyone ought to get out of the house once in a while. In fact, it’s an even better idea to get out of the country. In fact, right now I’m thinking of a few politicians who I’d like to see joining Mr. Snowden in exile, but let’s not go there today.
Last week I returned from a fascinating trip to Israel. It was an eight-day immersion in history and current events, and I loved exploring it all with a small group of new friends.
What a tour it was, visiting Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, the Golan Heights (where it was snowing), the Dead Sea, Masada, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Jericho and more. The best gift of all? Perspective. And thankfulness. I felt remarkably safe while they’re, even in areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority and with plenty of armed people around, providing security for all sides.
By the way, memo to Washington, DC bureaucrats: I learned very clearly that fences DO work. Nothing like standing near the wall of security that separates Israel from Syria and contemplating the chaos that is not too far away on the other side, giving thanks for the barriers.
But besides the obvious problems and deadly evildoers in the “neighborhood,” something else bothered me. For the first time in my many world travels over the years I felt a tremendous lack of confidence in my home country. Political correctness has run amok, steady streams of apologies flow from the nation’s capital and there’s an attitude of making our friends around the world feel like enemies . . . all making us less secure, while sending the wrong message to the world.
It’s (to use an overused word these days) “amazing” to see how much weaker the Obama administration appears from overseas, when contrasting the faculty lounge rhetoric with real world threats. I’ve have been in war zones like Afghanistan, China several times, Russia… but no matter when and where, and regardless of who was in the White House I always had a sense of, “No worries, we are the greatest nation on Earth. We’ll be fine”.
These days, I’m not that sure. That is, if the politicians were the only ones in the mix. But they aren’t, thank God. The American people are resilient, and eventually wake up calls come and reason prevails. I just pray it’s not too late one day.
So I stick with Ronald Reagan’s philosophy in the story he often told about the giant manure pile, and the little kid who was digging into it. When asked why, the youngster said, “With all this manure there’s gotta be a pony in here somewhere”.
Time to find the pony, get it to grow up fast and strong, and ride it to round up reinforcements. And fast.
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