The Sky Is Falling!

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I’m
trying to picture John Wayne fleeing the Capitol like Henny Penny
because a small plane has been sighted 15 miles away.

I
have a better imagination than most people. Bumps in the night?
I can come up with three or four scary scenarios on the spur of
the moment. Husband an hour late? Ditto. But John Wayne giving in
to fear – and, worse, showing it? That I just can't imagine.

Instead
I see him swaggering down those monumental steps in front of the
Capitol. He briefly scans the sky while a wimp in a uniform squawks,
“Run, run! This is for real!” The Duke hardly spares him a glance.
“Son,” he says, legs planted wide and clearly going nowhere, “go
find yer mommy. Ya need yer nose wiped.”

Whatever
happened to that vaunted American virtue, courage? It seems to have
disappeared along with manliness, self-reliance, and pride. We used
to be people who laughed at threats, who never ran no matter what.
Heck, we used to look for trouble. Nathan Hale sassed the
Redcoats before they hanged him. Daniel Boone had to rescue his
daughter from Indians because he'd refused to leave Kentucky after
they killed his son. Jim Bowie, Davy Crockett, et al. had plenty
of time to evacuate the Alamo before Santa Anna attacked, but they’d
sooner die than run.

And
it wasn’t enough to be brave. One tried for insouciance, too. The
biggest heroes always joked and laughed while flirting with death.
The graver the danger, the faster the jests flew. Ben Franklin quipped
that the Signers had better hang together, or they would assuredly
hang separately. Butch Cassidy bantered with the Sundance Kid while
loading their revolvers for the final showdown with the Mexican
army. (“DOS?” the captain asks in disbelief as his company
scampers into place. “Dos hombres?” Yep. All that for two
men – because they’re not just men, they’re Americans.)

Now,
2 guys in a 1500-lb plane make the entire District of Columbia quake
like a bunch of weenies.

It’s
refreshing, in a perverse sort of way, to see the jelly Our Rulers
are made of. Maybe Americans will finally wake up to the fact that
these cowards can’t conquer their own fears, let alone the deficit
or The Plague of Underage Drinking. But it’s getting old. They ran
from anthrax, they run from abandoned suitcases. Anyone who isn’t
wearing pinstripes and a rep-stripe tie while gazing at the White
House a tad too intently sets their craven hearts fluttering. It’s
ridiculously easy to scare these fools: just cackle off-key when
the president’s motorcade passes.

You’d
think senators and Supreme Court justices, big boys all, would be
ashamed to flee in front of the whole country. You’d think a couple
of unarmed pilots would hardly merit tackling by 6 armed goons (on
camera – God knows how many Ninjas actually surrounded the dos
hombres out of camera range). You’d think at least a few of
the goons would show some sporting instinct by refusing to gang
up against two middle-aged pilots. Maybe they’d even joke with the
pilots about asking for directions the next time. Instead, they
wrestled them to the ground and handcuffed them, as though these
fellows were actually dangerous instead of lost.

“We
have to remember that we are a nation at war,” said Scott McClellan,
the White House stooge – I mean, spokesman. “And there are
still people that seek to do harm to the United States and seek
to carry out attacks on the United States.” Duh, Scott. That’s what
happens when you invade other countries and bomb the little bit
of infrastructure they’d managed to accumulate. You might want to
dig out your copy of the Constitution – you have one, right?
– and see what it says about situations like this.

And,
while you’re at it, find yer mommy. Yer nose needs wiped.

May
14, 2005

Becky
Akers [send her mail] writes
primarily about the American Revolution.

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