Like many in our current economy, yours truly finds himself doing extracurricular things to bring in the daily bread while occasionally bemoaning the necessity of doing so. It was in the course of carrying out one such task that an ordinary commercial interaction on a Sunday afternoon turned into a deeply moving experience.
It couldn’t have come at a better time. The news during the three days preceding this encounter was particularly rough on those of us who understand who has made us, what has come before us, and our obligation to do what we can to make things better for those who will follow us.
Three days earlier, American soldiers were massacred on American soil by a supposed comrade. By Sunday, a maddening, reality-denying, excuse-making exercise in political correctness that should frighten anyone interested in our country’s long-term survival was already unfolding. We’ve subsequently learned that the evil jihadist perpetrator literally waved his calling card, his 50-slide PowerPoint presentation, and his chilling core beliefs, complete with exclamation points and misspellings (“We love death more then [sic] you love life!”) right in front of his peers’, patients’, and superiors’ faces. Yet he wasn’t stopped.
During the previous two days, an obviously unconstitutional, coercive statist power grab of unprecedented dimensions got one step closer to becoming a reality. In the midst of the legislative sausage-making, people who claim to be defenders of life signed on to the creation of a health care labyrinth designed to give us wholesale rationing, denial of care, and a virtual end to medical progress, all in return for a tissue-thin “guarantee” — one which probably wouldn’t stand up in court when tested — that the new leviathan won’t finance feticide.
In the midst of all this, we learned that employment continues to spiral downward, the predictable result when an administration persists in pursuing what historically hasn’t worked while disdainfully eschewing what has. Illegitimately tokin’ on Okun (unemployment has never been within the necessary 3.0-7.5% range cited at the link during this administration), it soullessly engages in the utter fantasy that it has “created or saved” hundreds of thousands of jobs. Even the created/saved claims that are supposedly firm don’t stand up to scrutiny by reporters who would ignore the lies if they could. Lectures over how we should just accept all of this, that high unemployment is all of a sudden an immutable condition of American life, that there’s really nothing we can do about it, and that it really isn’t such a bad thing anyway, are beginning to appear.
I suspect I’m not alone in having gone into a bit of a funk as the Fort Hood horror, Congress’ determination to dismantle the greatest health care system in the world, and the unemployment rate’s double-digit surge all unfolded in 60 hours.
But then an angel appeared.
She wasn’t an angel by the weird contemporary standards that artificially define “beauty,” but she embodied the verity that true beauty is far more than skin deep.
She’s a middle-aged woman born overseas. Her husband was born in that same country. They emigrated here decades ago.
She told me that they have a son who served in Iraq. I said, perhaps a bit lamely given a bout of late-afternoon fatigue, “Thank him for his service.” Then she opened up.
Though he is home, her son, following many months at Walter Reed and the local VA hospital, is still going through a fitful recovery from an awful encounter with an IED that severely damaged his brain. She described what had happened, what he’s been through, what she’s been through, and what their family has been through — and then spoke of her great love of this country and all it stands for.
Her most poignant line with relevance to all was roughly this: “Don’t believe any of what you read about what the rest of the world thinks of this country. No matter where I have been, everyday people literally worship America and all it stands for.”
She fully understands that so many of the people who are currently in charge don’t seem to understand or appreciate any of this, especially the part about American exceptionalism. If what she has suffered hasn’t deterred her, the events of this past weekend surely shouldn’t discourage others among us who also believe in it.
This angel probably has no idea of what she did for me, or of what I suspect she does for others on a daily basis. She thought I was doing her a favor by listening to her story and was almost apologetic about sharing it with me. Doing everything I could to keep from turning into a babbling, blubbering mess, I said, “It was a privilege to hear it.”
That those of us who know what should be done and who try to do our little part in making it happen might get occasionally and briefly down is understandable. To let it go on for too long, or to give in to the easy temptation of apathy, is simply unforgivable. The sacrifices this woman, her son, her family, and thousands of families like hers have made over the centuries to defend and preserve what we have, and who have given us the precious opportunity to improve upon it, demand that we press on unapologetically and forcefully.