“…People have declared war on America and they have made a terrible mistake… My administration has a job to do and we're going to do it. We will rid the world of the evil-doers."
Those words were spoken by President George W. Bush on September 16, 2001, five days after “9-11.”
While meeting with reporters at the White House on the first Sunday following the terrorist attacks, Bush further stated that "I've never had more faith in America than I have right now… People will be amazed at how quickly we rebuild New York…The markets open tomorrow. People go back to work. And we'll show the world…"
Those were some bold and optimistic statements from a President under duress. They conveyed an unending confidence in our country, and its people. Granted, it is over-reaching to think that the world will ever be completely rid of “evil-doers.” And unfortunately, the markets dropped the next day, on Monday September 17. But in those remarks, the former President was juxtaposing “us,” with those who had attacked us (the “evil doers”), and he was reassuring us that we had the capacity to survive and recover.
He was also sending a message to the rest of the world: “Don’t Mess With America.”
I’ve had my share of criticisms of President Bush. And although I believe that history will judge him favorably (in much the same way as President Truman has been judged), I’m not attempting here to launch a Bush nostalgia movement.
I am, however, nostalgic for the days when the American President seemed to be fond of his country, and its people. This is largely because I have increasing doubts that our current President is fond of either one.
In the years following “9-11,” President Bush would continue to frequently juxtapose “us” with the “evil doers.” He also frequently spoke about our nation’s mission with respect to terrorists, in as much as it was his goal to “hunt them down and bring them to justice.” Bush didn’t explicitly state that our nation was “good” when speaking of the threats of terrorists, and he didn’t need to. It was implicit, and it was understood that ours was a nation of good people, and worthy of defense.
But can anyone – even Barack Obama’s most ardent supporters – honestly say that our current President believes that Americans are, in a general sense, “good people,” and worthy of defense? Both his words and actions would suggest that America might someday become good, but only if he can first bring us to justice.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.