Jewish theology teaches that the wise man is the man who learns from everyone. The same can be said about events. What lessons are there to be learned from Sept. 11 and its aftermath? What can we expect in the years to come? Here are the six most important lessons I have learned from the slaughter of 3,000 of my countrymen.
1. We must define the enemy. Our enemy is Islamic fundamentalism. Terrorists representing this murderous ideology utilize anonymity to attain their goals. We must not make it easier for them by refusing to identify them. Unfortunately, the Bush administration has appeased advocates of political correctness. Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta won't screen young Muslim men, so Grandma continues to be checked for her metal hip. President Bush has justifiably made an effort to disassociate terrorism from Islam. Unfortunately, he has done such a good job that Muslim groups have not felt the need to strenuously disassociate themselves from terrorism. Identifying the problem is the first step toward eradicating it.
2. It's not the economy, stupid. Why is George W. Bush hovering around 54 percent in popularity polls? After all, the economy hasn't exactly skyrocketed from the ashes of its mid-recession doldrums. Simply put, the economy is not the issue Democrats would like it to be. A few weeks back, brilliant U.S. News and World Report columnist Michael Barone told me that the age of "economy only" politics is over. It's not the 1930s anymore, he said. Thoughts of a Great Depression aren't lurking subconsciously for the American voter. He was right then, and he's right now. Which is why President Bush will clean the Democratic clock in 2004.
3. Politics doesn't stop at the water's edge anymore. The era when liberals could eschew petty politics and unify with conservatives on foreign policy is over. The Democrats care more about regaining branches of government than they do about protecting American citizens. That's why they attempted to scuttle the homeland security bill; that's why they're griping over granting President Bush $87 billion to fight terror and rebuild Iraq; that's why their two leading contenders for president, John F. Kerry and Howard Dean, are bashing President Bush on foreign policy. At least Kerry should know better. It was his party's resistance to all-out war in Vietnam that led to American defeat.