For better or worse, we have new Washington leadership and a new direction for America.
It's a softer and relational Washington, with whom international bonds are more important than national borders and boundaries. It's a more secular Washington, which says that the country is no longer a "Christian nation." It's a more liberal Washington; it has enacted more left-leaning legislation in its first year than any previous administration. It's a more generous Washington, from whom handouts, bailouts and borrowing are granted and given at record-breaking political speed.
But my greatest concern, I must confess, is that it's a kinder and gentler Washington, to whom the global war on terror has turned into an "overseas contingency operation." That kinder and gentler Washington begs the question, "Are we returning to a pre-9/11 mentality?" Pondering the answer prompts a pre-9/11 memory in which I fought that form of complacency via one of my television movies.
In 2000, I had starred in a CBS movie of the week, called "The President's Man," which garnered high ratings for the network. I played Joshua McCord, the president's secret agent who masquerades as a university professor between assignments. Two years later, the network wanted another film with me playing the same character.
During the time I was trying to come up with a story idea for the movie, my wife, Gena, and I had dinner in Dallas with our friends, one being a senator from Texas.
I asked the senator what she thought was the greatest threat to America. "Terrorism," she replied straightforwardly. "Our greatest fear is someone like Osama bin Laden sneaking a nuclear weapon into our country." She explained that we had allowed our nation to become vulnerable to such an attack. "During the last eight years, under President Clinton's administration, our security measures and enforcement personnel have been drastically reduced," she said. "That concerns me."
It concerned me, too, and I thought that I might be able to shed some light on the problem. After dinner, I called my brother, Aaron, and told him to get our scriptwriters to my house first thing in the morning. "I think I have the storyline for 'The President's Man,'" I told him.