Tony Blankley

I suppose it is to be expected that the Great Recession should be accompanied by a sweeping national pessimism in which our purported leaders and commentators express historic despair, while the people and corporations mope about, convinced that the sun will not come up tomorrow.

Such an intensity of self-loathing and lack of confidence has not been heard since the French contemplated their disgraced future in June 1940 when they annihilated their nation, and the great light that was France, by surrendering to the Germans.

But even that French despair ended -- and it started to clear when Gen. de Gaulle found himself in London in June 1940, unknown, with no resources, no respect, but an uncontainable will to rally Frenchmen to the majestic task of saving France from her self-imposed infamy.

In his memoires, de Gaulle describes the moment. In a long paragraph, he listed everything that blocked his objectives.

He concluded: "As for me, with a hill like that to climb, I was starting from scratch. Not the shadow of a force or of an organization at my side. In France, no following and no reputation. Abroad, neither credit nor standing. But this very destitution showed me my line of conduct. It was by adopting without compromise the cause of national recovery that I could acquire authority. ... In short, limited and alone though I was, and precisely because I was so, I had to climb to the heights and never then come down. The first thing to do was to hoist the colours."

And so he did. Over the next four years, he organized violent opposition to the Nazis from equatorial, west and north Africa to metropolitan France. And he redeemed French honor.

The intangible, extraordinary, immeasurable power of the will of just one human can become a world force to be reckoned with. The exercise of human will defies and baffles historians, economists and experts of all sorts as they attempt to predict the path of nations and the unfolding of history.

America has been in a two-year funk -- which is not surprising, as nary a national leader or news outlet has encouraged us to spit in the eye of fate and cheerfully grab the future with both fists.

Good heavens, I am currently fighting a dose of stomach cancer -- and I'm more cheerful and hopeful than healthy, bright young college grads laid low by a shortage of great jobs.

It is time for America to get over its funk and stop listening to alleged experts (who make their fortunes coming up with novel theories of national catastrophe).

America has become a great nation because we have been an optimistic people who insist on both success and liberty. If you can't visualize success, you are unlikely to gain it.

Tony Blankley

Tony Blankley, a conservative author and commentator who served as press secretary to Newt Gingrich during the 1990s, when Republicans took control of Congress, died Sunday January 8, 2012. He was 63.

Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.

In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.

©Creators Syndicate