Hundreds of small American flags are flying today at Ground Zero, the Pentagon and a quiet Pennsylvania field as the nation solemnly remembers the events of a dozen years ago; an anniversary covered today by the Associated Press, Seattle Times and every other news organization on the map.
No doubt country music radio stations are playing Alan Jackson’s heart-wrenching “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning” and across the landscape people are choking up at memorials or in front of their television sets.
A total of 2,977 innocent people were killed that day; not all of them Americans but their lives were lost on American soil. By comparison, 2,404 people were killed at Pearl Harbor in the Dec. 7, 1941 attack.
One can compare something else. On the days following both attacks, you could not look in any direction in any American city or town and not see a flag waving.
The Washington Times is reporting that thousands of bikers from all over the map have converged on Washington, D.C. for an event to which the National Park Service denied a permit. The newspaper also reports that the NPS had granted a permit to a Muslim group for a rally “to call attention to social justice issues.”
“The American Muslim Political Action Committee has scheduled a rally to draw attention to what they call unfair fear of Muslims after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks,” the newspaper said.
Another story in the same newspaper said the bikers far outnumbered those at the Muslim event.
Events of the past 24 hours have provided a reminder that if you tell Americans they cannot do something, there will be payback and it could be massive. Tell them they cannot hold a rally in the nation’s capital and they will be there by the thousands, flags flying and motorcycle engines roaring.
Tell them they cannot own the firearm of their choice and, at least in Colorado, they will throw you out of office. Tell them it is a waste of public money and they will counter that it is never a waste of public money to kick a politician out of office, then talk about it on-line.
Twelve years is a long time in American politics. It provides much opportunity for opinions to shift, but when the chips are down people tend to gravitate toward what they know, and in this country, people know freedom and independence best of all. That’s what drives firemen to run into burning buildings, even ones hit by airplanes. It’s what drives policemen to run toward trouble, even inside flaming skyscrapers.
Every day in some way, big or small, some American does his or her little bit for freedom and liberty. We wave flags. We remember those with unfinished lives. We finish political careers, often with gusto.
Americans have learned over the past dozen years that we do things today because each tomorrow holds an uncertain future. The events of 12 years ago, much like the events of 24 hours ago in Colorado, prove that.
UPDATE: Public Policy Polling is acknowledging today that it conducted a poll last weekend which showed Colorado Sen. Angela Giron losing by 12 points, but that it did not release the results of that poll prior to yesterday’s election. Legal Insurrection talks about it here.
The explanation posted by Tom Jensen contains an admission: “In a district that Barack Obama won by almost 20 points I figured there was no way that could be right and made a rare decision not to release the poll. It turns out we should have had more faith in our numbers because she was indeed recalled by 12 points.”
But then Jensen says this: “We did find on the poll though that voters in the district had a favorable opinion of the NRA by a 53/33 margin. And I think when you see the final results what that indicates is they just did a good job of turning the election more broadly into do you support gun rights or are you opposed to them. If voters made their decision based on the actual pretty unobtrusive laws that Giron helped get passed, she likely would have survived. But the NRA won the messaging game and turned it into something bigger than it was- even if that wasn't true- and Giron paid the price.”
For Jensen to claim that the new Colorado gun laws are “pretty unobtrusive” and that the NRA turned the election into something “bigger than it was” could get quite an argument from Colorado gun owners who voted her out of office.