America: Do not underestimate it : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

America: Do not underestimate it

Oct. 07, 2001

Come Thursday, we mark one month since four jetliners pierced America's heart. Ever since, we have lived with certain catchphrases. One of the most prominent: The terrorists "sorely underestimated America."

I could not agree more. Nor am I much surprised.

Of course, the terrorists underestimated America. Why not, when we in America constantly underestimate ourselves?

Simply put, sometimes it feels like America has no clue what a good thing it has going, even in an extreme crisis.

How else can you explain the background drumbeat of negativity during the past month, the cynicism from some quarters and the endless preaching on subjects where most Americans already stand in almost universal agreement.

I'm talking about the flag haters, the so-called "pacifists" who aren't really against an American war, but against anything American. I'm talking, too, about those who reflexively rail against America's capacity for hatred.

Ever since Sept. 11, you have heard public service announcements, seen and heard news stories, been entreated, ordered and beseeched on radio, TV and in print not to hate your neighbors, not to transfer your anger from those who committed several thousand murders to those who merely resemble the killers. As if you needed to hear that.

The simple fact is, mostly every American, from Whites to Blacks and every color in between, knows this and lives accordingly. We overcome our biases, refuse to act on our fears, educate ourselves beyond ignorance. And yet those who make a living rubbing the noses of the many in the crimes of the few continue to dwell on the single psychotic, the rare instance of gross stupidity, instead of the million moments of grandeur.

Consider: In 1999, America suffered 7,876 reported "hate crime" incidents, involving 9,802 victims and 7,271 suspects. There were 17 "hate crime" fatalities. Obviously, this means we had 7,271 hate criminals and 17 bodies too many. But it also means, to some degree, that the other 274.9 million of us manage to get the point.

The critics lament, "Why can't we all get along?" To them we should say, "We already do, almost universally." I see this every day, at the YMCA where I play ball alongside men of every skin shade imaginable and never heard a racist word. I see it in the $700 million raised to support the victims of Sept. 11, without regard to race, gender or anything else. I see it in workplaces, houses of worship, neighborhoods, all of them ignored in favor of an anomaly some never tire of glorifying:

The American blinded by rage, ignorant and bloodthirsty.

I'm not saying this American is a fiction. He exists. He does harm. Last month, he killed Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Mesa Sikh whose only crime was wearing a turban. The ugly American also committed hate offenses at Arizona State University (where a different kind of hate criminal committed a pair of hoaxes, too). This American deserves to be condemned.

But he must not be allowed to overshadow the real truth of America, the strength that resides with the rest of us and outweighs the weakness of these ugly few.

The bottom line: America has nothing to apologize for in the wake of Sept. 11. Terrorists came, they saw, they destroyed. We conquered.

Reach Leibowitz at or (602) 241-6819.

-- Martin Thompson (, October 07, 2001


So, if you're a pacifist you're a flag hater too? This person is totally out of line regarding the ethical responsibilities of a journalist. There is absolutely no proof to support this claim, thus the writer is in violation of the "truth in reporting" laws that currently exist in this country.

Regarding America having nothing to apologise for in the wake of 911 is to forget and omit 50 plus years of humans having been kept in pens their whole lives. And give me a break that we were unable to resolve this. We put them there and after 50 years there is simply no excuse. This journalist makes me sick.

-- Ken (, October 07, 2001.

So, if you're a pacifist you're a flag hater too?

That's NOT what he said.

He said -- ""I'm talking about the flag haters, the so- called "pacifists" who aren't really against an American war, but against anything American.""

I would put it this way, the flag haters that "pretend" to be pacifists. There are tons of them.


-- Jackson Brown (, October 07, 2001.

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