Jewish World Review Feb. 10, 2003 / 8 Adar I, 5763
http://www.jewishworldreview.com | Eight European countries rally to America's side in confronting Iraq and 13 other nations vow support in some form. Striking Venezuelans call out to America to save them from "drowning" at the hands of socialist President Hugo Chavez. Protesters in the Ivory Coast beg President Bush to save them from the power-sharing agreement France is forcing between their government and the Muslim rebels tearing the country apart. Iranians stop American journalists in the street to say that the U.S. should do in Iran what it did in Afghanistan. Canadians secure the resignation of a top aide to their president for calling the American president a moron. A recent survey by the Pew Global Attitudes Project finds that most people don't want the world to have more than one superpower. The same poll finds 75% of Americans believing U.S. foreign policy to be considerate of other nations.
News anchors Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather broadcast segments condemnatory neither of the military nor of the Republican administration wielding it. Mainstream media outlets mock celebrities speaking out against war, with ABC, CNN and MSNBC questioning the patriotism of vocal peacenik Janeane Garofalo and Connie Chung appealing to Garofalo's sense of responsibility toward troop morale. A New York Times Magazine cover calls Bush "not a fool" just three weeks after another cover story allows that a benevolent America defeats without conquering, then tells the world to get used to the "American Empire." Radio, television and electronic airwaves carry more defenders and champions of the country than once could be imagined.
Ratings tank for the Martin Sheen-driven television series "The West Wing," while other politically charged celebrities like Alec Baldwin, Susan Sarandon and Oliver Stone become unpopular with the public and risk blacklisting themselves as Hollywood itself becomes a "two-party town," as one studio executive put it. Less radical celebrities like Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg speak out in favor of President Bush's policies, the latter calling them "solid and rooted in reality." Still other celebrities come out of the closet as conservatives, with Kelsey Grammer making it known that he is a "big fan" of the president. Oft-burgled British actress Elizabeth Hurley visits the U.S. for safety as much as for a dose of "get up and go." And Roseanne Barr and Rosie O'Donnell announce crushes on the president.
Let's face it: Anti-Americanism is played out. Passe. Obsolete. Even the popular practice by both media and public of portraying the country's problems and divisions as worse than they really are has become transparent and outmoded--such that the likes of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are being told to "find a new hobby" by their increasingly wizening would-be constituency.
Today there is a new chic, and it's name is pro-Americanism. After the short-lived hyper patriotism of late 2001 and the smirky, disdainful backlash that followed, we may be witnessing a grudging but more lasting and substantive shift in this country's favor. Fearing they will be left in the dust of their stale antipathies as everyone around them abandons the anti-American ship, celebrities and the always more chic world outside America creep toward a fairer and more rational attitude toward the superpower--exposing its critics as loathers and edging them further to the fringes.
At least until mid-March.
When bombardment of Iraq begins, resolve among the newly won-over will waver, and there will be widespread grumbling as the temptation to scurry back to familiar camp beckons. Just as in the initial months following the September attacks, when congressional Democrats chanted the loaded proclamation that they support the president "in the war against terrorism"--barely able to disguise their eagerness to seize on the first kernel for criticism--so will many seize on the earliest change of wind against the U.S. This will be an assertion of their independence of mind lest they should, god forbid, give the impression that they're perpetually pro-American or cheerleaders for a pro-American administration. Indeed, as things get worse before they get better, the tide will turn back.
Until we win.
At which point Iraqis will finally be able to thank us aloud, the security stakes will be illuminated for all the "critical thinkers" to see for themselves, and the first crack into the warring Islamic spirit will have been driven--a taste of the hemorrhaging to come. Then o the frenzy that will follow, back to the new chic. Eventually, even Islam itself may begin to submit to it.
Because the American spirit is infectious. It is so without benefit of biological weapons like those of its enemies. Most people would rather be happy than tortured. Happy and free. Most people, that is, except for the moody, medicated, angry, depressed hate-America crowd--in short, the anti-war movement.
The American state of mind is free, and it pursues happiness. The world is inching closer to it, gradually realizing that to resist America is to
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