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Jewish World Review Sept. 20, 2001 / 4 Tishrei, 5762

Michael Long

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Consumer Reports

Encouragement from the Heartland, by mail -- MY mail this week has been touching, thoughtful, kind and insightful. Those letters that encourage me the most are from folks who tell me that I speak for people in the "heartland"-and that, of course, seems to mean everyplace outside Washington, DC. One thing's for sure: everybody cares about everybody else. Left and Right have faded into the wallpaper for now. We are united again, and for me, this is a new and welcome feeling.

I've received the "Canada Appreciates America" essay numerous times, people I have never met have sent me online greetings, and countless, caring folks from around the world have sent me instant messages asking only if the stranger in Washington is okay.

Which brings me to this column. I have a forum, and I know how satisfying it feels to be able to express oneself, and to be understood. So in the wake of this act of war, I choose to share that forum with you. Here's some of what I've heard from you since Tuesday, September 11:

"I lost three friends yesterday. Two of them worked in One World Trade, and were probably killed within minutes of the initial impact. The other worked in Two World Trade, and couldn't evacuate the building before it collapsed."

"Buck up my friend... choose the enemy wisely and then eliminate it. Bin Laden type groups should be history… FIGHT THEM TO THE DEATH!!!!"

"Thanks from a fellow citizen traveling North America-by air."

"Mike, it is good to know that you are safe. … We are to seek to be able to forgive, not because that will free the perpetrators from their guilt, but because it will free us from crippling and blinding anger and hatred. This does not mean we do nothing. Our job is justice, and it must be pursued with unfailing diligence and, if necessary, sacrifice; (this last said reluctantly because I have two young sons-in-law, who could well be called to help bring about that justice).

"As a writer and as a father, you have the power and opportunity to stir emotions and to encourage reason-and the responsibility to lead with strength, calm, and Christian principles. A nation is not an entity in and of itself, but an entity whose direction and strength is determined by the direction and strength of its individual citizens."

"My office is near the Saudi embassy, which refused to lower its flag to half-staff this week. Almost every other embassy has lowered its flag. So much for our ally, the Saudis. I've been letting people know about this outrage. It's the best mischief I could come up with."

"The response, as you say, must be disproportionate, because it must eliminate bin Laden once and for all. 'Carthago delenda est.' Pour salt in the burned soil after the earth has been wiped clean of them."

"Lower the friggin' hammer, man."

"Right on target. It's GO time, man. Time to kick butt and take names. Time to hit back... and soon."

"Your article expresses thoughts of millions today. You no doubt helped let out a lot of the collective steam around this country!"

"We will retaliate, I'm sure. There is no way we cannot. Even a middle of the road groupie like myself can see that."

"Excellent! You wrote what many people in politics feel but don't have the personal courage to proclaim."

"My little girl was wearing her USA t-shirt today and was singing G-d Bless America on the way to the bus. It's time to back up all the reassurances we've given our children that they are safe."

"Bravo! All the way out in Los Angeles, I am still so angry that my fingers shake as I type this."

"Unless we rise up and take control of this evil, it will envelop us. We have taken so much as a country, and now it is time for us to stop taking it. We have been sitting ducks too long. We help to protect others and now it is time to protect ourselves."

JWR contributor Michael Long is a a director of the White House Writers Group. Comment by clicking here.


09/13/01: Bleeding time
09/07/01: The trailer-park taste of the public radio catalog
09/04/01: BRAVE NEW FREUD: Internet-based psychiatry may mean relief for those who have shunned treatment
08/17/01: First Amendment: Chickens home to roost
07/27/01: Dispatch From The Front: The Gun Control War
07/20/01: Summer song
07/03/01: It's a Wonderful Recount

© 2001, Michael Long