Cookie Schwaeber-Issan
Cookie Schwaeber-Issan

Is America Mortally Wounded or Can She Come Back?

I suppose I shouldn’t have been shocked to, yet again, view the 9/11 footage which we just saw a couple of days ago as we commemorated the 20th anniversary of the greatest attack ever perpetrated on America, but, each year, the distress and trauma of those scenes is like a fresh gut punch to anyone who loves the land of the free and the home of the brave.

While the innocence and decency of America died a long time ago, there, nonetheless, seems to have been, at least, many momentary occasions which, from time to time, brought everyone together, making them feel as if there was still some residual glue holding them together.  Sadly, the last few years have all but dissipated that glue and are making so many of us wonder if America can ever return to her former glory.

While watching the coverage of that fated day, and seeing the solemn remembrances which included the display of flags and the pageantry of patriotism, I couldn’t help but feel goosebumps all over as I relived those memorable childhood events when such songs as “America the Beautiful,” “My Country Tis of Thee” and “The Star Spangled Banner” were played.  Together, we stood in pride, feeling privileged to be Americans and having a profound knowledge that freedom was the benefit we reaped because others had paid the precious price for it.

Those high ideals and the moral clarity which had been an integral part of American society, little by little began to vanish and be held in contempt as a “progressive” agenda began to take hold and seek dominance.  The desire to control every facet of one’s life became the end game, and there is no doubt that the last two years have facilitated that goal.

But changes were happening long before that.  While few were paying attention or thinking it was just a passing phase, a new political and sociological objective was cleverly forging its way into American sports events, media coverage, the educational system, home association rules, big tech communications, entertainment outlets and just about every other aspect which affects daily life.  It wasn’t long before we began to witness a collective shame and embarrassment centered on the country and for all it stood.  No longer was it considered an acceptable norm to respect the flag, to sing the national anthem, to ensure the rights of others, to respect those in legitimate authority, such as police, nor has serving one’s country continued to be seen as an honorable pursuit.

What started off as absurd and whacky positions, such as releasing hard-core prisoners, facilitating squatters on the sidewalks, allowing children to make decisions without parental knowledge or consent, not prosecuting theft or shoplifting and so many other insane proposals, began to gain acceptance by those who, little by little, became convinced that victimhood should be rewarded and authority should be seized rather than bestowed upon individuals.

The sins and indiscretions of those individuals long gone, as well as the few indiscriminate acts of some bad players, suddenly became magnified and catapulted onto the world’s projector for all to see, very much designed to arrive at the conclusion that America was not only as bad as other countries, but actually worse and, therefore, not worthy of admiration, support or the allegiance of anyone – not even her citizens.

As a new batch of politicians came into power, their goal was to remake the country into a more improved version, but in order to do that, the past had to be “deleted.”  So began the elimination of anything that most people found decent, moral, good and honorable, including their faith, the traditional family unit, law and order, concepts of respect and deference and, most of all, patriotism, true bravery and sacrifice.  All those were quickly replaced by chaos, the demand to conform to those holding the levers of control and the end of open and fair discussion along with the exchange of ideas.

In very short order, it became clear that we were witnessing the end of freedom as it had been for more than 200 years.  Swiftly seeping into the crevices of most states, this new reality took hold, waking slumbering citizens into a collective urgency to act as they finally understood that America has been wounded – perhaps mortally.

As an ex-pat American, living in Israel, I have, too often, heard the global responses of incredulity from those who simply can’t understand what’s taken hold of the country they once respected and admired.  To them, it’s as if every day Americans willingly rolled over and allowed insanity to take hold of their country and society without putting up a fight.

From a political standpoint, the botched departure from Afghanistan serves as a perfect example of how not to lead if you want to gain the respect of other countries.  Keeping the southern border open so that anyone from anywhere can walk right in and seamlessly blend along with everyone else is yet another blueprint of deliberate self-destruction and humiliation which other countries reject, given their own well-placed borders and stringent immigration laws which still remain in effect.

Consequently, America is not showing itself to be a leader nor does it even care to fill such a role in today’s world.  If America is not mortally wounded, she is definitely on life-support and in desperate need of resuscitation.

Can she come back?  The answer lies with authentic Americans – those who were born there or legally immigrated.  They are the ones who hold their future destiny in their hands.  If the inspiring way of life, which drew millions to her shores, is still appreciated and admired by them, they will have to fight hard to keep it alive and to ensure its being the predominant force.  It will entail their dissent, their challenge through the court system, their loud voices to those who represent them in  Congress and their protesting of censorship in both social media, print media and televised media.  It will demand their intervention into the education of their children and unseating those in power through honest and fair election practices.  It will demand a fight no less forceful and no less sacrificial than those who battled from afar in prior wars that sought to ensure freedom, democracy and justice for all.

America began as the realization of a dream to achieve greatness, to be better and to allow all mankind to flourish and prosper.  Were there some setbacks along the way?  Undoubtedly, as is the case anytime imperfect people are part of the equation, but, in time, corrections were made, faults were acknowledged and progress made its way to just about every arena of life.

America, with all her faults, is still the one place on the face of the earth where her people are the first to contribute, help, aid, assist and generously give of themselves, their money and their resources to any other people who are hurting or injured.  It is the place which has traditionally been a bastion of free thought, freedom of religion, respect of human life and the dignity of others.  Few, if any countries, can declare that they are devoid of stain or blemish when it comes to their past history or even their present existence.

It is my fervent hope that as we exit this time of commemoration of the passage of 20 years since evil viciously assaulted American shores, that Americans will look deep and hard at the direction which was and the direction which now is.  May they carefully decide which is the one that will bring forth the continuity of that original dream.  Failure to do so will surely result in America’s final death knell with no hope of ever coming back!

America, America – G-d shed His grace on thee!  May G-d use the citizens of this once, great country to resuscitate her and breathe  new life into her so that she may, yet again, be the envy of all nations!

About the Author
A former Jerusalem elementary and middle-school principal and the granddaughter of European Jews who arrived in the US before the Holocaust. Making Aliyah in 1993, she is retired and now lives in the center of the country with her husband.