Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow?
All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.
At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected?
I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us.
It cannot come from abroad.
If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher.
As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.
— Abraham Lincoln, 1838
As you read Tom Purcell’s column on this page today, you’ll notice an echo of Lincoln’s theme.
“You worry that we’re beating ourselves, just as bin Laden had hoped — and you’re beginning to depress me,” Tom writes in part.
That is the point, too.
“You worry that we’re beating ourselves.”
It’s something that Americans can easily do.
We can beat ourselves if we are not careful.
We can pull in so many diverse directions that we split ourselves in two, and that is what our enemies — and, to be honest, many of our “friends” — would just as soon see happen.
They know that Lincoln was right. They know that they cannot, by force of arms, set a successful foot on our soil.
And as we approach Saturday’s anniversary of the attacks on America, we should remember it, too.
There is much that separates us. There are many sheltering under our liberty who wish that this very nation would expire. There are some in positions of authority who would be happy to see our nation fail, and fall.
We must rise above all that and continue to be true to our heritage.
Lincoln could easily have been referring to us today:
“If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher.
“As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”
The choice is — as it always has been — up to us.
— Chuck Smith