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Outsiders vs. Insiders: 9/11 cost us more than buildings and lives – it stole our national soul

If there was anything positive to come from the heinous Muslim jihadist terrorist attack seventeen years ago today it’s the memories of how our nation came together in the aftermath of the barbarity to help each other out and unite under the beautiful American flag to battle the forces of evil that threaten us.

Who could ever forget the endless tributes to heroic New York City firemen and policemen – both living and dead – who epitomized the best in public service, men and women who rushed towards the danger when Memorials to 911everyone else ran away? Their selflessness and sacrifice are the stuff of legend. Annual ceremonies now mark the exact hours and minutes when those four hijacked commercial planes struck the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon and in the case of United Flight 93, crashed in an anonymous farm field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

And how about the American military forces carrying out President Bush’s order to hunt down and punish the perpetrators of the murders? Learned scholars and political observers will endlessly debate the wisdom of rushing to war in Iraq and Afghanistan in late 2001, but there’s no questioning the valor and devotion of our country’s finest folks in uniform.

For them, saluting the flag and roaring “Yes Sir!” is part of the job. Duty and honor…it’s the American way.

At least it used to be. Sadly, with the recent idiotic flag protests the memories of 9/11/01 appear to have faded into the background like a star-spangled banner left out in the weather too long. Our country’s cultural disease especially dominates the minds of young people in ways we never contemplated back then – the leadup to this year’s Miss America pageant served as a perfect example.

Wayne Parry reported for NBC4 in Washington on one particularly pathetic example. “A question about the propriety of NFL players kneeling in protest during the National Anthem helped select one of Thursday's preliminary winners in the Miss America competition. Miss Virginia Emili McPhail was asked what advice she would give to players about whether to stand or kneel for the anthem.

“She said not standing during the anthem ‘is a right you have. But it's also not about kneeling; it is absolutely about police brutality.’ Speaking with reporters afterward, McPhail was asked if she was worried about alienating people who feel differently about the anthem protests, an issue that has deeply divided the country. Some NFL players say they kneel during the anthem to protest societal injustices and to push for change, but opponents, including President Trump, consider the gesture disrespectful.

“’You're entitled to your own opinion, but I stood up for what I believed was right,’ McPhail said.”

So much for the old stereotype about beauty pageant contestants being intellectually bankrupt. Stood up for what was right? That’s a curious way to put it, Emili. Far be it from Ms. McPhail to stir up a hornet’s nest, but her lighter than air empty-headed response to the flag protest question – and then her passing off the matter as a “matter of opinion” -- got my blood boiling.

It’s not clear who or what’s to blame here – the politically correct culture that pressures citizens like Emili to spurt wretched nonsense or risk forfeiting her competition in the minds of judges; or McPhail’s parents (whom I admittedly don’t know) who’ve failed to instill in their daughter a proper understanding of history and civics, or, the educational system that shrinks from sanctioning clearly incoherent and incorrect notions of what our “rights” truly are.

Or maybe it’s a combination of all of those things. Personally, if it were up to me I’d require Ms. McPhail to sit in a dark room by herself and subject her to hours of viewing raw 9/11/01 news footage to educate her on the meaning of that day and the accurate nature of tragedy and causation. At age 22 Emili has little or no actual memory of how awful it was for our country and our flag. My own daughter was four at the time and doesn’t recall a thing about it.

Well, Ms. McPhail, since you pretend to possess an understanding about the police and what they do, how many of those officers who died in the twin towers were guilty of “brutality” in their careers? Is the memory of the honored dead tarnished by today’s faux accusations of racism? Did they only seek to save Caucasian Christian victims that day?

What McPhail said is so absurd it’s almost beyond interpretation. The “right” to kneel she breathlessly declared doesn’t even exist. For the umpteenth time the First Amendment restrains government’s ability to restrict or prevent speech. If there was a police officer (at the order of government authorities) arresting and beating a person for voicing his views in a public place, then that’s a different story. But the First Amendment is notably silent on spoiled athletes expressing opinions on their own time in someone else’s building.

NFL owners (and by extension, the brainless league management) can tell their employees to stand, sit, kneel, do jumping jacks or assume a yoga child’s pose if they so choose during pregame ceremonies. Fans might not care for it, but people who buy tickets can always counter-protest with their feet.

What’s difficult about this concept?

Perhaps it’s so hard for people to accept these days because there’s a tolerance (if not encouragement) of falsity by our country’s political elites and most of the mainstream establishment media. Take last week’s “anonymous” New York Times op-ed where a nameless author accused President Trump of unpresidential behavior and running an incompetent administration where “steady state” insiders struggle furiously to quell his amoral instincts.

Who’s the coward who wrote it? People are still left speculating. “Anonymous” wrote last week at The American Spectator, “Bill Kristol tweeted that ze [Ed note – ‘anonymous’ used gender-neutral pronouns like ‘ze’] seems to be a ‘competent, even practiced, op-ed writer (or had help from one.)’ Kristol also says ze is a movement conservative — ‘free minds, free markets, and free people.’ Further, Kristol says, ze ‘thinks free trade important’ and is ‘foreign policy focused.’

“As a former ghostwriter and press secretary, I would say almost surely the article was ghostwritten. It does not have a personal style. I also think it probably was shopped to the New York Times op-ed page by a person experienced in media relations and with a close, even confidential, relationship with the Gray Lady.

“This makes a prime suspect Kristol’s good friend Peter Wehner. Wehner is a veteran, Triple-A utility player in the leagues of neoconservative think tanks and journals. He is a sidekick of the Washington Post’s Church Lady, Michael Gerson, whom he assisted on the White House speechwriting staff during the presidency of George W. Bush.”

It's a very plausible theory and the American Spectator’s “anonymous” makes good arguments in support of his hypothesis. Most Trump-backing conservatives agree the NYT column (if indeed propagated by a White House insider) was likely ghost-written. The prose is too generic and the arguments too #NeverTrump boilerplate to have been penned by someone who didn’t already understand what he’s (or ze’s) doing in the media sense. If this was an “inside” job, it was carried out by a professional who knows the biz.

But then again, could it have been a “real” ghost?

It struck me – this may not have been done by someone with individual knowledge of Trump’s inner circle – or at least anyone who’s still living. That’s right – could it have been John McCain and whoever “anonymous” is, he wrote and submitted the op-ed as the fulfillment of a posthumous dying wish from the late senator himself!? Or it could be McCain wrote the original draft and someone he trusted cleaned it up stylistically to sponge away the 2008 GOP nominee’s “fingerprints” from it!

Maybe it was former McCain Chief of Staff and longtime biographer Mark Salter. Salter was close as they come to McCain and even served as a pallbearer at the late senator’s funeral. Like McCain, Salter is a well-known #NeverTrumper whose views on the current president mirrored those of his boss – so it wouldn’t have been hard for Salter to polish McCain’s final thoughts into something that made sense to a liberal editorial staff without knowing for sure it was him.

And everyone knows the New York Times was glowing with praise for Trump-enemy McCain after the man’s death, publishing a number of over-the-top honorariums to the man who the paper repeatedly and savagely (and falsely) attacked during his Republican presidential run. It might even be establishment liberals felt remorse for how poorly they’d treated McCain in life -- and sought to make it up to his memory in death.

Thanks to all the tasteless anti-Trump eulogies at McCain’s funeral observances it’s clear the late senator left no doubt as to how he really felt about the man. Would anyone put it past McCain to ask (again, as a “final wish”) a major newspaper to publish unattributed material?

Further, the Times would never have to worry about divulging the real identity of the author (since it’s a “ghost writer” anyway) and lord knows the original source won’t ever speak on the subject again. It's literally buried with him. Therefore McCain’s final act took place even after he was gone – and he’d be ecstatic with the knowledge it infuriated Trump to the highest degree.

How’s that for a crazy conspiracy theory? You’d be forgiven if you want to shout, “It all makes sense now!” … Just don’t pound the table too hard.

A more likely scenario regarding the “mystery” NTY op-ed is the whole thing will be forgotten in a few days if it hasn’t already been “put to rest” by remembrances of 9/11. Besides, there’s an election in a couple months and Republicans have more to worry about than who assembled and submitted a damaging opinion piece for the ultra-liberal New York Times.

Conservatives say if Republicans lose the House this year they’ll have no one to blame but their leaders. Stalwart Virginia conservative Ken Cuccinelli wrote last week at the Washington Examiner, “If recent polls are correct, and Democrats take control of the House of Representatives, the hard truth is it would be the Republicans’ own fault. Unlike President Trump, who has fought tooth and nail to fulfill promises he made on the campaign trail working to create jobs, cut burdensome regulations, and lower taxes, GOP leaders in Congress have completely failed to do what they said they would do…

“What happened to Congress’s vow to fully repeal Obamacare ‘root and branch,’ as we heard over and over again on the campaign trail? Why haven’t they funded the border wall to protect our country, or defunded Planned Parenthood, or even cut federal spending? Blaming a lack of accomplishments on the Democratic Party won’t work. The voters know that it’s the GOP that controls both spending branches of government, and they expect answers — not excuses.

“Washington needs leaders who honor their oath to support and defend the Constitution and who will not hand our country over to the liberals who will immediately enact terrible policies and destroy our freedoms. It’s time for leaders in Washington to keep their promises and fulfill their commitments to taxpayers.”

President Trump was understandably livid at the publication of the above referenced op-ed but conservative voters know where the real fault lies with the stalled progress on many important agenda items.

Even if the internal atmosphere of the White House were as dysfunctional as “anonymous” made it sound, the man sitting behind the Oval Office desk still has accomplished quite a lot in his first year and a half. This includes in the foreign policy realm where Trump’s realistic views of NATO, trade relations and the situation in the Middle East produced movement and policy victories conservatives never thought possible under the old swampy establishment regimes.

Trump’s done it all despite resistance from his “leaders” on Capitol Hill too. Sure, McConnell and Ryan continue to offer lip-service to the things conservatives care about – but their sluggish pace and failure to press matters has been incredibly damaging to the party brand. Trump can’t be blamed if GOP leaders won’t do the work or take risks. Boldness is decidedly absent in Congress.

Much has changed since 9/11/01, not the least of which is a loss of patriotism and devotion to the founding principles of the United States. Much of the deterioration is due to political correctness and our elected leaders’ lack of willingness to fight diligently for truth. Will we ever get it back?

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