Friday, September 11, 2009
Last year, I was unable to pay my respects to those who were murdered today in 2001 in the way that I had wanted because I was fleeing from a storm that eventually hit where I was living at the time.
This year, I find that my country faces a different storm no less threatening and from which physical avoidance will not deliver us. Fortunately, it is humanly possible to blunt the effects of this man-made storm in other ways. The Enemy-in-Chief may, for example, be doubling down on his attempts to impose servitude on our physicians and their patients en route to "taking care" of the rest of us, but America has successfully resisted tyranny before, and we can do it again.
The issue over which these battles are being fought -- the individual's inalienable moral and political right to lead his own life free from threats and coercion from others -- is the same. Only the methods of fighting differ. But as we fight to survive, we stop for a moment to mourn those who were murdered that day, and take a moment to consider how precious being alive and free really is.
It is from that perspective that I write today. After a living thing is injured, it begins to heal. I am no less angry about what the Islamic savages did then on the way to squandering their own lives, and no less resolved that we must eventually wage a merciless war against the countries that made what they did possible.
However, time has made me better able to enjoy again the simple pleasure of a blue sky like the one I saw that morning just before I heard the news. I have noticed that I no longer am immediately reminded of those attacks whenever I see one.
Those obscene events, still celebrated by Moslems the world over as "holy," violated all of us, and it is from that violation I think I noticed myself recovering this morning. I realized on a deeper level that while it may be necessary to fight back to continue living, that my cause is holy and untouched. It is my life, it is my spirit, and it is my blue sky.
The last three sentences are almost word for word what I thought upon waking today. Knowing what anniversary loomed, I'd spent some time yesterday evening reading about the events and their perpetrators, but that is what I woke up thinking about instead.
The feeling was all mine, but something about the formulation seemed eerily familiar. As it turns out, some digging shows that the words echo the following passage near the end of Ayn Rand's novella, Anthem, after its protagonist rediscovers the word that America's enemies would like to abolish forever.
I AM. I THINK. I WILL.
My hands... My spirit... My sky... My forest... This earth of mine ....
What must I say besides? These are the words. This is the answer.
I stand here on the summit of the mountain. I lift my head and I spread my arms. This, my body and spirit, this is the end of the quest. I wished to know the meaning of things. I am the meaning. I wished to find a warrant for being. I need no warrant for being, and no word of sanction
upon my being. I am the warrant and the sanction.
It is my eyes which see, and the sight of my eyes grants beauty to the earth. It is my ears which hear, and the hearing of my ears gives its song to the world. It is my mind which thinks, and the judgment of my mind is the only searchlight that can find the truth. It is my will which chooses, and the choice of my will is the only edict I must respect.
Many words have been granted me, and some are wise, and some are false, but only three are holy: "I will it!"
Whatever road I take, the guiding star is within me; the guiding star and the load-stone which point the way. They point in but one direction. They point to me.
I know not if this earth on which I stand is the core of the universe or if it is but a speck of dust lost in eternity. I know not and I care not. For I know what happiness is possible to me on earth. And my happiness needs no higher aim to vindicate it. My
happiness is not the means to any end. It is the end. It is its own goal. It is its own purpose.
Neither am I the means to any end others may wish to accomplish. I am not a tool for their use. I am not a servant of their needs. I am not a bandage for their wounds. I am not a sacrifice on their altars.
I am a man. This miracle of me is mine to own and keep, and mine to guard, and mine to use, and mine to kneel before! (111)
I will never forget that day or forgive anyone who lent those atrocities aid or comfort in any way, but they have not vanquished my soul.
I can enjoy my blue sky again. Thank you once again, Ayn Rand!