I am not Jewish. I have no immediate family in Israel. But like many in America and around the world, the sheer horror, barbarism, and gleeful transparency of the unprovoked attack on Israel has affected me. I even found myself checking on social media for updates during the Eagles game.
As I often do when major events occur, I am drawn to two things.
First, the humanity. The real-life impacts. The horror. The anger. The tears. The parents in their homes rushing to hide their children in their in-home shelters, under military-grade body armor. The text messages from teenage and twenty-something concertgoers to their parents, sending messages of love and goodbye as terrorists literally parasailed into an outdoor concert with automatic weapons. As a parent, as an uncle, as a coach, that shakes me to my core.
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Second, I reflect on lessons learned, where things stand, and what comes next. In this case, candidly, I am even more despondent and even more moved; even angrier and more committed.
From the “spontaneous” marches through Philadelphia, New York, and across Europe celebrating the attacks or using this terrorist attack as a moment to call for Israel to “free” the Gaza Strip. The initial responses from the Biden administration calling for calm — each side should “stand down.” The commentary on television and in the news about the “escalation of the conflict,” referring to the Hamas terrorists as “freedom fighters,” warriors, or even “Hamas fighters.” Then, in the next phase, the reports began to tally deaths, counting equally the raped and butchered women in the same sentence as the Hamas terrorists being killed by Israeli Defense Forces.
On Sept. 11, 2001, I don’t recall many news accounts including the nineteen terrorist hijackers among those innocently and brutally killed.
The weak, hesitant, and very delayed response from President Biden. The very, very delayed response from many U.S. senators. The even more delayed statement from Obama. The silence from both Clintons. So many “leaders” are hesitantly showing sympathy, and some are offering support for Israel, yet they feel compelled to state that they urge the parties “to work towards peace.”
Israel is the size of New Jersey, with a similar population; within it is the Gaza Strip — twice the size of Washington, D.C. The Mediterranean Sea, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt border it. Imagine if New Jersey lived on constant alert for attacks from armies, paramilitary groups, or terrorists in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New York, while having a rebel community living along Ocean City to Cape May, with everything north of Newark unstable. Imagine telling New Jersey’s government to “stand down” and negotiate for peace after its children were beheaded and its women raped and tortured.
And the mealy-mouthed statement from the Governor of Michigan stating that she was “in touch with the communities impacted by what’s happening in the region.” It was as if a hurricane had struck an island, rather than terrorists pillaging, raping, and plundering like the barbarians that they are.
And then there is “The Squad.” The worst of the worst of the radical elements of the so-called “progressive” wing of the Democrat Party. Rep. Ilhan Omar issued a condemnation, adding to the left’s call for “de-escalation and ceasefire.” Rep. Rashida Tlaib went further, suggesting that the Israeli “apartheid system creates the suffocating, dehumanizing conditions that can lead to resistance.”
Resistance? Resistance! Setting grandmothers in wheelchairs on fire; repeatedly raping teenagers and displaying their pictures on social media; kidnapping and torturing children — is that what is called resistance these days?
We need true leaders to lead with clarity, to teach our children, to comfort our allies, and to warn our enemies.
I will continue to read the accounts of parents hiding their children. I will continue to pray for those lost and those suffering.
But I will also continue to reflect on, comment on, and write about a path forward on this and other issues. Issues where common sense is being ignored by the pursuit of “transforming the United States of America.” Impacts that result from weakening America, risking our lives and livelihoods.
And I will fight back against those who are so morally or politically bankrupt that they try to find moral equivalency everywhere. They preach tolerance for evil, looking to compromise over what is obviously wrong, harmful, hateful, and even deadly.
Can we comprise on what’s a fair tax rate? Can we compromise on the amounts of subsidy for SEPTA riders? Can we compromise on how large a tuition voucher ought to be, the aid given to Temple University? Even the rules around mail-in ballots? Of course, we can search for compromise.
Can we compromise and search for common ground on whether it’s okay to ransack buildings in Philadelphia? Set cars on fire? No.
Should the United States tell governments — especially allies like Israel — to stand down when their children are viciously attacked, without any provocation? Should we sit silently while some offer moral equivalency between evil and those who fight back against evil? No!
President John F. Kennedy told the world, “Let every nation know… that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”
President Reagan called us the “shining city on the hill” and told Gorbachev to “tear down that wall.” He celebrated when people around the world would greet him in broken English by saying, “Hello, freedom man.”
Today, tragically, President Biden represents a mindset with a foreign policy that is all too soft. Worse, in the tradition of President Obama, he seems to apologize for America. He thinks we are just another nation. As if everybody has some good and everybody has some bad. It’s “so politically correct” that it’s national suicide.
There are times when our allies need us. There are times to lead. There are times when the United States of America must stand up for its citizens and for liberty.
In a world of enemies and evil-doers, in a world where so many work so hard to create moral and political confusion, now, more than ever, America must speak clearly.
In America, citizens have a right to think and speak out — and even march for — what they hold dear. That is why we need true leaders to lead with clarity, to teach our children, to comfort our allies, and to warn our enemies.
So that America remains that shining city on a hill.
Guy Ciarrocchi is a Senior Fellow with the Commonwealth Foundation. He writes for Broad + Liberty and RealClearPennsylvania. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of those organizations. Follow him @PaSuburbsGuy.