Friday, December 19, 2003

You've heard of the "third rail of American politics," which is widely considered to be Social Security. Straightening that out will require a President, perhaps second term with less to lose, and some legislators with previously unexercised courageous profiles. Otherwise there will be a serious crash or generational clash after a while. This post is not about the third rail that will electrocute your political career if touched, keeping it insular from action. This post posits the war on terrorists as the "toe pick of American politics."

Master it and you skate your way gracefully across the political landscape. Fail to master it or even recognize what it's for, and you fall ego-bruisingly on your tail. Trip hard and often enough, and you'll fracture your campaign bone beyond protection or repair by any cast of characters or coating of Teflon. Some candidates for President would have been better off listening when told "don't quit your day job." They will never master the terror-fighting twist. Especially in competition with the guy who invented the move and recognized its importance to a winning world historical choreography.

The whole thing is simple, really. Accept that we must terrify those who would terrorize and tyrannize out of taking or remaining on the road of terrorism and tyranny. We will be safer. The world will be safer. All but the worst will eventually see the light, and the worst will be dead or too scared to come out of their hidey holes.

This isn't optional. This isn't a campaign issue yea or nay. Shades and degrees of how it is approached? Maybe. But there is no skating around it; no avoiding the jump. The score is our way of life. The bonus is a better way of life for others. These are things worth competing for, even when it seems too much of an Olympian task.

1:11 PM

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