- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 21, 2006

On this first full day of spring, with a bracing west wind snow a’coming in our nation’s capital, surely it’s time to let our hearts replace winter’s despond with a replenishing faith and hope.

I think of the bit of rhyme by A.E. Housman: “Oh, God will save her, fear you not: Be you the men you’ve been, Get you the sons your fathers got, and God will save the Queen.” We don’t need to learn new tricks, we need merely to remember and return to our old strengths. Listening to the BBC world service in the predawn hours this morning, I caught, precisely, such a glimmer of hope in a report of an old faith defeating a new fear.

The faith was in freedom and the defeated fear was multicultural gibberish. The Swedish Foreign Minster Laila Freivalds was forced from office yesterday when it was revealed that she had ordered a right-wing party’s Web site to be shut down because it was planning to republish the now famous Danish cartoons of Mohammad.

It was a month ago that the deed was done. And for a month the suppressed party demanded freedom of speech. And for a month the foreign minister denied a role in the suppression. But when it was revealed that she had personally ordered it, her Prime Minister Goran Persson — facing a national election in six months — forced her out.

Of course, in the universal hypocrisy that follows such defenestrations, he assured the public “It was her own decision.”

In fact, it was neither her decision nor his. It was a free people’s decision to assert their freedom. The politicians merely bent to the will of the people — and called it a decision. A small victory in a small battle of what will be a very long war — it is true. But a victory nonetheless. And a useful one.

I am repeatedly told to give up on Europe, that they have lost the will to resist the alien yearnings of the radicals. And it is true that there are plenty of examples of European acquiescence.

For example, in Denmark, a few weeks ago, on the occasion of Denmark preparing for a conference on Muslim-Danish relations, the state railroad company in a fit of fear barred a billboard advertising a new book about Islam by a Danish professor — even though there were no offending images of the prophet.

But once again, a glimmer of hope emerges. People complained of the railroad company’s cowardice — and the company reversed itself and permitted the advertisement.

As I argued in my book, the will to resist probably will not come from the top down. It will not be the elected leaders or the senior bureaucrats or the elite media or prestigious academics who will provide the stiff backbone — neither in Europe nor in America. If there is strength left, and I believe there is — it will come up from the people.

So the signs of change are more likely to be found in the modest precincts where the common people and tomorrow’s true leaders do their work and speak their piece — not in the formal pronouncements of governments. As in yesterday’s governmental announcement from Sweden, it was the mere consequence of a people’s will.

So, too, in Washington this brilliant spring morning, professional Republicans of all types — senators and congressmen, strategists and operatives, lawyers and lobbyists, pundits and columnists — remain in their winter gloom. They don’t have enough bad to say of their president who has seen them through three successful elections — but now appears to be faltering. They have become a sullen, muttering mob of malcontents — offering all sorts of advice. They offer the president every form of assistance — short of help.

As in the previous matter, let the strength come from the bottom up. If the president cannot currently do large, important political things, let Congress do small useful things to enhance their public esteem and the public welfare.

Be cheerful, live in hope, be productive and useful. Nobody likes a gloomy Gus. Nor are they likely to vote for such gloom merchants in November. If you must say rude things, here’s an idea. Say it about your opponents (clue: They have a D after their names).

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