Archives of Commentary / Opinion

Redefining Disaster

March 24, 2002

On December 7, 1941, the Japanese Navy bombed the US military base at Pearl Harbor. Six aircraft carriers, at dawn, launched 181 planes to destroy the US Pacific Fleet. At approximately 10:00 am, barely two hours after it began, it was over. Twenty-one ships were destroyed or severely crippled, Army Air Corps and Navy Aviation aircraft losses numbered 188 destroyed and 159 damaged. The death toll of American's lost: 2,403, with 1,178 additional wounded.

I asked the only person I personally knew who was old enough to remember: "Where were you? What did you think?"

My grandmother, expecting her first child, was living in Washington, DC, with my grandfather who was a civilian engineer contracted to the US Naval Department. They were quartered in a section of the District consisting of "little row houses" that were shared as mini-apartments with another family living either below or above, on a separate floor. My grandparents, along with their neighbors, were listening to the Washington Redskins/Philadelphia Eagles football game on the radio when the news of the attack interrupted the broadcast.

Within three minutes, their phone rang. It was the Patrol Area Officer of the US Civil Defense telling my grandfather to report immediately for duty. Both he and his neighbor were Air Raid Wardens, and it was their job to maintain order on the streets in the event of an attack to our country. Considering this was Washington, DC, an attack seemed likely, if not imminent. My grandmother tells me she remembers being numb, and totally stunned at the news. She and the neighbor's wife stayed in the home, crawled under a kitchen table, and silently prayed. She recalls hearing planes take off from Andrews Air Force Base for hours afterward. Hours drew out to days, and this act rocketed the United States in to World War Two. The anger over such a brazen attack united this nation and ensured our commitment to victory.

On September 11, 2001, nineteen terrorists hijacked four commercial airplanes. For those of you reading this, we all know where we were and what we were doing when the news broke. The comparisons to Pearl Harbor were almost immediate. Yes, this was another act of war. The most recent estimates of the loss of life is close to 3,000 in New York City, 189 at the Pentagon, and 44 from the crash site in Pennsylvania. The United States united again to support the leadership of this country to fight the war on terrorism.

On March 8, Senator Hillary Rodham-Clinton (D-NY) spoke at a lunch in Manhattan's elite 21 Club. In the audience was the notorious, nefarious and utterly idiotic, Alec Baldwin - liberal actor from Hollywood. He posed the following to the Junior Senator from New York: "Senator, I want to ask you a question about the other catastrophic event that happened in this country before 9-11 - which was the election of 2000." Baldwin, apparently living under a rock the last six months, has on several occasions likened Election 2000 and the Florida recounts to equate the same level of "disaster" as the September 11 terrorist attacks. At Florida A&M University the previous week, Baldwin stated, "I know that's a harsh thing to say, perhaps, but I believe that what happened in 2000 did as much damage to the pillars of democracy as terrorists did to the pillars of commerce in New York City."

Mr. Baldwin, I have a question. Well, several actually, but I'll begin with "Are your bags packed, yet?" It seems ol' Alec threatened to move out of the United States if Bush was elected, along with several of his peers in Hollywood. Well? We're still waiting. Oh, but you didn't mean that really, did you? Just like he didn't mean it when he screamed - almost frothing at the mouth - on Late Night with Conan O'Brien in 1998 that Representative Henry Hyde and his family should be, what was it, stoned to death, Alec? I thought so. But, you were only kidding, right? Real funny. When asked about the comment, Representative Hyde replied, "I heard about it, and I'm sickened by it ... To kill my family because you disagree with me? Excuse me for not laughing. He wants my family stoned to death by a mob. Imagine if a Republican said such a thing. I don't find the humor in it." Ah, the compassion of the left.

The claim by Baldwin, and some other loonies on the left, that a monumental disaster occurred of epic proportions just because your "guy" didn't get duly and properly elected is the pure definition of insanity. The last time anyone looked, no one died at the polling booths, no terrorist activity took place, and no bombs fell from the sky. Palm Beach County and Miami-Dade are still in one piece. On the other hand, Ground Zero is still smoldering. Over three thousand people are gone. Hundreds of firefighters, rescue workers, and cops won't ever see their families again. Our military servicemen and women are, right now, engaged in battle in Afghanistan. By the way Alec, they're over there defending your right to scream, froth, and blather on senselessly.

In the recent Hollywood epic, Pearl Harbor, Baldwin portrayed Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle, Medal of Honor recipient and hero of the "30 Seconds Over Tokyo" bombing raid on April 18, 1942, America’s first response to Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. Isn't that a bit ironic? How much was that paycheck, Alec?

Maybe Baldwin should have a talk with my grandmother about the definition of a disaster. She miscarried a week after the attack on Pearl Harbor.


© 2002 Lori Cutshall

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