Like most kids, when I was a boy I would blow on a dandelion, make a wish and watch the seeds scatter in the wind. I imagined one of them taking root somewhere, along with that wish of mine.
If a child were to have wished for what is good in America to drift far away and take root, we can now think of Israel as the flower that has grown from it — symbolically enough, in the desert.
While this country was losing its courage to confront adversaries, its comfort in knowing God and its certainty about love of liberty, Israel was affirming all of that, and more.
If we have forgotten who we are, Israel could remind us. What should we remember of ourselves by looking at them?
1. Liberty is always at risk from those who would destroy it. Vigilance is essential.
Israel, a small country surrounded by enemies, has never been able to forget that its survival depends on identifying threats, believing they are real and acting decisively to counter them.
America is in precisely the same position — facing threats from radical Islam, an expansionist Russia and an economically malignant China (to name a few) — but our leadership appears to be in denial of all of them.
2. Peace always comes from strength.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu correctly believes that peace is the result of freedom-loving countries being as close to invincible as possible. Those who hate others respond to weakness with aggression, not empathy.
America, under Barack Obama, is dismantling its military and removing its military forces from breeding grounds for terrorism.
3. God and government are not enemies
Israel is not afraid to assert that its existence and survival are rooted in a belief in God and in God’s love of its people. They feel chosen.
America, under Barack Obama, attempts to ferret out any references to God in public places and extinguish them. Of late, we have recoiled from the truth of our manifest destiny to spread liberty around the globe, when we, too, have been chosen to do so.
4. God doesn’t do the work
Just because Israel is a nation under God, it does not behave as though its protection is assured by an all-powerful force. Belief in God galvanizes Israel’s own intentions and massive efforts to remain on the face of the earth.
America, under Barack Obama, has grown complacent, seeming to believe that there is no work left to do — by individuals or our people.
The great American writer Walker Percy wrote of the desert as purifying and of the Holocaust as the greatest test of a great people.
What is growing in Israel, fed by the blood that was spilled in Nazi Germany, could remind us of all that once grew here, and could still grow, again.