If there is one glimmer of good flickering in the darkness that has been this week in America, it has been the way Americans are pulling together.
Donations of blood and money are pouring in. Flowers and food are appearing anonymously on the steps of fire stations. U.S. flags rise in the rubble of lower Manhattan, shroud the crumbled corners of the Pentagon and flutter from trucks, bicycles and backpacks.
We have apparently rediscovered what sometimes seemed lost only a week ago: we are a nation, not just a country.
But there is an ominous shadow looming as we head into the weekend, and it is in the darkened faces and dour mood of those who made America what it is — its consumers.
It is on the backs of consumers and free markets that we have built the most diverse economy, the strongest entrepreneurial ethos, the most socially mobile society the world has ever known. It is this the terrorists want to destroy. Blood is their means, but not their end. Our way of life is what they mean to destroy.
We cannot let them.
Americans have shown how generous we are in recent days. Now there is one more thing we can do. Just as we rally around the flag, we can rally around the market that made us what we are. We can spend money.
In a memo to employees earlier this week, Ellen Beswick, Editor and Publisher of Virginia-based Intelligence Press, Inc., raised the rallying cry. She beseeched her colleagues to take "the one extremely powerful action that any American can take right now to stem the losses and get us back on track." She told them to buy something. Anything. A stock. A television. A five-year supply of toothbrushes. Whatever.
We should all follow Beswick’s lead. The best signal we can send to those who would bring us to our knees is a Dow graphic on Monday poking through the top of the chart — not unlike a giant middle finger.
Hans Nordemann, president of Norquest Capital, said it best on Fox News Channel Friday morning. "We need to go forward and show what we're made of," he said. "We need to show them that they can wound us, but we’ll come back stronger, not weaker. That’s an enemy to be fearful of: an enemy that comes back stronger."
So instead of staying home this weekend, go out. Take someone to a movie. Go out to dinner. Buy your kid a new toy, or your lover a knick-knack. If you can’t get out, buy something online. Send flowers to your mother. Order that book you’ve been meaning to buy.
And when the market opens Monday at 9:30 a.m., plop a couple buy orders on the table at Schwab or Morgan-Stanley. It doesn’t have to be much. Buy 10 shares of EMC or, better yet, 20 shares of Espeed, a spin-off of Cantor Fitzgerald, the financial firm that lost hundreds of its workers on Tuesday.
Each such act, no matter how seemingly minor, sends a message to those who would revel in our demise. It sends the message those who died this week — and are sure to die in the struggle now confronting us — did not, and will not, do so in vain. It sends the message that this country and its economy, a country of the people, by the people and for the people — to borrow one of our greatest phrases — shall never perish from the earth.
Scott Norvell is executive editor of Foxnews.com.