Andrew Sullivan is 100% correct. How do terrorists win? By terrifying us. I, for one, refuse to be terrified.
Here’s the bit on terrorism:
“We are not afraid,” declared Prime Minister Theresa May after the latest Islamist horror on Westminster Bridge. She went on about the importance of being “normal.” It’s a very British response to terrorism. It’s called stoicism — a quality unknown, it appears, in the home of the “brave.” Perhaps its highest moment of sangfroid was when the IRA bombed the very hotel in Brighton where the prime minister and much of her cabinet were staying while attending their annual party conference in 1981. Thatcher herself would have been killed if she had been in a different room in her hotel suite. A leading cabinet member had to be hauled out of rubble. Nonetheless, the next day, Thatcher, utterly undaunted, got up and gave her speech — almost as if nothing had happened. A few days later, she insisted: “We suffered a tragedy not one of us could have thought would happen in our country. And we picked ourselves up and sorted ourselves out as all good British people do.” Keep calm and carry on, and all that.
Compare this with, say, the reaction to the Boston marathon bombing. An entire city was brought to a standstill and locked down, while the pursuit of a deranged, unarmed teenager continued. You can understand that, I suppose, given that the suspect was still at large. But to subsequently celebrate the event with the slogan “Boston Strong” was perverse. The truth was: “Boston Shit-Scared.”
The response of Americans to terror is to be terrified — 9/11’s trauma has never been fully exorcised. Until we get over that, until we manage to stiffen our upper lips like the Brits, jihadist terrorists will exercise control over the American psyche like no one else. We can do better, can’t we? If we want the Constitution to survive both Islamism’s threat and the potential response of a beleaguered Trump, we’ll have to.