My childhood neighborhood was vibrant with marauders, Apaches, bank robbers, and posses of boys quick-drawing plastic revolvers to fend off those dastardly villains. Those were days when kids took their cues from America’s global stature and John Wayne blockbusters: never did the world’s evil-doers prevail and every gunfight started with arguments over who had to be the German, Jap, or horse rustler; there wasn’t a boy not aching to be the hero–the G-man or sheriff, the frogman.
Pursuits and showdowns played out under the amused scrutiny of moms gazing through kitchen windows, women wise enough to understand they were raising the next crop of stouthearted American men. But America has sunk into a helpless abyss since moms dealt six-shooters, Winchesters, and muskets to their white-hatted progeny. Nowadays schools expel boys who dare mimic a pistol with thumb and forefinger while rabble march the streets chanting for death to cops. Children hardly venture outside anymore, much less gather to recreate Bowie’s valiant stand at the Alamo, and sports leagues eschew scorekeeping and celebrating winners.
Now the world suffers the shameful ramification of America’s timid demeanor: Muslim armies march, murder, and conquer while we dither and deny their danger. Far from a heroic superpower assuming John Wayne’s scowl while facing down the bad guy, we find ourselves little more than a compliant Howdy Doody.