Is there anything more pitiable than a fool who fails to learn the lessons life has put in front of him? We would shake our heads in sympathy for a hungry dog who doesn’t eat his food. We would feel deep sorrow for a child who breaks his leg jumping off the roof, only to do it again the next day. If you’re going to go through life stubbornly refusing to gain any wisdom at all, even God Himself can only regard you with pity.
We wouldn’t put such an individual in charge of making our morning coffee, much less any task of greater importance.
So how has it come to pass that we’ve put a man like Barack Obama in charge of the United States of America?
Last Thursday, the president assured us that his military strategy against the Islamic State was a winning one. America, as usual, was in the midst of prevailing over evil. 24 hours later, he was forced to sit down and dine on those words as ISIS terrorists unleashed one of the worst attacks on Western civilization we’ve ever seen. But he must have covered the bitterness of his meal with plenty of sugar and salt, because on Monday he revealed that he had learned absolutely nothing from his mistakes.
“There will be setbacks and there will be successes. The terrible events in Paris were obviously a terrible and sickening setback,” Obama said at a press conference in Turkey. “There will be an intensification of the strategy that we’ve put forward. But the strategy that we are putting forward is the strategy that ultimately is going to work.”
If this was French president Francois Hollande at the microphone, we would simply shake our heads and maybe even laugh a little. How tragic, that the people of France entrusted their security to such a rube. But unfortunately, President Obama is our rube, and the gory deaths of 126 men and women were not enough to give him even the slightest bit of wisdom or insight. Once a man decides in his heart that he has learned everything there is to know, no progress can be made.
Over the next weeks and months, world leaders will discuss various ways to defeat this army of evil. Unfortunately, however, most of these leaders are possessed of the same disease that has infected our president. They may be willing to put more money into the fight against ISIS. Drop more bombs. “Intensify.” But they will not be willing to scrap everything, start over, and look carefully at their misconceptions about the world. They will continue to insist that success lies in persuading others, i.e., regional tribes who don’t give a damn about what happened in Paris, that they should do our fighting for us.
But enough about world leaders and their folly. We should reserve the shame we feel for President Obama for ourselves. Because if we forget the horrific lessons we learned on Friday – if we carry on obliviously and elect a president with the same foolish beliefs – then we are no better. If we refuse to let even the slightest bit of wisdom creep into our heads, then we may as well have died in that concert hall ourselves.
Are we alive, America?
Then let’s learn.
And let’s fight.