Sep. 17, 2001: Some random thoughts as I try to comprehend the incomprehensible.

The terrorist attack was extremely well-planned and executed with deadly precision but the planners made a fatal mistake: Overkill. Had they thought about it, they would have exploded a few car bombs from time to time to let us know they were there and rattled our nerves as they have done for years. This action was over the top. Never, ever underestimate the enemy. The terrorists did and they will pay a heavy price. We are mad as hell.

Please spare me the rhetoric that bombing terrorists and the countries who support terrorism, makes us just like “them.” These people don’t understand rule of law. They only understand force. This is Pearl Harbor times two, folks. Our country has many wonderful assets but our naiveté is not one of them.

We don’t pay much money to police and firefighters and military but they are indispensable because they are willing to give their lives for us. The people we pay the most money to – athletes and actors – are totally irrelevant. They exist only to amuse us and to distract us, nothing more.

If the attendance at my church is any indication, a lot of people have found God since the attack. It wasn’t hard to do. God hadn’t been missing. We think we are invincible until we get scared and see how small and helpless we really are. It reminds me of my favorite piece of graffiti, supposedly seen on a prison wall: “God is dead – Friedrich Neitzche.” And just below that, another line: “Friedrich Neitzche is dead – God.”

Rep. Barbara Lee of – where else? – California, was the single vote in Congress against retaliation. She said she wasn’t convinced that military action would prevent further acts of international terrorism against the United States but she didn’t seem to have any ideas about what would. Lee represents that hotbed of good old-fashioned American virtue, Berkley. They deserve each other.

Looking through my files, I came across a clipping from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution dated July 7, 2001, in which cartoonist Mick Luckovich explained why he draws George W. Bush like a small child with big ears: “Most caricaturists start out drawing presidents normal-sized, but as they make mistakes and suffer under the weight of the presidency, they’re drawn smaller and smaller. W is the exception. He started out the presidency seeming not quite up to it, so I began drawing him tiny right off the bat. If he doesn’t start to grow in office, readers of my cartoons are going to have to use a magnifying glass to see him.” I was struck at the time that a guy who gets paid hard currency to draw pictures for a living was an expert on the American presidency. Now I hope he will draw a picture of himself with his foot in his mouth. I will supply the magnifying glass.

The only people who seem unaffected by current events are the Yuppie Boomers driving their gas-guzzling SUVs like maniacs on the freeway and tailgating anybody doing less than 80 mph. I guess they can’t be bothered.

My column a few weeks ago about being held hostage by the P.C. police drew a lot of response. The vast majority of writers agreed that mainstream America had lost its voice to small, vocal, special-interest groups and wondered if we would ever get it back. Lo and behold, the terrorists did it for us. Patriotism is back in vogue. National pride flourishes. We are unhyphenated Americans. But be prepared. The naysayers will return. Having people unified and feeling good about themselves is the worst thing that could happen to these mean-spirited, self-absorbed jerks. They couldn’t survive if they didn’t constantly remind us of our deficiencies.

I handled most of the events of the past week with a stiff upper lip, but when I saw members of Congress standing on the front steps of the United States Capitol singing, “God Bless America,” I lost it. It was a moment I will never forget. God bless them for doing it. It was great to watch our political leaders put their party politics behind them and place their nation’s welfare first. They meant it and we needed it. When – and if – things return to normal and they restart their petty squabbles, remember they have their outstanding moments, too.

Finally, never again forget that each day is precious and never again take one for granted. God bless America.