Is America returning to a pre-9-11 mentality?

by Chuck Norris

Is America returning to a pre-9-11 mentality?

For better or worse, we have new Washington leadership and a new direction for America.

It’s a softer and relational Washington, with whom international bonds are more important than national borders and boundaries. It’s a more secular Wash- ington, which says that the country is no longer a “Christian nation.” It’s a more liberal Washington; it has enacted more left-leaning legislation in its first year than any previous administration.

It’s a more generous Washington, from whom handouts, bailouts and borrow- ing are granted and given at record- breaking political speed.

But my greatest concern, I must confess, is that it’s a kinder and gentler Washington, to whom the global war on terror has turned into an “overseas contingency operation.” That kinder and gentler Washington begs the question, “Are we returning to a pre-9-11 mentality?” Pondering the answer prompts a pre-9-11 memory in which I fought that form of complacency via one of my television movies.

In 2000, I had starred in a CBS mov- ie of the week, called The President’s Man, which garnered high ratings for the network. I played Joshua McCord, the president’s secret agent who masquerades as a university professor between assignments. Two years later, the network wanted another film with me playing the same character.

During the time I was trying to come up with a story idea for the movie, my wife Gena and I had dinner in Dallas with our friends, one being a senator from Texas. I asked the senator what she thought was the greatest threat to America.

“Terrorism,” she replied straightfor- wardly. “Our greatest fear is someone like Osama bin Laden sneaking a nuclear weapon into our country.” She explained that we had allowed our nation to become vulnerable to such an attack. “During thelast eight years, under President Clinton’s administration, oursecurity measures and enforcement personnel have been drasticallyreduced,” she said. “That concerns me.”

Itconcerned me, too, and I thought that I might be able to shed somelight on the problem. After dinner, I called my brother Aaron and toldhim to get our scriptwriters to my house first thing in the morning. “Ithink I have the storyline for The President’s Man,” I told him.

Thestory we developed involved a bin Laden-type terrorist who contacts thepresident of the United States and threatens to escalate terrorism allover the world unless his holy warriors, incarcerated for theirinvolvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, are released. Ofcourse, the president refuses to give in to his demands.

Inour story, a nuclear weapon is indeed sneaked into the United States.The president is threatened and told that the nuclear weapon will bedetonated if the holy warriors are not released.

That’swhen I come into the picture, as the president’s main man. I sneak intoAfghanistan, where the lead terrorist is hiding out. I kidnap him andbring him back to the United States for trial.

Thatwould be coincidental enough, but it’s even more so considering thetiming of the movie’s release and the rest of the story!

Interestingly, my conversation with the senator took place nine months before Sept.

11,2001. I had finished my last episode of “Walker, Texas Ranger” in Aprilof that year and then plunged right into working on the sequel to The President’s Man inMay. As we made the film, we thought we were creating a fictitiousstory; we shuddered at the possibility that something catastrophicwould happen in our country.

Wedelivered the finished movie print to CBS Sept. 6, 2001, just five daysbefore that horrible day that none of us ever will forget. Ironically,when the print was delivered to CBS, the original title was The President’s Man: Ground Zero. After 9-11, we changed the title to The President’s Man: A Line in the Sand.

Aseerie as the juxtaposition of that script and that tragic event was,that was only a television movie. What our nation experienced wasreal-life. And the grief of those who still suffer from the loss ofloved ones on 9-11 is still more real than life itself. May Godcontinue to comfort them.

Ofcourse, questioning God’s concern when tragedy happens is a normalhuman reaction and understandable passage of grief (just as I did whenmy brother Wieland was killed, in 1970 in the Vietnam War). I learnedback then that it’s okay to doubt the Almighty, but staying there isdefinitely a dead end. If you feel stuck in your personal pain, Iencourage you to read my friend and best-selling author Randy Alcorn’sbrand-new book, If God Is Good, a genuinely encouraging readthat embraces struggle and offers real answers that help. (You canlearn more about the book, read an excerpt and order a copy at

Like many of you, I pray every day that nothing like 9-11 ever will happen again.

Butonly if we are prepared and our country seeks God in genuine prayerwill we prevail and possibly prevent another such tragedy.

Mostly,for the sake of those who still bear the grief of that disastrous dayeight years ago, I hope the present Democratic majority in Washingtondoesn’t drop its guard on the global war on terror. Otherwise, somedaymy television movie tragically may have a prophetic consequence.

Copyright 2009 Chuck Norris Distributed by