A bit of what might have been had American leaders in the 1950s had simply shown the "courage" of today's leaders in dealing with the threatened burning of the Quran by a small group of cultists in Florida.
LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS (AP) -- A city, state, and nation rest more easily tonight after the parents of black children scheduled to enroll at all-white Little Rock Central High School announced their decision to decline to enroll their children at the school in response to pleas from national leaders. President Eisenhower, Cabinet-level federal officials, military leaders, law enforcement and leaders of moderate segregationist organizations repeatedly urged that the families not engage in actions that would inflame the passions of extremist segregationist groups like the KKK by sending their students to the school. The parents declared that they would not enroll their children -- "not now, not ever" -- at the school in response to fears that extremist leaders would use the enrollment of the children to whip-up segregationist violence across the South.
The decision was widely praised, with Martin Luther King and Thurgood Marshall joining with Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus to comment the parents for their patriotic decision to not further endanger American lives by insisting upon an unwise exercise of their constitutional rights.
In response to the news, crosses burned on hilltops across the South in celebration of the victory. in addition, several black churches were bombed and over a dozen Negroes were lynched, by Klan members still outraged by the original plans to enroll the children at the segregated school.
Personally, I prefer the courageous course taken by national leaders over a half-century ago to the cowardice displayed this week. American leaders defended American rights in the face of extremist threats of violence, rightly recognizing that capitulation to the evil extremist threats coming from the mouths of moderate leaders who secretly supported the them would only serve to undermine American values and embolden the enemies of those values.
We can debate whether or not burning a Quran is an act that benefits our society, and urge that it not be done. That said, what we have seen in the past week, as our nations leaders publicly and privately pressured a fringe group of Americans to refrain from acting on their freedoms gave America's foreign enemies and their fifth column in this country a propaganda victory much greater than they would have received had photos and videos of burning Qurans been sent speeding around the globe via the internet. They now know that we fear them so much that our nation's leaders will crack down on our distinctive liberties rather than fight our enemies -- a sign that the jihadis have already won, and that we have already lost.