On Friday, a million people lined the streets of London for the most intricately choreographed celebration on earth: a British royal wedding. On Sunday, throngs of Americans spontaneously took to the streets to celebrate Osama bin Laden's execution by the U.S. military. In this season of spring's renewal, the sincere fervor of both celebrations gives hope that Western civilization may not be heading for the junkyard just yet.
The future belongs to the young, and it was the youth in England and America who swarmed through the streets, passionately embracing the old-fashioned virtues of loyalty, faith and patriotism. What an unlikely surprise Prince William has turned out to be: despite his parents' shattering divorce and his mother's apocalyptic death, he somehow managed to grow into a fine young man who radiates strength, humility and tenderness. In the years since the collapse of Charles's and Diana's marriage, the British family has collapsed, too, beset by massive illegitimacy, drunkenness, and tawdry "yob" culture. Yet as William and Kate took their vows in church, glowing with the warmth of their love and commitment, millions of fascinated young people were watching and thinking, "I want that, too."
As for the young Americans who filled the streets chanting "USA! USA!" to celebrate bin Laden's execution, they have grown up in a world where Hollywood obsessively demonized the U.S. military, leftist politicians joyfully proclaimed, "The war is lost," and elevated Abu Ghraib into the crime of the century, and the Commander in Chief was reviled as a boob and a war criminal. America was racist, imperialist, an oil-hungry predator and something to be apologized for around the globe. Yet, there they were, waving American flags, cheering, and singing patriotic songs in honor of a cold-blooded killing by the American military. How did that happen? True, the college students chanting "Four more years" in front of the White House brought a distinctly political cast to the occasion; but the impromptu crowds in Iowa, Boston, Times Square, Ground Zero, and the red-blooded cries erupting at sports events throughout the land signaled something deeper may be stirring.
Well, as the proverb goes, no matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow - or so we can hope.