EDITORIAL: A leader lauded

Regardless of your personal politics, the rise in approval ratings for President Bush since the Sept. 11 attack on New York City and Washington, D.C., has been nothing short of astounding. Approval percentages in the mid to upper 90th percentile may be unprecedented in American history-or at least since such numbers were gathered and quantified.

Without question, the president is riding a surge of American unity that has grown ever deeper and higher since Black Tuesday. But it is our observation that Bush’s ratings are more than happenstance. As a political leader suddenly handed the monumental task of unifying and directing a country through crisis, Bush has performed magnificently. He has been forceful when we needed assurance of national resolve and compassionate to help us process our great sorrow and loss. He has rallied the world behind a call to arms against terrorism.

How ironic that an electorate that once questioned his depth, his international savvy, and his ability to lead a fractious and divided country now give him unprecedented accolades for his performance as the leader of the world’s most powerful nation.

No one knows what the future will bring once national policy moves beyond the rhetoric of war to the reality of war. As American service men and women die in the president’s quest to eradicate an elusive and sometimes invisible enemy, we will see (1) how effective Mr. Bush actually is in leading the nation and the world through the nitty-gritty of the military and political campaign he has promised to wage, and (2) how genuine is the unity that the public has proclaimed.

We would do well to pray for our president and all our political leaders-and to pray for ourselves. We will need Divine wisdom, not scientific polling, to see our way through the road that lies ahead.

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