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Susan Estrich
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Phoenix Rising


It was one of those moments. My son, a would-be engineer, saw it as a triumph of the very spirit of engineers: the can-do, we-can-solve-anything guts and genius that could figure out how to keep 33 men alive for two months while forging a plan to hoist them up from half a mile underground in a bullet-shaped device linked to a pulley.

I still don't know how they did it, but that wasn't what kept me glued to my computer screen. I couldn't understand a word they were saying, much less the mechanics.

For me, it was more a religious experience than a scientific one.

At a time when we see the value of human life cheapened every day — when thugs would kidnap a woman aid worker who spent her life (and lost it) trying to help others, when suicide bombers target innocent people, when every day brings news of horrors and threats too awful to contemplate — the world watched and wept as 33 men were pulled to freedom.

That is the world I want to live in, the world I pray my children will live in.

There was much talk about how the new president of Chile had staked his future on this rescue, how his advisers had told him not to promise too much, not to get caught creating expectations he couldn't meet. Politics. What else is new?

President Sebastian Pinera did it anyway. To quote my old friend Jesse Jackson, he kept hope alive.

Hope triumphed over politics and budgets and naysayers. Experts from around the world pitched in. Thirty-three lives commanded the best and the brightest. This is what human life is worth.

Thirty-three men thrown together by disaster formed a different kind of social network.

No "Lord of the Flies." No survival of the fittest. No every man for himself.

"No one wants to be first," someone said of the discussion of the miners about the order of rescue. Last was the position of honor, reserved for the leader.

The men in that mine were not rich or famous; this is a job for those who don't have better ones. Had they perished, few of us would have stopped to think about it, much less learn their names. We see it every day. If it bleeds, it leads. Terror alert levels. Senseless killings. More at 11.

And then there is a moment when the better angels triumph, when the president of Chile waves the flag of Bolivia as a Bolivian, trapped on his fifth day in the mine, is pulled to freedom while his young wife stands waiting for him at the top.

There are days when I wonder what has become of us. It's ugly out there, we say to each other. Man's inhumanity to man. Anniversaries of horror. People made famous for their hate. Kids without hope ending their lives. Sickness and sadness, cruelty and indifference.

Hard hats on their hearts, the Chileans sang their national anthem after the last man was rescued. The world let out a collective sigh of relief. The engineering worked.

This is what it means — what it should mean — to be human. In God's image, at our best. The strength and courage of the 33 are a gift to the world, ours to cherish or discard, ours to hold on to, to remind us that, yes, we are capable of something like this. This is what it means to have a soul.

It was a good week for the world. God bless.

To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at



6 Comments | Post Comment
Did you notice the president of Chile praying for their safe rescue? Calling for the ringing of church bells throughout the country to celebrate the success of the endeavor? Speaking passionately of his love of country, love of his countrymen and thankful for the support and hard work of so many throughout the world -- all without a telepromper? For that matter, did you notice that he did not hesitate to get help from mining experts from anywhere who could help. Let's consider our president's response to the oil rig disaster in the Gulf. Silence for days, muzzling the facts (as acknowledged by his own review committee), refusal to accept the help of tankers and skimmers with non-US union labor, closes down the industry with the loss of close to 100,000 jobs. So many lessons here for Obama to learn from but instead we get speeches about foreigners contributing to our elections and lack of transparency in contributions -- from a guy who accepted more than $40 million from credit cards about which he would check the country of origin. Didn't you even notice the difference between these two presidents, Susan?
Comment: #1
Posted by: Lesley Barnard
Thu Oct 14, 2010 11:27 PM
Lesley,did YOU notice Susan talking about rising above politics and factionalism? Put a sock in it once in a while, can't you?
Comment: #2
Posted by:
Fri Oct 15, 2010 3:28 AM
Anne, Lesley is the person that I avoid at church and feel guilty for doing it. I'd feel even worse if I stayed so I'll keep avoiding.
Comment: #3
Posted by: capiscan
Sat Oct 16, 2010 2:15 PM
Yes Susan, it is ugly out there. I did not hear or read one comment about politics during the entire period of the miners being trapped. The people of Chile watched the rescue just as we did and praised the people involved in the rescue effort. The President gave each of the rescued miners a big hug showing that he was as happy as them over thier rescue. Since he is not elgible to run for office again it definitely showed that he cared for his people.

Comment: #4
Posted by: Gene44
Sun Oct 17, 2010 1:31 PM
Nice article Susan. I understand why you do not like "the world" in the USA that ELITISTS, such as Liberals and especially Liberal Democrats, for the most part, have created.

It is sad that not too long ago America would be the most likely country where a rescue, such as the one in Chile, would have occurred. Today, America is the least likely place for such a rescue. America did not get here overnight, thus, I agree with Lesley Barnard's comment . . . one cannot take politics out of Susan's article.
I agree with Susan's article but I also contend that Susan and Liberals like her have created the problem of which she complains.

Why could the rescue of the miners not happen in America today? Because elitists Liberals and the government run media are always looking for ways to demonize the free market and big evil corporations for political reasons.
So how would that miner rescue look if it happened in America?

First, Obama and the government run media would demonize the owner of the mine. Obama would then start a legal investigation of the mine owner and extort as much money as possible out of the company.

Second, calls for more laws would be loud, attempts to understand the real cause of the event would be minimal.
Third, as for the miners, the first thing Liberals and Obama would do is separate the miners by race and sex. Heaven forbid there be one more black (or some other minority) that statistical numbers can justify for such would result in calls of racism and stories how such “minority” group is still victims in America. If any of the miners expressed conservative beliefs, the Obama administration and the government run media would investigate such miner and smear his name (like Joe the Plumber).

Such is just the tip of the iceberg and the list goes on and on.

Liberals have worked hard to polarize Americas and diminish the value of human life. Am I being too harsh ?
Consider the following:

The achievement that Liberals look to with the most pride is Roe v Wade and the making of abortions legal in America. The Alan Gutmacher Institute, a leading proponent of abortion on demand, claims that there have been more than 50 million abortions in the U.S. since Roe Vs. Wade. Liberals are PROUD of 50 million potential humans being eliminated. Indeed, Liberals are honored to have established a system so pro-abortion that a teenage girl, perhaps as young as 13, can go to her government run school official and get an abortion behind the backs of her parent.

Liberals allegedly base such position on the premise that women have a right to control what happens to their bodies and that a fetus is not a human and deserves NO legal protection. Although Liberals do not explain why such women cannot legally use drugs or prostitute themselves, or sell body parts, such as a kidney. Such laws controlling a woman's rights to her own body are ok but not when it comes to killing a fetus.

Such a position is particularly troubling when one considers the elitist Liberal's position on Bald and golden eagles. Liberals have demanded laws protecting such eagles as follows: Whoever . . . shall knowingly, or with wanton disregard for the consequences of his act take, possess, sell, purchase, barter, offer to sell, purchase or barter, transport, export or import, at any time or in any manner any bald eagle . . . alive or dead, or any part, nest, or EGG thereof of the foregoing eagles . . . shall be fined not more than $5,000 or imprisoned not more than one year or both. See TITLE 16, CHAPTER 5A, SUBCHAPTER II, § 668 (Bald and golden eagles).

Thus, under elitist Liberal morality, destroying an eagle EGG warrants jail time while destroying a human fetus calls for a badge of honor. Thus, Liberals clearly believe protecting a potential eagle (eagle egg) is more important than protecting a potential human (fetus). Indeed, some would contend that a fetus is a human.

But such human carnage pales in comparison to the amount of human suffering and death caused by elitists Liberals and their arrogant, “I am so much more enlightened than the average person”, attitude when it comes to DDT. Worldwide, a child dies of malaria every 30 seconds, thanks in no small part by the demonization of DDT by arrogant Liberals.Consider the following:

First synthesized in 1874, DDT's insecticidal properties were not discovered until 1939, and it was used with great success in the second half of World War II to control malaria and typhus among civilians and troops.

Spraying DDT in houses and on mosquito breeding grounds was the primary reason that rates of malaria around the world declined dramatically after the Second World War. Nearly one million Indians died from malaria in 1945, but DDT spraying reduced this to a few thousand by 1960. However, concerns about the environmental harm of DDT led to a decline in spraying and, likewise, a resurgence of malaria. Today there are once again millions of cases of malaria in India, and over 300 million cases worldwide-most in sub-Saharan Africa. Cases of malaria in South Africa have risen by over 1000 percent in the past five years. Only those countries that have continued to use DDT, such as Ecuador, have contained or reduced malaria.

So who demonized DDT? An Elitists Liberal.

It was the publication of Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring in 1962 that stimulated widespread public concern over use of the chemical. The book suggested that DDT and other pesticides cause cancer and that their agricultural use was a threat to wildlife, particularly birds. Its publication was a signature event in the birth of the environmental movement. It produced a large public outcry that led to a 1972 ban in the US. DDT was subsequently banned for agricultural use worldwide under the Stockholm Convention.

Restated, Carson was an arrogant Liberal with a strong need to feel superior to less enlightened people had DDT banned. The price of such arrogance … human suffering and the loss of human life (mostly children) of such magnitude it is difficult to overstate.

Of course, like the global warming hoax, elitists liberals have developed pseudoscience nonsense and false data to defend their position. But there is no real scientific data to support the ban on DDT, especially considering the loss of human life due to such ban. Additionally, those who support the ban are safe in their malaria free environment. The elitists liberal's attitude toward the ban on DDT would quickly change if their lives or the lives of their children became endangered by threat of malaria.

As long as we allow Liberals to define America, America will get worse, not better.
Comment: #5
Posted by: SusansMirror
Mon Oct 18, 2010 4:00 AM
I don't believe the rescue would have been attempted in Communist Godless China where individuals are not important. Yes Susan, belief in God above all is what's important.
Comment: #6
Posted by: Early
Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:06 AM
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