Jan 162003

Because that’s what I am of course…

Last night I was told that America has changed since September 11th, 2001. I was told that the old way of doing things did not apply. That this was a “new America, where stuff can and will come get us from where ever it happens to be based.”

First of all, I want to address this myth of a new America. We haven’t changed. The only thing that I see being different now from the time prior to September 11th is that the government is a lot less subtle about the fact that they play games with our Constitutional rights. I see our leaders expecting us to blindly believe what they tell us in the interest of “national security.”

The most recent example of that involves, of course, the “war” with Iraq. Donald Rumsfeld said that the fact that U.N. Weapons Inspectors didn’t find evidence of weapons of mass destruction “could be evidence, in and of itself, of Iraq’s noncooperation.” So what they are saying, in essence, is that if you find weapons of mass destruction you go to war, but if you don’t find weapons of mass destruction you still go to war because not finding them just means they are hidden better than you expected.

In other words…Like it or not, kids, we are going to war.

But I was talking about the “new America.”

Are we a more religious country now? No. Church attendance was up after September 11th, but quickly dropped back to pre 9/11 numbers. The same thing applies to military enlistment. There was a lot of interest right after the attacks (people couldn’t wait to get over to Afghanistan and show Osama Bin Laden who was boss) but soon enough the interest went away.

Are we a more charitable country now? Not by a long shot. Here in Tampa, two local charities (Goodwill and Metropolitan Ministries) had to cut employees and programs because donations have dropped so much in the last year.

We’re afraid now. More afraid then we were before, if that is at all possible. Every night on the news we hear about some new biological scare, or that a possible bomb was detected at an airport. We’re told about how increased the security is at public events because there have been “unsubstantiated threats.” We’re told that Saddam Hussein, who during the Clinton administration had faded to near comical obscurity (and not just by me…I remember talking to many people about him during the latter part of the 1990’s in a “remember that guy? What a joke he was” fashion) is suddenly a bigger threat to us than Osama Bin Laden ever dreamed of being. We’re told that we should be willing to suffer “minor inconveniences” and give up some of our basic Constitutional rights so that the government can do it’s job and protect us from the bad guys.

Who are the bad guys?

Does anyone really know anymore?

I suppose it’s all worth it. I suppose that, in the end, in order to keep ourselves safe and protect the world from the evils of terrorists we need to go through all of this. We need to root out the seeds of terrorism and stop them cold. Bring them to trial or take them out where they hide. Just like we did Osama Bin Laden.

We did get Osama Bin Laden, right?

Didn’t we?

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