from a peaceful vacation far away from CNN, imagine
my shock when I got to the airport and discovered
that America was on Code Orange terrorist alert
-- again. "I thought the war on Iraq was supposed
to keep us safe from terror yet here we are on
high alert," I said to the person next to me as
we warily boarded the plane. "Bush has failed
yet again to keep America safe."
the biggest shock was yet to come. As we took
our seats and fastened our seat belts, the captain
announced, "According to new Homeland Security
procedures, passengers will not be allowed to
congregate in groups aboard the aircraft. Anyone
standing in line to use the lavatories will be
sent back to their seats by the cabin staff."
What? American tourists are no longer allowed
to pee? Unless we raise our hands in class?
of our government supporting and protecting us
from the world of international terrorism, Americans
since 9-11 are being treated more and more like
we ourselves are the enemy. For instance, the
mother of a 10-year-old boy was recently interrogated
because she tried to buy flight-simulator software
at Staples for her son's Christmas present. This
woman is a terrorist? Who will we be suspecting
next? Santa Claus?
after being frisked at the airport and kept from
bathroom duties, I finally arrived home and there
was an e-mail waiting for me from Joe Thompson
of Tennessee. He said, "The local sheriff here
is all ready, willing and able to follow Code
Orange procedures here exactly -- just as soon
as the feds send him the money to do it with."
Apparently, terror alerts are costing Americans
one billion dollars a week. And where exactly
is this money coming from? Apparently, it's not
coming from Washington DC. It's coming out of
the budgets of our local police and fire departments.
That sucks eggs.
immediately wrote Joe back. "Speaking of realistic
budgets," I said, "it's obvious to anyone who
has ever had to balance a checkbook that either
America can continue to enjoy the lifestyle that
we have grown accustomed to -- or we can occupy
Iraq. We cannot afford to do both." Not even if
we juggle Visa, Mastercard AND American Express.
is the answer to our national crisis? Let's start
by trusting in the awesome power of democracy
-- followed by a chaser of truth and fiscal responsibility.
To quote Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich,
"America has a higher destiny" than to just shot
and loot. We must not match and raise terror by
inflicting even greater terror, fear and death
upon an already-fragile world. We must combat
terror with hope. And with morality. And with
our top secret weapon -- democracy.
Posted: January 16, 2004