Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Journey of Fear Itself

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, I was out for an early pre-work walk. I lived next to LAX, and my path was adjacent to the runways. It was early, about 6 AM, a gorgeous day, and suddenly planes started to land coming in from the ocean. The flight pattern at LAX is this: Planes take off over the ocean, and land coming in toward the ocean. The only time this changes is because of severe weather.

I thought, "hmmm. Maybe a storm is coming in?"

And so I left for the office, stopping at the post office. For some reason, I didn't turn on NPR as I drove in. I just kept the radio off. The flags at the post office were at half staff. I walked in to purchase my stamps, and the clerk realized I was clueless. She told me that the World Trade Center had collapsed. For some reason I thought she meant the stock market, and she said no, that two planes had flown into both towers and the buildings collapsed in rubble. My knees buckled, legs became weak. And I had to get into the office, because I realized we would have clients stranded all over the South Pacific.

At 10:00 AM, we got a call from a friend at Qantas Airways: Laura Lee Morabito was supposed to have been on AA11, the first plane that hit the first tower. Her death was confirmed later that afternoon. Laura was a friend.

And while all this happened, George Walker Bush read "My Pet Goat" to school children. Even after he was informed by an aide that planes had been hijacked and used as bombs, he read to school children. Our nation was plunged into fear, and he calmly read to school children because fear is the weapon of choice for this administration.

Bush has used fear to support lies as he plunged us into war in Iraq, a war which has left more Iraqi civilians dead in three years than Saddam Hussein killed in 20. Bush has used fear to support his lies as he has determined that the Geneva Conventions don't apply to the United States. Bush has used fear to create the Military Commissions Act which he signed into law on Tuesday Oct. 17, 2006, a day which will live in infamy.

Our nation, consumed by fear, went to sleep on September 11, 2001. Fear exhausts the mind, the body, the soul. Fear tells people that they don't know enough to make sound decisions so they abdicate responsibility to those who are in authority. The problem is that this administration staged a coup in November 2000 when Florida was decided for Bush over questionable votes. This administration came into power over contested votes. Slowly, slowly, weilding the weapon of fear they have created a stranglehold on both the House and Senate; they have claimed "family values" as they behave like the thieves and terrorists they really are.

Last night, watching a clip of former President Bill Clinton, I was struck by how Presidential he still is. He said, and I paraphrase, that the problem with idiology is that there is no room for debate. When you have an idiology, you are "right" and the other guy is "wrong" and there is no room for an exchange of ideas, no room to grow, no room to compromise. Idiology is not healthy.

I believe that idiology is a form of mental illness; and mental illness speaks with an authority that sane voices do not share. Sanity sees shades of gray, and idiology and insanity only see black & white. And the idiology of THIS administration governs by fear, and with an iron fist.

October 17, 2006, Bush signed the Military Commissions Act and with that signature he shredded the Constitution. The Writ of Habeus Corpus was the foundation for all our freedom. The Writ of Habeus Corpus guaranteed the right of an accused to know what he or she is accused of, to a speedy trial, to representation by a lawyer. And now, now a person can be detained for no reason at all; without contact with others; without knowing what he or she is accused of doing.

And today we should all stand in fear of the dangerous, even criminal actions of the current administration. In less than 20 days there will be mid-term elections. I am fearful that they will be the last elections held in the United States before George W. Bush declares himself President for Life. Is that insane?

Review the last six years of his administration, review the slow shredding of our basic rights and freedoms. Then tell me he lacks the capacity to turn our nation into a dictatorship. Keith Olbermann, last night, said We have a long and painful history of ignoring the prophecy attributed to Benjamin Franklin that "those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

And I believe that the nation, asleep, has given up essential liberty. We now must bear the brunt of that weakness.


Helen Wheels said...

Jood, BRILLIANT post. I got chills. Thank you for telling it like it is. We have suffered a major coup and our country is going down the tubes. If these elections are fixed, the only thing that will get this madministration out is a revolution. Agh.

Our freedoms have been shredded, the Constitution is just toilet paper for the bumbleshrub and his sociopathic cabal. I am heartened by the unearthing of so many GOP scandals, which may hand the Dems the election, but we also need the Dems who are as corrupt as (and in collusion with)the GOP OUT. Or things won't change.

Oy. We have a lot of work to do, to right the wrongs that OUR apathy has helped create. Yes, I take FULL responsibility. I was asleep at the wheel until shrubco stole the presidency. It's partly my fault, and I want to try to make things right.

Frederick said...

The bottles stand as empty now, as they were filled before
Time there was and plenty, but from that cup no more
Though I could not caution all, I still might warn a few
Don't lend your hand to raise no flag atop no ship of fools

Ship of fools on a cruel sea
Ship of fools sail away from me
It was later than I thought when I first believed you
But now I cannot share your laughter, ship of fools

These people must be cast out!

DivaJood said...

Helen, I am getting more and more vocal, as we all must, in order to help restore our moral compass. I hope that a future President will overturn the Military Commissions Act, rather than turn it on the evil who allowed it to happen.

Fred, the only way they will be cast out is to take action. Vote. Sit in. Write letters. Be visible. Be vocal.

Tina said...

GREAT post Diva. Truly, you've outdone yourself. And while I was only old enough to vote for Clinton once, and I did not agree with some of his decisons, I would happily wait in the freezing rain or a blizzard to vote for that man again if we could. At least we knew he wasn't a moron. At least we knew he wasn't trying to scare the eyebrows off of us to make us submissive. And while I've always been a very pro-unionist Dem, I never once thought that I would actually believe the GOP is truly evil and trying to destroy the very fabric of America and our beloved Constitution. I never once thought I'd have to look at my country in fear. I never once thought I'd have to seriously consider fleeing this nation, or else dig in my heels and try to fight to win it back. IF we can take it back is what scares me the most. Do enough people care to get off their couches and do so?

DivaJood said...

Tina: "I never once thought I'd have to look at my country in fear." You, my dear, are like so many other Americans - we grew up with a level of comfort and expectation that slowly has been stripped away - beginning with the Reagan Revolution, because that's what they called it.

And now we live in fear.

pekka said...

Wow, this post of yours shook me to the core of my being! Brilliant, scary, sad and hopefully not toatally prophetic!

DivaJood said...

Pekka, I do believe it will get worse before it gets better.