Monday, November 08, 2010

A Nation of Fear

America seems to have become a nation of extraordinarily fearful people. I grew up during an era when thousands of nuclear missiles were pointed at this nation, when school children practiced crouching under their desks, when “civil defense shelters” were being built in every town and city, and no president ever talked about “keeping America safe.” Presidents talked about “stopping the Red Menace” and “defending freedom,” but the words “safe” and “safety” did not resonate with the American people.

Frankly, the leadership of George Bush and Barack Obama, with all the talk of “keeping safe” sounds to me like a couple of candyasses; like young and inexperienced parents over-protecting their first child because they have not yet learned that scraped knees are not fatal. They sound like they have no idea whatever what the hell is expected of them.

Getting another building destroyed is not going to kill this country, will not even risk serious damage to us as a nation, yet in a frantic attempt to prevent that event these two have us invading, occupying and bombing sovereign nations all over the world and trashing values which make this nation what it is. And just as an over-protective mother winds up scaring the shit out of her kid, these two idiots have turned this nation absolutely, neurotically insane with fear.

It astounds me that thousands of nuclear missiles aimed at us could not cause us to be willing to all but strip naked in public in the name of safety, but the fear of a few dozen guys armed with rifles and shoulder-fired rockets hiding in the Hindu Kush has managed to do precisely that.

Just what is this “American exceptionalism” that we are so proud of? We chant “USA, USA, USA” and wave the flag, and then we line up like cattle being herded into pens to be all but strip-searched in order to board an airplane. Have we no actual pride left? Or is all we have left this false form
of bluster that covers cowardice?

Update: I just had someone suggest to me that “crouching under desks” and “civil defense drills” bespeaks a great deal of fear, and I would say that they said just the opposite at the time. They said, “When something bad happens I plan to survive because I am tough, I am capable, and I know exactly what to do.”

The Bush/Obama form of leadership fosters a style that says, “My leaders can’t let anything bad happen. If it does I won’t survive, because I’m not capable and I don’t know what to do.”

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