There are many divisions and fractures across the American socialscape but one that seems a growing divide is about the disturbing use of fear in media and politics to gain and keep attention.
It is a dicey subject, no doubt, because no one wants to jeopardize public safety or appear risky with the world terror threat. But it is way past time for honest dialogue about scaring the hell out of each other and calling it patriotism.
We are past another 4th of July and the Earth is still turning, the US Capitol is standing and walls around our military establishments have not been scaled by dagger waving terrorists.
“Americans need to remain vigilant to the threat of a terrorist attack heading into the Independence Day weekend,” Congressman Michael M caul, R-Texas, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee warned. "As we approach the Fourth of July, we're going to see a lot more of these (lone wolf-ISIS inspired) attacks."
"There's probably more concern now than at any time since 9/11," said Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., a senior member of the House Intelligence Committee who wants to add to the trillions of dollars we spend in the US to strengthen and increase its mass surveillance programs.
On CNN discussing the threats of July 4th terror attacks in the US, former retired Air Force colonel and Arizona Congresswoman Martha McSally, who said she knew of no specific terror threats planned for the July Fourth Weekend, slammed the Obama White House for "moving at the speed of bureaucracy," while ISIS is "moving at the speed of broadband" in its online counterterrorism efforts.” After raising big alarms and spreading the fear, the Congresswoman did the political about face at the end of the interview and proclaimed, “enjoy your holiday, don’t live in fear and let’s be vigilant.” Right, happy holiday, Martha!
All of this fearworks in the days before the fireworks across the media served to chill our sense of security and pour water on American pride. An article by author Peter Bergen said it best, “It's the week after July Fourth. And, yep, pinch yourself because you are still alive, as are more than 300 million other Americans.”
Since 9/11 we have had a continuous series of alerts and terror warnings by federal, state and local agencies all in the shadow of trillions of our taxpayer dollars hauled into the machinery of counter terrorism.
As a nation, we know that our strength lies in our fulfilling the promise of being a great America that is smart, healthy, prosperous and caring for the amazing graces bestowed upon us by our maker.
We do face risks, but the most imposing risk seems to be self-imposed fear. If you just look around online, you will see orchestrated measures to issue alerts and raise the specter of Americans being under attack around our most sacred of holidays that celebrates freedom.
Can we return to being a nation where common sense rules? Can we return to a belief in our fellow man? If we need vigilance, it is around our protections for liberty and freedom and not untethered surveillance and assaults on our privacy in the name of counterterrorism. It is understandable that no one wants bad things to happen on their watch, but it is incomprehensible that we would play into the hands of those who would harm us by making fear an unrivaled US commodity.
A fraction of the money spent on the unbridled militarization of our local police forces could be spent for smart techsters to keep our information safe and our reconnaissance reliable. We only aid and abet the terror movement when we extend fear. It may feel macho to flex muscles and show the heavy gear but, hey, that is so yesterday and this war for our freedom is a mind game and not one in which we need to be told by our leaders that we can’t best.
Continuing the conflict mentality only leads to greater chance of threats. Earning peace through knowledge and high-level performance on a new world stage must be America’s rallying cry.
Quit scaring us. It’s no way to lead. Former President Franklin D. Roosevelt warned us long ago that, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
The Peace Man