We Have Seen the Enemy...
By Timothy V. GattoThe United States continues to show its ignorance to the rest of the world by grouping everyone into friends, enemies, and potential friends or enemies. This translates loosely into categorizing the nations or cultures around the world into friend or foe. The worst part of this whole scenario is that many in this country actually believe all this rhetoric. We are a nation that has elevated national opinion into a fine art. In reality, we are a country that has a media that tells us how to think. It tells us what we like, what we approve of, what we despise and how we should act. We have become what we once hated. Politically correct Americans today have become the “plastic people” we criticized in the sixties and seventies.
This has made life easier. We can join the conversation around just about any water cooler and fit right in. We know what we can say safely and what opinions to keep to ourselves. We have developed an entire vocabulary that enables us to sound wise and learned while not really saying anything of consequence. We have come to the realization that the only people who have valid opinions are in the media. If it hasn’t been uttered in front of a camera or written about in a newspaper or magazine, it just isn’t a valid opinion and not fit for public discussion. We have changed from the most innovative and revolutionary nation on Earth from our beginnings, into a nation of that has perfected the art of “group-think”. We have perfected the art of acquiescence and learned the waypoints to the paths of least resistance, and we have done so willingly.
Americans have learned where to tune into current opinions. We have designated the spokesmen for the right, the left, and the vocabulary we need to mimic the same arguments we hear in the media, replete with the “buzzwords” and catch phrases. We have freed ourselves from the burden of having our own opinions and making our own decisions. Critical thinking is frowned upon in our schools and in our boardrooms. Thinking “outside the box” has become a metaphor for saying the same thing in a different way. Those that truly “think outside the box” will find themselves looking up the latest keywords to slip into their resumes.
How did a nation that took so much pride in lively debate and different opinions become a nation that questions the loyalty of people who have dared to disagree with the policymakers in Washington? When did political dissent become a reason to end up grounded at an airport because you found out at a most inconvenient time that your name had been mysteriously added to a “no-fly list”? When did the American government begin building FEMA camps and what exactly is their purpose? When did Congress become the rubber stamp for policies of reading the correspondence and listening in on the conversations of the American public?
9/11 was the start. It doesn’t matter at this point who was behind the attack on America and what the reasons were, the results of that day have been etched into the moral fabric of the American nation. "We have met the enemy... and he is us" ( http://www.igopogo.com/we_have_met.htm )
Indeed! We have certainly met the enemy and he does appear to be us, who could have known that in 1951 such prophetic words would be written almost sixty years before they came to be the truth? Our society has become afraid of its own people. Who is the enemy? Why were the Patriot Acts, the Military Commissions Act of 2006, the expanded FISA laws, The John Warner Defense Act (that suspended Posse Comitatus) and all of the draconian attacks on our privacy and our freedoms enacted? Is the enemy of today so much more dangerous than the enemies that came before them? Exactly who ARE the enemies of today? How did it come to be that Congress was threatened with martial law if it didn’t pass the first bailout of the financial institutions? Is radical Islam the enemy? Are America’s enemies our own dissident citizens? Is our own government acting contrary to our own best interests? Are religions becoming political movements? What exactly is “Christian Zionism” and why are religious leaders praying for Armageddon? What is so wrong with the planet that the only solution to its problems is its destruction?
This nation is clearly at odds with itself. Are we working towards a society that stifles political diversity? Are we truly afraid of our own citizens? While the rest of the world gradually eases religion out of governmental policy, America seems to embrace religious extremes. We criticize Islamic religious fundamentalists; we accept Christian fundamentalists and support a Jewish State that denies the most basic freedoms to its citizens that are not Jewish while they support right wing Jewish leaders that become more radical in calling for the destruction of everything Palestinian with each passing day.
These are truly the times that try men’s souls by the discourse of the public. These problems exist but they are kept out of sight by a mainstream media that tries its best to ignore them. It won’t be too long before we realize that the freedoms we have fought for and respected are non-existent. We already need passports to travel to the Caribbean and laws are in place that will require passports to visit Canada and Mexico. The truth is that Mexico is swiftly becoming a failed State largely because of the American “War on Drugs” that has made drug trafficking such a lucrative business that it threatens the government that tries to enforce nearly impossible drug laws demanded by the United States.
Our “War on Dugs” our “Global War on Terror” and our meddling in other nations politics and our military bases in over 130 different countries have made America a nation to be feared. Meanwhile America can’t even come to terms with the problems that besiege it. We not only refuse to come to terms with our problems, we don’t even acknowledge them. The worldwide Depression has become the focal point of our government and the people; while we watch out freedoms we have enjoyed for so long come to an end.
We need to confront the all the situations that threaten the way we see ourselves. We have seen the enemy and he is us. We may not have started this assault on America, but through our silence and inaction we have encouraged our own demise. America could also become a failed State unless we face our greatest enemy; ourselves.