Friday, October 06, 2006

terror and stuff

Certain countries seem more likely than others to export terror as we've come to know it. There is a certain terror associated with the knowledge that we really can't know for sure when something or other is going to be attacked with bombs. Living in the US, we can of course make educated guesses at the sorts of things we are likely to see attacked, assuming another attack on our soil is likely to happen.

Certain countries seem more likely to have a population of scared people who are willing to put up with a lot due to the fear of abuse and death. Certain countries have this fear combined with another fear of invaders entering their country, of being caught between two warring factions that would each think they were acting in the best interest of the frightened party in the middle.

That frightened party in the middle probably wants just to be left alone to live his life. Or perhaps she just wants to live her life dressed as she personally feels is appropriate. Maybe they both just want to be. Maybe it the rock music they like. They certainly don't want a gut full of bullets from the local Islamic law enforcement club because they wore shorts on pants day. Neither of them want to step on a land mine or drive past the convoy as the IED goes off.

There are all kinds of terror. One kind stalks the streets with a gun at the ready, damning all who disagree with a particular translation of an esoteric text, carrying out sentences based on dogmatic judgements.

Another kind of terror sits in a whole other position of power. He runs an entire country through fear and intimidation, trying to convince us all that he is saving us from certain doom. His true desire seems to be power, and he will stop at nothing to attain this power. He too plays by the rules of an ancient text. His story has been told before, rising to greater and greater power on a wave of scare tactics and xenophobia. He buys friends at the expense of true safety, at the expense of the people and the land.

There was a time, in my younger days, when I loved to discuss my American Empire theory. I'm sure we can all say it together, the thing about all empires crumbling eventually. I loved talking about it and laughing about who would be against the wall first. But I've come to a point where I'm afraid we might have just lost something good. Our country had such potential there for a while, and maybe we still do. But given the power structure as it stands, regardless of the particulars of who holds which now, I think we might have finally gone too far.

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