Sunday, October 7, 2007

Something's Happening Here...

Does anyone else REALLY hate that "There’s no reason not to have a plan in case of a terrorist attack..." commercial?

The one where they have all those cute, wide-eyed children gazing innocently into the camera saying things like, "Mom? What should I do? Should I wait for you? Should I go to the neighbors? Should I get Tommy out of class?"

And then the concerned female voice comes on and says, "There’s no reason NOT to…"

Brought to you by the good folks at Somebody-or-other dot gov…

Maybe I’m one of those people who wants to live with my head in the sand. Maybe I’m one of those who wishes life was simpler.

Like it was 40 years ago when I was a kid. When the thing of which WE lived in fear was The Bomb. And the only realistic course of action in the event of that attack was to bend over and kiss one’s ass good-bye. Funny…at school, they did tell us to hide under our desks and cover our heads with our arms. Why? So the final image seared upon our consciousness wouldn’t be that of a young classmate incinerating before our eyes?

It’s hard to say how real the nuclear threat was forty years ago. Equally hard to judge the probability of a large-scale terrorist action on American soil today. There is the fact that the nuclear assault upon our shores never happened; and a terrorist attack, unfortunately, has. Then again, as the only nation that had ever resorted to that particular brand of mass-murder, we knew what The Bomb could do. We knew The Bomb, had it been launched, would be infinitely more devastating—perhaps even unto the end of civilization as we know it—than the temporarily paralyzing kick in the balls of the 9/11 terrorist attack. (My apologies to the families of those who died on September 11, 2001…but the body count on that day amounted to less than one-one-hundredth of the potential devastation of just one of the hundreds of weapons cached in the U.S., Soviet, or Chinese arsenals of WMD’s.)

I can only imagine how terrified my parents were by the fearsome weapons that proliferated following World War II. Weapons capable of destruction almost beyond their ability to comprehend. We were raised with that fear; yet, to a certain extent, we were inured to it. Life was what it was…we never knew the more innocent world our parents remembered. We post-war children of the atomic age learned to take life with a grain of salt. We arrived at the conclusion that, if the wolf is not at this precise moment crashing through the door, all is as well as it is ever going to be. We learned to live in the moment, because there was no guarantee that there would be another.

Forty years ago, Americans were fed a steady diet of hatred and fear of all things Russian, Chinese, East German, communist. "They" were out to get us. "They" were poised across the ocean, weapons raised. Covetous of our prosperity, "they" were ceaselessly plotting to conquer us, to take away our freedoms. I was brought up—not by my parents, but by mid-century American society—believing that crap.

Perhaps it is only with the perspective inspired by the most recent decade of American history that I have come to a new understanding. That I realize that there are those in power to whom it is a tremendous advantage to keep the populace in fear. "They want to conquer you. They want to take away your freedom. They want to kill you. We are the only ones who can save you from Them. Keep us in power and we will protect you."

So pardon me if I have a hard time believing that "Somebody-or-other dot gov" does not have something other than the best interests of Mr. and Mrs. Joe Citizen and their cute, wide-eyed children at heart…


  1. I don't think I have seen that commecial.

    ~make it a great day!~

  2. Oh, I have way too much to say about this.  Way too much.  I just had to delete an entire paragraph here.  LOL

    To summarize:  We're screwed.  But we shouldn't worry.  Life should be lived in the moment.  

  3. Amen. Keep us scared, keep us distracted, keep the money guys both parties are fronting for in power. Excellent post as usual. Unless it's a dirty bomb or some kind of germ attack, 90 percent of us don't have to worry about a "terrorist" attack from the outside. From the hired help? Now, that's another story.