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February 11, 2006

“We live in a different world now.”

In an article about his experience of being harassed by security for taking pictures at airports, Patick Smith writes of the phrase “we live in a different world now”:

Not to put undue weight on the cheap prose of patriotic convenience, but few things are more repellant than that oft-repeated catchphrase. There's something so pathetically submissive about it -- a sound bite of such defeat and capitulation. It's also untrue; indeed we find ourselves in an altered way of life, though not for the reasons our protectors would have us think. We weren't forced into this by terrorists, we've chosen it. When it comes to flying, we tend to hold the events of Sept. 11 as the be-all and end-all of air crimes, conveniently purging our memories of several decades' worth of bombings and hijackings. The threats and challenges faced by airports aren't terribly different from what they've always been. What's different, or “too bad,” to quote the New Hampshire deputy, is our paranoid, overzealous reaction to those threats, and our amped-up obeisance to authority.

The most important part of this is that, if our world is different today, it's less because of “the terrorists” than it is because of our response to them. Fear fear fear. I'm really no Hillary Clinton fan, but she sometimes cuts through the middle-of-the-road mediocrity of the “New Democrats” to say something that needs to be said, like this:

“Two weeks ago, [White House political director] Karl Rove ... was telling the National Republican Committee 'Here's your game plan, folks, here's how you're gonna win -- we're gonna win by getting everybody scared again,'” Clinton said. “This crowd 'All we've got is fear and we are going to keep playing the fear card.'”

The pattern is so well-established it's etched into our daily lives. I pray the Democrats will retake at least one house of Congress this fall if only to hold this administration accountable for all the damage it has done to our society and world.

*sigh* It's hard to to be so much of a pollyanna.

Posted February 11, 2006 09:04 AM | general politics

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