Since the explosions and crashes of 9/11, it seems that the only thing the Liberals and Conservatives can agree on is fear.
American politics has been running on the fuel of fear since the planes crashed into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and the field in Pennsylvania.
So afraid that “one of us” is a terrorist, we’ve given up many of our rights and allowed the government to listen in on our private conversations and emails; because of our fear of terrorists, we’ve killed innocent people in foreign countries — allegedly to protect ourselves at home; because of fear we have let government agents and low-level functionaries to put their hands on our children’s crotches and look at our naked bodies; because of fear we’ve given trillions of dollars to organizations that have brought us to this point and as a result our economy is about to implode.
None of it feels very American to me; none of it feels very free or very brace.
Jerry Nelson is a freelance photojournalist based in Argentina. Email him with story ideas.
Throughout history, nations that have been confident of their strength didn’t go around picking fights. The most powerful nations in history have won without firing the first shot. Nations that are confident in their security don’t compromise the legal rights of its citizens.
America used to be a great nation. What has happened to the America that the world used to love — even if some only loved it grudgingly?
It was always American self-confidence that led us to be respected to the point that other nations wanted to be like us. To enjoy our prosperity, our freedom and our openness.
In the twelve years since 9/11, we’ve tossed all that onto the trash heap and now, no country strives to be like America anymore.
Minimizing risk is what a sensible man or nation does. Trying to eliminate all risks is the action of a person — or country — that has become compulsive, scared, obsessive or all of these.
We need to start asking about the first amendment right of a Vietnam veteran who is now a member of the tea party and is on a government agency list as a potential troublemaker for being with that group.
We need to ask about the “inalienable” right of the small business owner to pursue happiness and be treated equally with others if his taxes are being used to bail out the bank that holds his mortgage but made worse business decisions than he did.
The use of force always reveals a failure of more preferable means. If our troops in uniform are truly fighting for American freedoms, then those freedoms must still exist at home.
However, apathetic, ignorant American citizens have given them up in exchange for “security and safety”. While people who are fortunate enough to stay at home while others fight abroad, we belittle their service if we are too lazy to speak out in opposition when our leaders ignore our Constitutional rights — and then try to tell us it’s for our own good.
Our soldiers, sailors and airmen’s sacrifice and bravery is pissed on by our cowardice at home.
America has become an obsessive, scared nation filled with obsessive, scared people. As our country has ceased to trust in the system that has provided us prosperity, we have given up moral authority and we condemn Syria for the very war crimes that we have committed.
We used to call America the land of the free and the home of the brave, but too many Americans are walking around now afraid of their own shadow and the imagined terrorist hiding behind every tree.
I’d like to see America get is’s swagger back.
We can swagger without shouting. We can carry the big stick and not use it and we can say “Hell no” each time someone in government reaches out to take our liberties away.
The risk of dying in a terrorist attack is nine times less than the risk of dying by suffocation in bed tonight. Too many Americans are willing to give up their liberty for their safety.
I would rather have the Bill of Rights than the extra 0.001% reduction in the risk of being blown out of the sky and I bet there would be millions of people like me.
In life there is no such thing as certainty. If you don’t want uncertainty, then you don’t want life. Americans have — until recently — always embraced uncertainty and taken a bold hold of life.
If the government is going to protect my life, it first has to leave my life alone and return the liberties that make my life worth protecting.
The tragedy of 9/11 was unprecedented and we acted accordingly. We were shaken and there’s no shame in that.
But ten years later we need to take stock at what we have done to our great nation and determine whether our actions have served us and will serve our children.
The terrorists took over 3000 lives. The loss was severe. Yet fewer lives were taken on 9/11 than are lost in just one month on the highways. Everything we have lost since then we’ve consented to lose and held our rights in open hands for the government to reach out and pluck.
It’s time to grow up America and take back your rights and liberties.
If you don’t, then the terrorists have really won.