Wednesday, September 11, 2002

I know I don't feel any safer than I was a year ago, and it baffles me that so many people say they like the way Bush is handling the "war on terror." He's done nothing that makes anybody safer -- except maybe Dick Cheney, whom I imagine is right now hunkered down in his Undisclosed Secure Location, stroking a white Persian cat and muttering, "Yesss, my precioussss ..."

There's something about this whole creepy patriotic vibe that's weirding me out. I guess if it makes some people feel better, it's fine --there's little enough to make us feel better these days, goodness knows. But in general I don't think it's helping, and I feel like it's largely phony, intended just to make us feel better and nothing more. I doubt that any of the victims of the attacks felt like they were struggling to survive in the spirit of patriotism. Self-preservation trumps everything.

Ordinarily, patriotism is something that moves people to meaningful action, an effort to benefit the country or just the local community. We're being rallied by our leaders to go out and patriotically -- what? Not much. Only a couple of things I can think of, both of dubious value.

(1) Remain vigilant! And go about your business. In other words, we're on high alert, but there's little anybody can do other than keep an eye out for trouble.

(2) Don't question authority! By holding our leaders to account for their actions, or their inaction, we're only aiding the enemy. This sounds like an exaggeration, but our U.S. Attorney General has said so many times.


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