We must never forget the terrible loss this country experienced on September 11, 2001. As a country we were devastated by a horrible act of terrorism. However this essay is not about that event. I want to instead talk about the terrorism we have seen happen in the years since that dreadful day in our history.
I am more distressed and bothered by the loss of personal liberties and the loss of freedom. The Bush administration used fear and the event of September 11th to slowly break away the rights given to us by the Constitution. Since then using the excuse of 9-11 we have seen passage of the Patriot Act, wire taping, and a frightening rise in executive power not seen in more than a generation.
Bush speaks of his legacy being that he prevented another attack on American soil. I am sorry but that reasoning is spurious at best. The actions of the administration prove no more effective than my "No Bears Allowed," yard sign is why I have seen no bears in my yard. The domestic actions of the Bush administration have done very little to directly stop any attack. What they have done is create an atmosphere in this country where fear and ignorance is driving the common man. We have seen a return of McCarthyism. We have become afraid of and suspicious of our neighbors and ready to believe them to be capable of horrible deeds simply because they dont pray the same way we do.
As I grew up I heard about and studied about the McCarthy era, and the fear that drove our country. I was 33 years old on 9-11. And in the short seven years since then I have seen that same fear and ignorance drive us daily. Sadly we have also seen our country move from a powerful well respected and admired country to the bully of the block. This country has become abusive, hypocritical and arrogant. Currently our country is less trusted by a majority of the world than those countries we claim to be supporters of terror. We have shown the world that if things don't go our way we will take our toys and go home. I am saddened by what we have become.
One of my heroes has always been Robert Kennedy. RFK saw the same thing in American that I am speaking of here. His vision of where he wanted to take this country was unfortunately stopped before it came to be. One of the things that made me vote for Obama was how much he reminded me of RFK. Lets hope things will get better.
Too often we honor swagger and bluster and the wielders of force. Too often we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of other human beings. –RFK Cleveland City Club, Cleveland, Ohio, April 5, 1968