Land of the Enslaved and Home of the Wussy

Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight'
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming.
And the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Sure, it's a tune so difficult that opera singers quiver at the thought of singing it. Yes, its lyrics are confusing enough to result in many a sports stadium embarrassment. But the last line's question - "O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?" - is one most Americans pride themselves in answering with a resounding and patriotic yes.

However, I'm not sure we can still answer that question with a straight face.

Since 9/11, Americans have seen themselves as Gary Cooper in High Noon - proud cowboys standing up to thugs and villains to avenge the death of those who died. But, we seem to have missed a point in the analogy. When Cooper walks off into the sunset it's a celebration of tough and individual bravery. As Americans walk toward their promised sunset - one we're told will be free of terror as soon as we "win" the war - we do it while shuffling along in the self-imposed chains of irrational fear.

The whole point to terrorism is to bludgeon its victims into changing the way they live. The terrorists know the damage that fearful victims inflict on themselves is orders of magnitude larger than the physical damage they could ever hope to deliver. The object of terrorism is not to fight, but to use just enough physical force to make people cower at the thought of it.

Today, the star-spangled banner waves o'er the land of the wussies and the home of the cowardly. We've become a nation of jelly-legged, pusillanimous pussies who are cowed by a megalomaniac living in a cave. A man so scary that his chief terror weapons are amateur home movies in which he babbles asinine threats and predicts terror attacks like Nostradumbass.

In the face of this formidable foe we've happily gone along with any number of moronic tactics designed to make us safe, but instead enslave us. Through our own cowardice, we've allowed the terrorists to put us exactly where they want us - on our knees, whimpering for someone to do whatever it takes to make us safe.

Under the terrorist's red rockets and bombs we've allowed our Bill of Rights to become more tattered than the flag at Ft. McHenry. We've gladly accepted all sorts of expensive nonsense to protect us from the man in the cave. We've invaded countries, imprisoned people without trial, and run roughshod over ourselves because we're afraid of a skinny, delusional hermit. Without some rational rethinking of our War of Error, the terrorists will have won before we even figure out what the game is.

Don't get me wrong. Terror attacks are evil and vile and reasonable precautions should be made to avoid them. However, you are statistically much more likely to be hit by lightning than you are to be the victim of a terror attack. I light of that, trashing the Bill of Rights, confiscating toothpaste, and spying on our own citizens seems a bit of an overreaction. If we followed the same logic to avoid lightning strikes we'd all be wearing lightning rod hats.

No, make those lightning rod dunce caps.

I'd like to believe that the recent changes in the political climate will lead us to more rational terror responses, but I'm not holding my breath. And the reason I'm not holding my breath is because we will have to demand our leaders take more reasonable actions, something I see no evidence of on the horizon.

To effect change, we need to stop smiling and ignorantly agreeing to stupid and draconian measures simply because they make us feel safer. Instead, we need to raise hell when some asshat like Newt Gingrich suggests that maybe the First Amendment isn't all that important. We'll need to tell our leaders that taking our toothpaste away is as stupid as protecting ourselves from biological attacks with a trip to Home Depot for plastic and duct tape. We'll need to cast off our lightning rod dunce caps and stand a bit more like...well, like Gary Cooper, unbent by the forces of evil and ready to take our rightful place in the sun.

So WUSSIES OF THE NATION UNITE! It's high time we step out of our own fears and face the reality of the moment before it is too late.

The Poobah is a featured contributor at Bring It On!

And, sometimes dispenses wisdom at Less People Less Idiots

Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Saturday, December 02, 2006

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