Dubya, of course, is reminding everyone how frightened they'd be if he wasn't protecting us, so we'll all vote Republican (dream on, Georgie). Ever notice how the threat alert level goes up when his poll ratings go down, and just before elections?
But it isn't only him. The San Francisco Chronicle had a big article today, Kids Remember 9/11, which interviewed four teenagers who were in grade school in 2001, and went on at length about how unsafe they feel now and how worried they are.
In fact, the kids came off better than the adults in that article; the African-American kid from Oakland frankly said he's more afraid of guns and crime in Oakland than he is of Al Qaeda, which is a perfectly rational point of view. The young woman said she now knows the world isn't a safe place, but commented that she would have found that out anyway. Unfortunately, one young man has bought Dubya's ridiculous claim that we're fighting the war on terror in Iraq: "It's to keep the terrorists busy so they don't come here." Still, he's only 15.
The quote that made me furious came from Joel McClough, 38, director for the Families Forward Program at the Institute for Trauma and Stress at New York University's Child and Study Center. Mr. McClough delivered himself of this brilliant thought:
"Teens today have to deal with the threat that they could be in danger or people they know could be in danger ... a danger they may have to confront on a daily basis and one that my generation, and people of the pre-9/11 generation, never had to.''OK, he's 38. By the time he was 10 years old, in 1978, nobody really believed the Russians were going to try to take us down; we were negotiating nuclear disarmament treaties. But I'm 60. In 1956, when I was 10 years old, we were having duck and cover drills in grade school, so we'd know what to do if the Russians attacked. Even ten-year-olds know that a school desk won't give you much protection from a nuclear strike. I worried all the time that the Russians might attack; I grew up in the shadow of an imaginary mushroom cloud. The Bay of Pigs standoff happened when I was 15. Going farther back, an entire generation of Californians lived in fear for most of World War II, wondering if the Japanese would invade; after all, they'd bombed Pearl Harbor.
It is the height of ignorant arrogance for this man to assume publicly that no generation of young people has ever lived in fear the way this one does.
The real truth is, fear is only a problem if you let it rule you. We are allowing our fear of terrorism to rule us in a way that is way out of proportion to its actual threat. Every time we take a car out on the freeway, we risk our lives at a level that dwarfs anything the terrorists can do; but we don't fear driving on the freeway. We put our children in the car and drive on the freeway, which is a much greater threat to them than than Al Qaeda. The guns that litter this country kill far more people every year than Al Qaeda; but we don't (I'm sorry to say) fear them, in fact we don't even respect them enough to take proper care with them. We must stop allowing our fear of terrorists to rule us; and when we do, the absurdity of the idiots in the White House will become obvious and embarrassing, and we will vote them out of office.