30 June 2002

The New Patriotism
I'm not sure what bugs me so much about the new patriotism that's sprung from the ashes of the WTC. I haven't added any new flags to my wardrobe. I haven't taped a paper copy of Old Glory to any windows on my house or car. I don't think this makes me any less a patriot than the masses who have made such displays.

In the weeks following the attacks I felt a heightened sense of community with my country-mates. Though I have to confess, one of the first things I did on the day of the attacks was to look up the number of people killed when we A-bombed Japan. I wanted to put this event in some sort of context.

That initial communal instinct was a natural one, I think. Sometime after that first month or so, though, I felt like it began to feel different. The entrepreneurs and marketing firms were in full stride to find the most profitable angles. The government was blowing the trumpets of the War on Terrorism. It just began to feel too managed, too contrived, too spun.

There was a lot of posturing. Threats were made. Tears were shed. And in the end - or should I say to date - not a whole Hell of a lot has really been done. We took over the weakest Muslim country we could find where - so it was said - U/Osama bin Ladin was holed up.

Much like the heralded War on [some] Drugs, we've declared War on [some] Terrorists [who most of the world agrees suck and don't control any oil]. Part of the problem, see, is that sometimes it's hard to tell the terrorists from the freedom fighters. I would think England considered the colonials who dumped tea in Boston harbor to be terrorists.

There's a big difference between the Boston Tea Party and the terrorists of today, but there are some parallels.

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