Political Rants by Judy @ 7:36 PM
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I was going to write about Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 911. But last night I watched Bowing for Columbine again, and I started thinking about Michael Moore and the message he presents.

I don’t always agree with Moore’s point of view. His films are certainly one-side and his delivery subject to hyperbole. But, hey, in America he’s intitled to openly state his opinion just as much and as often as he wants, and if he can get hundreds of theaters to present it too then more power to him. There’s almost nothing that makes me as angry as hearing that someone is “unpatriotic” because they choose to exercise the right to dissent that this country is founded on.

Regardless of how one feels about Moore, however, one part of his message shouldn’t get lost in the shuffle: We are creating a nation of fear. How many people know that the crime rate is actually falling? You won’t get this message listening to the nightly news or reading the local paper. How many people around us are really other than good, law-abiding citizens. I’m guessing damn few.

And then there’s the Department of Homeland Security Advisory System. Reading Citizen Guidance on the Homeland Security Advisory System is pretty scary in itself. (Click on the link to see the pdf.)

At level “Green” — low risk — we should be creating an emergency plan and practicing it, stocking an emergency kit, learning CPR and know how to turn off our utilities. OK. That’s not bad advice considering that most areas of the country are subject to one sort of natural disaster or another. But are Police Services, Neighborhood Watch and Citizen Corps really the only places we can find to volunteer? What about the local soup kitchen or youth hostel?

At level “Blue” — guarded risk — we should do make sure we’ve covered level green, and add being suspicious of our neighbors (I assume the ones that aren’t “just like us”), making sure we report them to authorities. Oh yeah, and replace those outdated emergency supplies.

At level “Yellow” — elevated risk — we should re-check that we’ve completed levels green and blue, update our emergency plans and develop alternate daily routes to school/home. This last is always a good idea anyway if one commutes in traffic. I know a dozen ways to get to work. Oh… and watch those neighbors!

At level “Orange” — high risk — we should complete levels green, blue and yellow. Review our emergency plans again. Be careful (i.e. afraid) when traveling. Expect delays, searches and restrictions. But instead of turning our neighbors in, we can check to see if they need help. I presume the “bad” ones are off doing terrorist things.

At level “Red” — severe risk — we should complete levels green, blue, yellow and orange. Stay tuned for instructions from officials. Excpect delays, searches and restrictions. Be prepared to either stay where we are or leave. (There’s another choice?) Contact school/business before going in to find out their status. And don’t voluteer unless someone in authority tells us to. (No mention of neighbors. By this time I guess the authorities have hauled them away under the “Patriot Act” and they will never be seen or heard from again.)

In reading these, I’m struck by which items get repeated over and over: Watch for suspicious activities, and expect delays, searches and restrictions. In other words: Be distrustful of eveyone around you and don’t get upset when your rights are violated because it’s for your own good.

The Bush Administration wants us to be afraid. They want us to be very afraid. Why? hmmm… maybe it has something to do with those “delays, searches and restrictions.” Do you think a fearful populace is more likely to be compliant? Or maybe so we’ll learn not to trust our neighbors. After all, one is not likely to form a cohesive unit with those that one does not trust. And it does keep our attention focused on terrorists, rather than on picky little details like the economy and the abject failure of the Bush Administration to do anything constructive.

Hey… my neighbors on the left are a young couple with a small child. Yesterday they asked my advice about building a fence on our mutual property line. They want to preserve the wisteria I have growing on a trellis between us, so we discussed how that might be accomplished. Today they had a garage sale. He offered to sell his really cool classic car to my son for what is a very fair price. They invited us over for barbeque soon. Oh yeah, they’re about as untrustworthy as they come!

And the guy on the right side isn’t all that friendly. In the several years they’ve lived there, I’ve rarely spoken to him and never to her. And he wears his hair in an afro. I guess I’d better watch out for that guy, eh?

Sheesh. How stupid. My whole neighborhood is full of nothing but quiet, normal, “just folks” types. And I get annoyed as hell at stupid, unconstitutional searches and restrictions. (Try flying at level “orange” with a kid who sports a mohawk and full punk regalia.) And I think the Patriot Act is one of the worst atrocities ever foisted on the American public.

It’s damn hard to be afraid of anything except the Department of Homeland Security and the Bush Administration.

But, just so that I remember how afraid the “emergency management officials” want me to be, I’m including the HSA threat level on Persistent Illusion. Thank you to realThreat for the PHP script. They provided some pretty cool images too, but they were a little large for my space. So I made my own. I used Lucky Charms. They’re magically delicious.



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