Well, by now pretty much everyone has weighed in on the attacks that took place in Paris – everything from lets all go kick some butt to the more fanciful live life as you would and don’t become what ISIS wants you to be.
Which reminds me of the Bush administrations comment following 911, that of don’t give terrorists a victory, live your life as you have.
Heady talk as everything changes with each attack, governments ramp up security, become more secretive, issues warnings, rights are cast aside, patriots wave the flag even harder and buy more guns in this country as well as others. Conservatives attempt to make political currency from the death of innocents and fear mongering.
It all sounds nice, this don’t let them win, don’t become what they want, and to a degree no one and no country should.
The bottom line though is no one is living as they did prior to 911 nor will they in the aftermath of Paris – they live now with the sure knowledge even the most innocent and intimate of cellphone conversations and web browsing is monitored and a fact of life.
That even the most innocent from a nursing infant, pregnant woman, or barely ambulatory elder can become a victim.
They live with the body count of innocent men, women, and children due to drone strikes, secret prisons, secret Kafkaesque courts, and the unrelenting conflict across the face of this planet.
They live with the reality that the Middle East is a smoldering cauldron of conflict serving at times as a proxy for super power geo political strategies and ambitions that could easily boil over to inaugurate an even greater conflict.
They live with for profit agencies like TSA and all the bullshit associated with political parties – but yeah, don’t become what ISIS wants you to be, become instead what the responses to them are making you and your country to be – or perhaps just issue a plea as Rodney King did that “can’t we all just get along?”
Terrorism is a reality that isn’t going to disappear as the result of rhetoric or feel good emojis, in my opinion ISIS needs to be wiped off the face of the earth and the approach taken by policy makers extant and future needs to be reflective that nowhere is it written that any nation needs to be a mirror image of any other, that no nation need be subject to the greed or adventurism of another.
Strength in diversity can often be the case, but strength in unity can be as well, and wisdom to know the difference when either is called for.
What is needed in the face of terrorism is a global Howard Beale attitude – to get mad as hell and declare we aren’t going to take it anymore and forego any pretense of political correctness.
As indigenous people the nations know all to well what terrorism is about, it began with the arrival of the first boat people from Europe and then became of the “home grown” variety following a few short generations as their numbers swelled.
We know the influences, the fears, deaths, anger, destruction, the erosion of culture, language, and tradition – of the coercion to become what others wanted us to be.
Veterans having fought in WW1 and assembled at the Veteran’s encampment in Washington D.C. demanding the benefits they were promised came to know this domestic terrorism when they were attacked by elements of the very military they had served under the command of Gen. “Black Jack” Pershing and George S. Patton.
The terrorism of the McCarthy Era and witch hunts that ruined people’s lives are well known and looked back upon with amazed disdain.
Generations of Afro American slaves and their “freed” progeny were terrorized.
The “Okies” during the Dust Bowl came to know what terrorism was as they were pushed off the land they had lived on and following their migration to California the terrorism of thugs, law enforcement, and associated legislators working in collusion with growers.
Japanese citizens of this country who were stripped of their possessions and sent to internment camps, Caesar Chavez and the Untied Farm Workers who sought nothing more than a living wage and decent housing also came to know terrorism of the home grown variety as did students at Kent State.
And now the environmental terrorism of corporations that threatens every living thing on this planet.
And so I say not this country, nor any other country within this hemisphere can claim the moral high ground, yet terrorists are friends to no one but their own and kill indiscriminately completely devoid of conscience and any vestige of humanity- in that they are a common enemy and should be recognized as such.
Stay strong France, stay strong Paris, and be well. Kick some butt, take possession of your lives, your country, and your future.