Ten years ago the American nation came under terrorist attack from an outside source. This was not our first experience with terrorism.
The British burned the White House during the War of 1812. The South seceded from the Union and comitted the largest act of terrorism against the United States of America in its history. There would have to be more than 2,200 recurences of the Twin Towers/Pentagon bombings of 9/11/01 to equal the population destruction of the American Civil War.
Timothy McVeigh, a home-grown American atheist, committed an act of similar terrorism against children, women and unarmed men in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. We have seen our terrorists.
Four of our presidents have been murdered on our streets. Reagan was shot. Ford was shot at but missed.
There have been other terrorists, other terrorist acts. I fear we shall see them again.
A terrorist attack is an assault from the common. A suicide bomber walks into a bistro and kills forty coffee drinkers. A person goes to work and does not come home because a jet liner flies into his buildiing. Common elements of ordinary life make us watch our fellows with new caution. We become a wary people.
In Israel last month I looked at a society so attuned to defend itself against terrorism is has virtually lost its ability to be amused or to amuse itself. Men and women carry firearms, they must, for when the shooting starts, it is not good to be the only one without a gun. Their society is so dominated by the need to protect itself militarily they literally cannot produce consumer goods and services (including housing and medical care) enough for their population unless everyone does with a bit less and gives a bit more.
Naturally, there are persons in that society who keep a lot more and charge even more. The Israeli middle class is being squeezed out of existence more effectively than if the terrorist societies around them had reached them all with bombs.
There were hundreds of persons in various Israeli cities living in tents outside public facilities to demonstrate their inability to pay the high rents charged by the rich. The doctors were on strike for higher wages. The Israeli middle class is in a mess. Their resilence, however, is historically demonstrable.
The American middle class is disappearing, as well. We are a hardy lot. Our demise is not easily brought about but the tax policies of the government, favoring the super-rich, and the elitist policies of the giant corporations, again, in favor of the super-rich, contribute to a steady decline in the number and safety of middle wage earners.
Americans need to understand it is not enough to hate the party in power or to cry for satisfaction in certain social issues. We have been captive to our hatreds and victim to our social weal too long. It is time to put America back to work, past time in fact, before we too become a society that does not smile.
Opinions expressed here are mine alone.