During the second hour of Constitutional Public Radio today (again, access it at http://www.askshow.com or from the listen link on http://www.1510wwbc.com/), there was a discussion on just what it would take to really wake America at large up to the threat posed by the Islamic Jihad. The end point being, some people believe that this country has a collective sleep disorder, that even a nuclear attack on a city would not be enough to create a prolonged, nation-wide interest and effort.
So, what would it really take? Five years and more after September 11th, 2001, when people said that we'd been woken up, aren't we really dozing again? Sure, if someone mentions that date, or says "Nine-Eleven", it will still spark a memory, but hasn't it taken on a surreal quality? It gets filed away as something that happened, as one of the chat denizens put it, to "other people".
Part of me says, "Hey, that's good. It means the terrorists failed to inspire true, lasting terror in people." But, at the same time, as the fear of possibily being the next "other people" to die in an attack faded, so, too, did the desire to actively prevent the possibility of there BEING a next time fade. Instead of being a desire of everyone, it's just become another aspect of the political landscape. When that happened, the words stopped rousing people as much. "Oh, they're just trying to score political points with XYZ constituency by taking that position." Maybe this is too honest, but it's pretty weak that defending the country from foreign attack even HAS two positions within the country, aside from "Hit 'em hard" and "Hit 'em harder than those guys wanna hit 'em."
The loss of lives and landmarks wasn't enough to bring our heads up for more than a short while, in the grand scheme of things. What do we have to do, lose the Superbowl and whatever city it's being held in, before people stop snoring and realize that it really wasn't a fluke, and they're in it, too? Is it really going to take a nuclear explosion on our soil to serve as a wake-up call? I'd like to think it wouldn't go that far, but consider:
Words aren't the power that they once were. We're inundated with them. Saturated with them. The internet is vast, newspapers can stack them to the ceiling, television throws them out all day long. Plenty of people are out there warning that, while we're here taking our afternoon nap, people around the world are serious about trying to do in as many of us as they possibly can. Some of these people who want us done in get on television in their own lands and say so, and we can see those broadcasts. And still, through all that, people don't believe. It's not that they don't hear it, or don't see it. It's that they're choosing not to see it, because it's easier to live life without considering it... and that's exactly the mindset that has enabled this enemy to go on as long as it has. We're bigger than them, and we could be meaner and nastier if we were truly so inclined.
People here didn't truly stir until they could see, rather than hear. U.S. holdings around the world were bombed and otherwise attacked for years before 9/11/01, but until we saw the images of that day, the alertness wasn't there. The true desire to protect wasn't there. And then, almost as quickly as it began, it faded away, back into the background, even as the fight was carried to the enemy.
Would we wake up any longer if tomorrow the Sears Tower was crashed into by another group of men bent on Jihad? Think about that one for a bit, and be honest with yourself. Consider it your unofficial homework.