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Charles Jaco has written opinion and commentary pieces for dozens of magazines and newspapers. Each week, read and comment on a fresh on-line version. The discussion page enables you to share your view points world wide. If you would like to make a comment go to the ” Join the discussion” link below. If you would like to view past editorials visit the Editorial Archive.

Editorial 09/22/01

note: for links to resources on terrorism, go to NewsBoom

What We Do Now

The Old America died at 8:47am Eastern Time on September 11. It leaves one survivor, the New America, born thirty seconds later. Funeral services are ongoing. The eulogy came from a poem by W.H. Auden, written the day Nazi Germany invaded Poland to start World War II:

September 1, 1939
I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.

The Scripture reading came from Isaiah, chapter 61, verses one and two, the same passage Jesus supposedly recited when he entered the Temple in Nazareth:
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me;
because the Lord hath anointed me to preach
good tidings unto the meek;
he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
and the day of vengeance of our God.

The low dishonest decades of greed, selfishness, O.J., Monica, stock options, political division, trivia, profit, and narcissism are over. Restraint, self-sacrifice, determination, the common good, and vengeance have arrived. We have all been drafted. The killers will strike again, and again, on our home soil. They may use chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons eventually. More of our men, women, and children will die. We are now all soldiers.

How do we live on the front lines of the New America?:

Stop crying, stop lighting candles, stop singing Kumbayah. Replace grief with resolve and anger.

Stop being afraid. Disrupting our normal routines and our lives gives the terrorists a victory. Take a trip to New York. Get on an airplane. Do what you always do. Just do it better.

Remember Flight 93. The United Airlines passangers fought back and brought the jumbo jet down in a Pennsylvania field rather than into the White House. Be vigilant. Every time you fly, be prepared to fight it out with hijackers. Every time you’re in a mall, watch for suspicious packages and people. See unfamiliar cars or people in the neighborhood? Get the license plates and discriptions and call the cops. There are now 300 million of us in the Neighborhood Watch.

Get over yourself. Think of your family, your community, and the war effort first. Don’t whine about long lines at the airport. Don’t flip the bird at anyone in traffic. Don’t sell your stocks in a blind profiteering panic. We all swim or drown together.

Don’t be all that tolerant. Xenophobia and racism are unpatriotic. But so is blind faith in everyone. Some of the hijackers lived among us for months, or years, and no one turned them in. They managed to exist nicely within many neighborhoods, including Arab-American areas. Three African-American firefighters in Opa Locka, Florida refused to ride in their truck because it had an American flag on the side. They called the flag “a symbol of oppression.” The head of the NAACP in Durham, North Carolina said African-Americans shouldn’t join the war effort because “..almost every company in the World Trade Center discriminated against blacks.” The white supremicists on an Idaho web site are urging Americans to side with the terrorists “…in a common war against the Jew.” All of these racist fools put their own skin color above the security of this country.

Lose the fat. Keeping a sharp mental focus means keeping your body in shape. Besides, maybe someone else needs those extra calories. Physical fitness is patriotic. Get off your butt and start getting in shape.

Know the enemy. These holy warriors are not wild-eyed simple-minded dervishes. There’s nothing simple minded about them. Their goal is a world-wide Islamic state. It starts by overthowing the governments of all “corrupt” Islamic countries. It then proceeds to overthrow all non-Islamic governments. They hate us because we support Israel, because we’re perceived as anti-Palestenian and anti-Arab, and because we have an open, pluralistic way of life. There is no political accomodation possible right now. Go to the library and troll the web for as much information as possible on fundamentalist terrorism. (Click here)

Take a deep breath. We will survive and we will prevail. But it will take years, thousands of lives, and billions of dollars. Nothing will ever be the same again. Take it day by day. The future itself is at stake.

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