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Lost in America - One Year Later
August 20, 2002
By W. David Jenkins III

Well, here we are. Our neighborhoods have quieted down. You don't see as many American flags out anymore. In fact, you can see some of those cheap, cheesy plastic flags lying in the gutter now. They've fallen off the SUVs and rusty old pickup trucks that once bore them. The ones that still wave do so with faded colors and frayed edges.

They seem to represent a metaphor for what has happened in the last year to what that flag used to represent. The freedoms we used to take for granted, the freedoms we used to celebrate now peer fearfully back at us, frayed and faded. Wondering what happened. It's as if those discarded red, white and blue remnants call to the so-called founding fathers in search of an everlasting testament to the values that were once held so dear.

Life has settled down. We have, once again, become complacent for the most part. We still go to work, raise our families, and for those of us, who haven't been laid off in the last year, still go shopping. Some of us still get scared when we see a plane pass overhead. Some of us are still allowing ourselves to be unwilling victims of the pathetic and transparent scare tactics of an unelected body. Some of us wonder what life will be like when our young children grow up. Many of us wonder what will be left when our children grow up. Then there are those of us who recognize the last year's "Planned Paranoia Exercise."

The workers have stopped digging. The unfound dead will remain unfound. People continue to debate what will become of that hallowed ground. And we have questions which demand an answer. The surviving family and friends of those taken on that day will file suit against the secretive Bushies to demand answers which this shameless administration fears. We are still in mourning. And we are angry. And we don't know where our anger should go. But the events and the information from outside sources have given us a pretty good idea. The problem is, it hurts us as a people. It hurts to think that we've been lied to. And we are frustrated that so many others are willing to accept blindly anything they are told. And it hurts to think that the majority of Americans are still, to this day, not being heard from.

I can hear the career Clinton Haters now. Majority? What about all the polls that show that the majority of Americans still think Bush Inc. was sent from Heaven? I have three words for that argument.

Screw the polls.

We've all spent time voting on these ridiculous things. You can go on and on and vote as many times as you want. They're as accurate as a nearsighted sniper. We all know that the shallow end of the gene pool known as "Freepers" have nothing better to do than to suck down a cheap six-pack and hit the "Bush is Best" button on these polls. We all know that the Zogby gang has taken to picking and choosing registered participants due to too many people voting Bush as a repulsive excuse for a leader. And worse yet, now they want to charge folks to get the results of the polls they voted in.

But that's not what's important.

What is important is what has happened, in such a short time, to the basic principles which this country has stood for over two centuries. I have to wonder how those who tragically perished almost a year ago would feel about how their deaths were being used by those without shame. How would they feel about Bush Jr's "Trifecta" joke? How would they feel about John Ashcroft arresting and holding people indefinitely without charge or access to a lawyer in their name? How would they feel if they knew Bush Jr. just sat there in an elementary classroom for around 25 crucial minutes between the first and second strike of the WTC - and did nothing!! How would they feel if they could know they are pointed to as a reason for dismantling many of the freedoms we still hold dear?

And, knowing that NYC is by no means a conservative stronghold, how would a group of people, tragically lost and who most likely didn't even vote for this criminal, feel about their lost souls being used as an excuse for furthering an agenda that most Americans never wanted? I know that had I been one of them, I'd be slipping St. Peter a bribe to allow me to entertain these people with a nightly dose of Charles Dickens-type visits every night for as long as they live.

I keep hearing how America has changed this last year. I would have to agree, but not the way the media or Bush Inc. would have us think. But, oh yeah, we've changed all right. Intolerance for multiculturalism has increased. I've noticed in the little conservative, job-challenged pothole I live in, that the people who supported Bush-Lite before 9/11 are even more comfortable and sanctimonious in their ignorance of what's really happening.

Believe it or not, there are really people out there who think Bush was a leader before 9/11! I see it portrayed on a local web site and the Letters to the Editor section in my hometown newspaper. Absolutely mindless, really. They are a true testament to the effects of the audial pollution that is AM Talk Radio. But the people to the right-of-center in my little burg represent nothing more than a hollow and inane representation of grassroots conservatism. They are inconsequential and in no way represent decent Americans. They are hopelessly clueless and have nothing better to do than post their ignorant sentiments against liberals, minorities, gays and others. Clinton is to blame for everything, or hadn't you heard yet? Their ridiculous rantings would be humorous if it weren't for the fact that there are people out there so intellectually challenged they actually believe it to be fact. Compassionate conservatism, my backside.

Another way America's changed is that the Democrats in Congress have acted even more spineless than they did prior to September. Oh, sure, there have been glimmers of hope in the Pickering decision and the totally out-of-left-field vote for an independent investigation into 9/11 in the House of Representatives (thanks mostly to the widows of the victims). But for the most part, they've felt they had to wait until things got so bad for Little Bush in the public's eye before they would "stick their toe in the water."

If it hadn't been for Enron, campaign finance reform never would've come up. And if it hadn't been for World Com, we never would've seen any reform on the Wall Street front - which Bush immediately proceeded to dismantle after reluctantly signing.

Even Dan Rather acknowledged that members of the media were afraid to question this illegal administration for fear of being labeled "unpatriotic." Excuse me, but what a bunch of garbage. Being a patriot has nothing to do with dropping one's brain off at the nearest rest stop and buying the Brooklyn Bridge.

And then there's the farce that has become national security. Never before, in the history of this once great nation, has there been such a lame excuse to cover up the obvious dismantling of the very values this country was founded on. The leaders whom the minority of Americans s-elected have used these two words to try, sometimes successfully, to cover up the blatant rape of all the flag stands for. Worse yet, these words are used to divert attention away from the obvious "evil-doing" by a court appointed administration.

The Bush mantra is... we are going to arrest people without charge because of national security. We are going to rob you of your rights because of national security. We are going to tell federal judges who rule against us to kiss off because of national security. We are going to deny the American people their legal right to know what we are doing because of national security. We are going to invade countries without any provocation because of national security. We are going to prohibit investigations into the worst attack in our nation's history because it would compromise national security. We are going to use your tax dollars to torture people without telling you because of national security. And if you have any problems with any of this, we have the right to lock you up forever by calling you a "hostile combatant" because you are a threat to our national security. What it all boils down to is not so much protecting "national security" as much as it is protecting Bush Inc.'s security. See, the two have become synonymous but, unfortunately, there are those who are too "patri-idiotic" to notice.

Oh yeah, America has surely changed. And I have to admit. Bush was right. He really is a "uniter not a divider." He has managed, in a very short time, to unite the rest of the world against us. I remember saying that phrase out loud as I watched the second plane slam into the World Trade Center almost a year ago. People looked at me as if I were being heartless. But nothing could've been further from the truth. As a father I knew that some little boy's or girl's Daddy wasn't coming home that day.

What happened that day united the entire country for about 24 hours.

Then some of us had the backbone to remember whom we were dealing with here at home and, rightfully, started asking questions right away. And we didn't like many of the answers we found. And we despised those who would dare question our patriotism for merely asking "why" and "how?" But that's what the conservatives and other victims of Bushitis keep trying to do. Face it, folks, this goes way beyond any stained blue dress. It's just too bad that it's not getting as much attention.

The international community has all but told us "you're on your own" as Bush tries his damned best to expand his war. The impending invasion of Iraq threatens to light a match on the powder keg that is the Middle East conflict. The Europeans are constantly looking at and commenting on similarities between Bush and pre-Nazi Germany. The nations that stood behind us a year ago are wondering what the hell is wrong with the American people that they cannot see the blatant raping of what our country once stood for and what has become of America at the hands of a spoiled brat - all in the name of the "war on terrorism." The world looks at us and wonders how ignorant and complacent we have become that we don't fill the streets with protesters in defense of our endangered freedoms.

A year ago I wrote about the real heroes. The men and women at Ground Zero who kept digging. I said I didn't recognize the country anymore. I too was afraid. I was also mourning for the loss of innocent lives. I was scared as many others were. As many others still are.

But in the last year, I've learned not to fear the so-called terrorists as much as I do the court-appointed leaders that would hand them their victory. Little Bush said, over and over again, "They hate us for our freedoms," and he and his thugs have done their best to take those freedoms away.

As much as I grieve for those who perished in NYC that day I also wonder why Bush allowed those 25 crucial minutes pass between tower strikes without scrambling air fighters that were within range. Why was that children's book so important to him, knowing what we all know he knew? I grieve for the passengers of flight #93 who did their level best to take back control of the airliner - just before they were shot down over the green pastures of southwestern Pennsylvania. It may take 20 years to hear it said on MSNBC or CNN, but it will happen.

I grieve for those proud Americans who are too blind, deaf or just plain stupid to realize what the rest of the world recognizes what is happening in this place that was once called America. Those people who have taken the flag and tied it tightly around their eyes for fear of seeing that Bush has no idea what he's doing. Or worse yet, maybe he does.

I grieve for America. I don't know this country anymore. We have become victims of our own leaders. There are families, right now, wondering where their daddies are - compliments of the Loony Tune Rev. Ashcroft. We stand on the brink of nuclear - oops, I'm sorry - nu-cu-lar catastrophe at the hands of a proud and self-proclaimed "C student" masquerading as an elected official with a mandate. This same person has watched the economy of this country tank, and the only thing he and his political lepers can come up with as a solution to the problem is to surround themselves with the very leeches who have robbed hardworking American workers of billions of dollars and then call it an "economic forum."

Bush is right about one thing, though.

The events of a year ago should unite us. The events should unite us against all those who pose a threat to what our flag and our country stand for. We all need to stand tall and yell as loud as we can against those who would undo what the founding fathers put down in our Constitution. We need to fight those who "hate us because of our freedoms." We truly are fighting a war on terrorism. We need to declare war on and depose those who, in the name of their perverse ideology, would spit on the graves of those who tragically died a year ago.

Then we can deal with Al Qaeda.

Click here for the original Lost in America articles by W. David Jenkins III: Part One and Part Two

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