Yep, it’s one of my famous political rants. Hold on to your seats!

It is quite clear, and has been for some time, that the terrorists who planned the 11 Sept 2001 attacks have won. Most are long dead, but the United States is at war on two fronts with insufficient resources to fight either one well. The world is in chaos financially, I believe in part because the emphasis on combatting terrorism by the United States government (and others) pushed everything else (such as financial decision-making and good trade treaties) out of the way. Individuals within the United States have been encouraged to indulge themselves in fear-mongering based on prejudice, leading to completely stupid over-reactions in many cases.

Here is the news story that triggered this rant: Family Grounded (CNN)

Now, I grew up as a child with a parent who flew airplanes. We always talked about safety issues on planes! I knew how to open an emergency exit by the time I was seven. I talk about plane, bus, train and boat safety with my own children.

And on the trip back home (the one in bad weather in the middle of the night), I reviewed safety procedures and the merits of sitting where we did (forward, next to the “door”/hatch that was only a few feet from the lifeboat pod), as well as the safest places to sit on an airplane…

Good thing I wasn’t wearing a veil, speaking with an accent, or carrying a non-Christian religious text.

The long and the short of it is, the United States is no longer a free nation, we are a fear-filled nation. People willingly gave up individual liberties and rights for the elusive promise of greater “security” and we are a few short steps from again putting citizens and permanent residents in concentration camps based on their ancestral or religious affiliations.

Wake up! Today we are no more safer than we were on 10 Sept 2001 – we are simply more frightened, more easily controlled and less likely to live “the American dream.”

Don’t like the situation I have described? Then be aware of your words and actions. Consider what you teach your children — are they watching you be generous of spirit and brave, or stingy and fearful? Do you cross the street when you are shopping and you encounter a person who is not as well dressed as you? Do you know your neighbors? Really? Which ones? All of them, or only the ones who look like you or act like you or worship as you do?

What makes the United States great — what made so many “western” nations great in the last century — was the ability of people new to an area to make their mark. We rejected the notion that only old blood was respectable and focused instead on the merits of individuals. Imperfectly, perhaps, we stood by the “proposition that all men are created equal.” And so, many immigrants and children of immigrants have managed to make it to the top of their professions, gain personal wealth, and become leaders in their communities.

I can point proudly to my own mixed ancestry — some came to North America in the early 1600s, others in the 1800s. Over and over, people left their homes to seek a better life on this continent. Over and over, they became productive citizens. The most recent was a grandmother who arrived in Chicago in 1931, with a suitcase and dreams, who managed to finish her own education when she was in her fifties and realize at least one of those dreams. She became a teacher… and owned her own home.

She lived the American dream.

But I wonder: will my children? Will yours?

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