Well, I was very youngI was about seventeen, eighteenand to be honest with you, I quite enjoyed it. It was exciting. The main thing about it was we expected bombing; wed been told for years that the bomber always gets through.
It has been nearly four years since 9/11, and the American government has shown much more interest in keeping its population in a state of paranoid narcissism than in instilling public resolve. Weve added two hours to everyones air travel time and confiscated a landfill of nail-clippers, even though its an open secret that baggage screeners are under-trained and over-worked. Weve declared open season on harassing, detaining, and extraordinarily rendering immigrants and foreign students, despite the fact that welcoming such pilgrims has always the best way to spread the modernity meme/virus that so threatens the jihadists. Weve made it politically feasible to discuss extra-Constitutional incarceration of U.S. citizens, as if this werent the gravest possible insult to every serviceman who gave his life defending "The Land of the Free." And were conditioning ourselves to accept an ever greater level of militarization and fear-mongering in every area of our lives, even though it in no way decreases the likelihood of a terrorist attack. This is not how you win a war. It is, apparently, how you win elections.
At the end of this month, Im taking my three-year-old son for a weekend trip from Seattle to Portland via Amtrak. As an urban resident in the 21st century, I fully expect to observe plenty of unattended packages and suspicious behavior, but I do not expect to notify the authorities of anything more threatening than an unsanitary restroom. I owe my son what we as a free society owe ourselves: the dignity to live our lives unbowed and unfettered by either the solipsistic fantasies of our enemies or the paternalistic bullying of our government.