Nearly everyone remembers where they were when they learned about the first planes that crashed into the World Trade Center tower on Sept. 11, 2001.
How much do you remember of the ensuing days? People in cities around the world set up candle memorials to the fallen.
They expressed their love and sympathy for Americans as well – at gatherings and in personal encounters.
That was the good part. But it was also a time when many of us began to get tinfoil hats, or dust off our old ones that had been in storage since 1963.
Sure, we had joked that “they” were trying to destroy Western civilization. IFO did it, too, but she usually added, “If I could just figure out which “they” it is that is doing this. Or is it more than one group?” You see the tinfoil hat beginning to appear there?
Her own foray into 9/11 paranoia started when she heard the term “Homeland Security,” which she instantly thought had an Orwellian 1984-tyoe vibe to it. Then she looked it up and reached for that tinny hat.
There was a ton of info on Homeland Security, symposia, web sites, groups based on the East Coast, many in the DC area. Sheesh! “They” were all ready with a completed plan, including the Patriot Act and the Transportation Security Act.
Americans were well prepared to accept intrusive and delaying “airport security” procedures that would have produced a revolution on say, Sept. 10. Then, to add to the general atmosphere of media hysteria, there were the anthrax attacks. You don’t even remember that now, do you?
Here’s another something that few will remember. We actually WERE having a war of civil disobedience that summer. Remember the Klamath Basin Crisis? Farmers in the Klamath Basin, which straddled the Oregon/California border, had had their irrigation water turned OFF by federal bureaucrats.
That decision was based on a federal court ruling that farmers’ irrigation used up water and hurt suckers, a type of lake fish formerly considered a trash fish that federal bureaucrats had poisoned out of the water to allow trout to thrive only a few years earlier.
That was one heck of a summer! IFO was covering the event for a Portland radio station and a regional ag newspaper. She made the five hour drive to KFalls three times that summer. Each time the tension level was higher. For details, see our post of May 7, 2011.
As the first decade of this century wore on, we did several stories for our newspaper clients about people, women mainly, who had changed their lives as a result of the 9/11 disaster.
One woman quit her city job and moved to a small town, where she started her own business and was able to feel happy and free again. Free from the claustrophobic city and free from fear of crime and terrorism.
Other people have awakened, too, though frustratingly slowly. But we don’t want to think ill of our own people, our own country, our own government. So we resist it. Until the evidence becomes overwhelming.
Now we are entering a really new era in politics. We can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard and read long-time observers say, “There’s never been a situation like this before. Not even Ross Perot (who was scary enough to the status quo folks) had this much upheaval.”
Most people have given up even making predictions, since every one since June has been overturned within weeks or less. They are just watching open-mouthed.
One thing IFO can say is this: now is the time to get involved personally. You don’t have to run for office or join a political party. But you should get informed. Read political blogs. Watch television, or if, like IFO, you don’t have TV, watch the Internet.
You’ll soon see who is blowing smoke and who is really intelligent about what is going on today. Then, get active. Call the offices of your local and national representatives. Their staff are usually very polite and nice.
Express your (well-considered, politely-worded) opinions on social media: political blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and whatever else is out there; to friends and relatives; to people you run into in stores or at the gym.
You get the picture. Get a feel for the temper of your neighborhood, your town, your state. Then do what you can to make sure the “right” approach prevails. You can guess what IFO’s opinions are, but she’s not going to share them with you on this post.
The main point is to get active, no matter what side(s) you pick. Just be sure you are backed up by reason and facts. You can’t go wrong and you’ll be glad you did.
JUST VOTING ISN’T ENOUGH ANY MORE!!!