As defined at Dictionary.com, "an overwhelming feeling of fear and anxiety" and/or an "intense, overpowering fear" characterize brand of the terror I speak of. Don Lutz, author of The First Ism, has written that such "terror" is "what one feels when being kidnapped or raped." Lutz goes on to list other terrifying examples:
"Terror is what poor people worldwide feel when approached by uniformed, armed men; what animals feel in research laboratories; what people feel when their families are faced with starvation; what a child feels when an adult starts to hit; what millions of families feel when they hear planes overhead; what fish feel when hooked in the mouth; what people fell under threat of having loved ones tortured or killed; what forest dwellers feel when the loggers come in to clear-cut; what people feel when they are threatened with invasion; and what animals feel at slaughterhouses."
You want to wage war against terror, why not find a worthy adversary? No need for shady FBI stings, unconstitutional wire tapping, or panic-inducing color-coded warnings that conveniently pop up at the most politically expedient intervals; the variety of terror described by Lutz above is genuine and it's endemic. Perhaps a big step toward ending the use of terror as a tactic would be to alleviate the feeling of terror triggered across the globe by the home of the brave.
It's noteworthy that so many Americans reflexively defend their (sic) country's rampant illegalities because they perceive these actions as falling under the seductive justification of "defending our way of life." But, if our way of life is so sacred, so ideal, so worthy of being defended by any means necessary...why are millions of us reeling from "intense, overpowering fear"? If the U.S. represents a superior form of society, why do we need so many homeless shelters, alcohol and drug rehab centers, rape crisis hotlines, battered women's shelters, prisons, law enforcement agents, and soldiers? Why does a sexual assault occur every two and a half minutes? If the United States of America is the world's shining light, why are its citizens compelled to organize movements to protect human, environmental, and animal rights? Why can't we drink the water or breathe the air without risking our health? Why do we experience "intense, overpowering fear" about being made ill by corporate-produced toxins and having no health insurance to deal with such an illness? If America is the zenith of human social order, why does its very name evoke "an overwhelming feeling of fear and anxiety" for people both here and abroad? Why does our vaunted "way of life" provoke terror both as a tactic and an emotion?
People just love to hear themselves say: "We're fighting to preserve our way of life." The U.S. constitutes roughly 5% of the earth's population but consumes about 25% of the earth's resources. Maybe "our way of life" makes us the real terrorists.
With the point of no return fading in the rearview mirror (or at least obscured by an SUV), the time is long overdue for all of us to recognize the real enemy is that which inspires terror...as in "an overwhelming feeling of fear and anxiety" and/or an "intense, overpowering fear."
Mickey Z. is the author of several books, most recently 50 American Revolutions You're Not Supposed to Know (Disinformation Books). He can be found on the Web at http://www.mickeyz.net.