December 24, 2003

i’m dreaming of an orange christmas

Level Orange Christmas that is. Are you alert now? I certainly am, especially since they told us that this is a “true orange” level alert this time. I guess the other alerts were really “level peach”.

I went out to http://www.ready.gov just to see if there was a flashing orange light with some detailed instruction on what part I should perform in the fight. What I found was a website that hasn’t changed much since they first created it. Static web pages usually don’t and that tells you what you need to know about Ready.gov.

This most recent alert gave us some useful and specific detail that will thwart even the most ambitious terrorists. According to CNN: “There are particular concerns about Washington, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Nevada, a handful of other cities and two rural areas -- one in the East and one in the Southwest, officials said.” No doubt if I was a dairy farmer in New Mexico, I’d sharpen my pitch fork and stand a vigilant round the clock watch lest Bin Laden terrorize my milkers.

I’d be inclined to laugh at this stupidity if it were not so insidious. It is hard to know what is more tragic: the slight of hand that gets us to focus on the keystone federal cops and ignore the fact that the borders are still more porous than the US Tax Code, or the false sense of security that undoubtedly victimizes some people.

Or perhaps it is a bigger con game still? People frothing over REALLY ORANGE alerts are probably less likely to notice that the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan is deepening mess. Too cynical? Maybe, but I did a little informal website research as I wrote this post. CNN’s top three stories are related to domestic terrorism and the level orange alert. MSNBC: Two of the top three, with a side bar about Bin Laden. Fox News: both lead stories. At least the Times seemed a little more sane: one headline and another story link.

So much for the daily lead headlines about US deaths in Iraq.

I know a lot of people feel safer now that they are taking their shoes off in airports and the Presidential bunkers have been beefed up. No doubt some of the faux security has helped the economy begin its sluggish rebound. It just all feels very dirty and dishonest to me.

But that is about par for compassionate conservatism.

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