Several days ago I mentioned the impact that 9/11/01 had on me psychologically.
It was inconceivable to me that a person could be so unfeeling to take an airliner filled with innocent people and crash it into a building filled with thousands of other innocent people. And that sense of overwhelming despair only increased as we found out that it wasn’t one person but many. And the death count mounted, as those whom they left behind hoped against hope that perhaps somehow, by some incredible miracle, their loved ones had escaped the devastation and the rubble. But for most of them, their hopes would not come to fruition and they had to face the reality that they were gone forever.
The ennui that I felt I’m sure was shared by many Americans. And if there were one thing that helped me through it that came in the person of two individuals.
The first was President George W. Bush, (not one of my favorite people). But giving credit where it is due, when Bush went to New York, donned a first responder’s jacket and rallied the people of the city to press on, I believe that was one of the defining moments of his presidency and was a statement of his love for this country.
The second was Mayor Rudy Guilliani (one of my all time favorites). The Mayor not only had the Herculean task of dealing with all the turmoil, the heartbreak and the aftermath of the destruction of two of New York’s landmarks but he did so without giving any indication of feeling the strain from this undertaking and, most importantly got the job done.
Both of these men fulfilled their duty and went above and beyond the call of rallying us out of our shell-shocked state and proved examples of how the American people can rise above tragedy and regroup and rebuild. They were an inspiration – at least that’s how I viewed them.
One of the more popular current television programs is The Walking Dead. I inadvertently ran across it as I was surfing channels in a desperate attempt to find something that would be entertaining and stimulating. I had the show up for probably ten seconds when I saw a lineup of men, apparently kneeling and then systematically having their throats cut over a trough into which their blood ran. I happened to catch this episode not too long after the iconic picture of some Syrian Christians wearing orange jump suits were similarly slaughtered by ISIS.
I quickly changed the channel.
Now movies about zombies are nothing new. They’ve been around since I was a kid – although the preferred method of “zombie-ification” was normally caused by a spell or potion which the Haitian voodoo doctor had concocted. Today, we have managed to advance beyond herbs and arcane rituals and have been able to harness the power of chemicals, germs and viruses with the intent of weaponizing them. (Normally, the research is done under the much more noble guise of trying to figure out how to weaponize them so that if one of the “bad guys” weaponized them we would be prepared with an antidote – if you believe that story).
But what if, just what if, there were some virulent poison released on the general population which either decimated the population or transformed us into those flesh-eating zombies? Would those of us who might be lucky enough to survive such an attack be able to rely on the resources and people who head up government – or would we have to go it alone?
Or what if a far more realistic possibility occurred and those JV terrorists knocked out the electric grid? We’ve known that is a serious vulnerability and have known that for at least a decade. What is more disturbing is that we also have a way to fix the problem so that it wouldn’t cascade into a national power outage but have failed even to take steps to begin to implement that protection. And with all that knowledge, with all the money that Washington finds for pet projects, not one dime has been allocated to protect this vital resource which, if it were crippled, might result in the death of as much as ninety percent of the population.
The way in which the Obama administration has addressed every assignment thrown at it or which it has initiated does not inspire me with confidence. The mantra of Hope and Change suckered enough of us to hear a chord of promise which turned into a cacophony of pretense. And as I wake each morning with a sense of dread deep set in the recesses of my mind, I now cling to that campaign theme and hope that we make it through the next fourteen months and find a leader who will help us change back into a united country, strong in resolve and optimistically leading the world toward a new and brighter dawn.