Friday, August 11, 2006

A bottleneck of mouthwash

The New York Times' editorial page today expressed an old idea (username and password for access to the free online portions of NYT required) in a new, refreshing way. The Times' candor spoke for me, anyway, and, I imagine, managed to communicate a sentiment coursing through many Americans' veins. And that sentiment goes something like this: Stop labeling ordinary, everyday Democratic voters as political operatives of the highest liberal-commie order who would rather capitulate to crazy suicide bombers than uphold our national ideals. Divisive politics no longer cut down our national fabric in the abstract sense; they destroy our nation in the tangible sense. Our five-year-old War on Terror demands cooperation. Now.

The message is obvious to anyone who wants the United States to retain any positive remnants left of its international reputution, and the sentiment that we need to work together in this War on Terror ought to be anything but novel. And, yet, such are the United States' circumstances, forcing us to consider uncomfortable questions and realities: How much more obvious will neoconservatives' meanspirited, downright dangerous political games need to become before the Bush regime finally loses political power? We could argue that they've already lost political power and now merely cling to pure and simple power. What, then, will they do to retain their grip on this baser, raw power? The cynical among us would say we got the light beer version yesterday when air traffic bottlenecked over fears that little Lisa's bottle of Listerine® might in fact be a bomb.

Terrorists plan attacks on the West every day of the week. They work 24-7. Nobody doubts this, and for all their despicable aims, you've got to admire the irrationality that fuels their tenacity. But we have to wonder. We can be sure our intelligence and law enforcement agencies have cracked countless additional terrorists plots just as nefarious as this week's over the past five years. And we know many of these successful sting operations have matriculated behind the scenes without the attendant hoopla and hype.

We need to decide, as a nation, to put a stop to those who would capitalize on hype and hoopla over national security in the hopes that fear might prolong, in an election year, a monopoly on power in the most powerful superpower on earth.