TERROR OR VIGILANCE OF TIME by
Cliff McKenzie, Editor
ZERO PLUS 1335 DAY--New York, NY, Monday, May 9,
can be terrible. Ask the Russians. Ask me.
Vladimir Putin (right) and US President George W. Bush after
their meeting at Putin's Presidential Residence near Moscow
Russia is big in the news
these days. The celebration of the end of WWII some six decades
ago is stirring the history pot.
The History Channel has
been glutted with how the Russians raped tens of thousands of
German women and slaughtered countless soldiers and civilians
when they invaded the country and tried to repair through revenge
up to 28 million deaths(see
total WWII casualty list) of their own people fighting the
assault of Nazi Germany against their country.
American President George
Bush is spattered all over the news kissing up to his cohort,
Russian President Vladimir Putin. America and Russia were allies
in WWII and split up Europe, half of it ending up in the dark
and dismal cloak of communism and the other half flourishing under
the gleaming light of capitalism.
Today, of course, Russia
is trying to stand on its former empirical feet as a world force
while its internal systems crumble back toward a draconian state
of totalitarianism where leaders tell rather than ask the people
what the best direction should be for future generations. The
Russian's command of thousands of nuclear missiles left over from
the Cold War remain their major bargaining chip. Certainly, their
economy has no voice, for the ruble remains about as valuable
as an American Lincoln penny.
undergoing great stress
But, the issue of Russia
is not unlike the issue of myself, or any person or nation whose
infrastructure doesn't keep in pace with its environment.
The world changes each
minute. It's fresh and new on the one hand, and old and ancient
on the other.
Terrorism is one example.
For quote civilized unquoted nations, Terrorism seems like some
new threat to the security of an individual, a family, a neighborhood,
city, state and nation. America, for example, has shifted its
entire national priorities just to fight Terrorism. Trillions
of dollars are being poured into the defense of America from the
"threat" of Terrorist attacks, and the barks and growls
of politicians about the subject make it appear as though this
"new danger" recently burst free of its evolutionary
History, however, reminds
us that Terrorism has been, is, and will be part of our every
day lives just as ubiquitous as the air we breathe.
Look at the History Channel.
Not too many decades ago, Nazi Terrorists ruled the world. The
horror of the concentration camps and the ugly, vile belief in
the aberrance send cold shudders through the "civilized"
world. We fought to eliminate such horrid "Terrorism"
and our major ally in that battle became the next Tyrant Terrorist.
Mother Russia, under such
leaders as Stalin, took up where Hitler left off with gulags bulging
with emaciated bodies of work slaves who were not much, if at
all, better than any of the victims of the Holocaust.
Simultaneously, the Middle
East was brewing its own form of Terrorism, and Africa was continuing
a long tradition of homicide that thrives today. Of course, there
was the Vietnam War thrown in and the unknown atrocities being
meted out by the Chinese in a closed society about which few in
the West have any comprehension. North Korea was sucking all the
cash out of the people's pockets so its citizens could boil grass
to eat at family gatherings while Americans gorged their kids
on Burger King and McDonalds.
Terrorism isn't new or
old. It is.
isn't old or new......... It is
Imagine the difference,
if any, between a parent in North Korea feeding his or her children
boiled grass and an American mother or father stuffing fatty,
non-nutritious Big Macs and fries down the gullets of their children,
then taking them home and putting them in front of a television
baby sitter full of violent cartoons, and dumping them off at
a school where the teachers seek the lowest possible level of
communication for fear of offending someone by suggesting they
were "leaning disabled?"
Along this line, while
America is championing its Great Society and bashing nations of
the "underdeveloped" countries we're killing more than
20,000 people a year with drunk driving and maiming at least five
times those deaths as collateral to the drunk driving deaths.
In American homes Parental
Terrorists are beating their wives or husbands, abusing children
physically, emotionally and sexually, or, the worst kind of Terrorism--sheer
History is all about the
evolution of Terrorism and the battles civilization endures to
Life is too.
The other day I underwent
a birthday. Behind me were many years of battling all various
forms of Terrorism of the Self. Some of them I have checkmated,
others still loom on the horizon.
The individual human being
is no different than a nation, or all the sum of world history.
Daily, we face the battle
between Terrorism of Self and Vigilance of Self.
We can choose to grow and
evolve above our self-imposed Terrorism's by using the Tools of
Vigilance or succumb to them. Our resignation to the Beast of
Terror is to believe we will always "feel" the way we
do in a negative sense against the incredible forces of our past
that dictate we are "losers" or "failures"
or "not-as-good-as," or "not-as-worthy-as,"
or that our "sins" have been so vast and deep that there
is no "forgiveness," or that we "don't have the
energy" to change, or, that no matter what we do or attempt
to do in our life "nothing really changes" and therefore
we might as well accept our "lot in life" and sit in
our own piles of self-excreted shit.
Historians who harbor a
Terroristic Viewpoint may look at the effort by America to install
democracy in recalcitrant nations as nothing more than urinating
into the face of a hurricane.
"Better solve the
problems at home before we seek to plant the seeds of our own
ills abroad," is the common refrain sung by those who see
America's foreign policy efforts as nothing more than a diversion
from our domestic warts.
But in a larger view, if
America is willing to invest its efforts in stopping the Terrorism
of Self abroad--which is what democracy is all about--then perhaps
by stepping outside the "family circle" and promoting
values we may have rejected because we think we "own them",
those "old values" may suddenly be given new currency.
Democracy is all about
"self-rule" in relation to the benefit of others. It
is the practice of Vigilance, for Vigilance is about Courage,
Conviction and doing the Right Things For Future Generations,
i.e., the Children's Children's Children.
What separates Democracy
from all other types of government is that ultimately its focus
ends up on the owners of it, not those who allegedly granted it.
One cannot blame America
for America's ills and claim to be member of its Democracy, for
only those who live in a land ruled by totalitarian rule can point
fingers at their leaders and blame them for the cracks and flaws
in their way of life.
is about each of us being a Sentinel of Vigilance
Democracy is about each
of us being a Sentinel of Vigilance regarding not our own rights
solely, but rather the protection and preservation of future generational
rights for all those who have yet to be born.
This incredible difference
between ways of political life in the world is so blatantly ignored
it makes one wonder why the "free press" even exists.
If the press were free, it would extol the virtues of freedom
in relation to our duty to protect it for future generations--our
own and those of all children.
Time is neutral. History isn't cyclical.
It is alive.
It is Vigilant.
If one looks over his or her shoulder,
he or she has two choices. One is to look at the all the great
lessons life has laid at his or her feet, or, to succumb to the
Complacency of all the travails.
In other words, one can be victimized by
the past and surrender to its manacles, or, one can use the wisdom
of life's challenges and ask: "What Courage, Convictions
and Right Actions that benefit the Children's Children's Children
have I learned that I can apply to my self-governed life so that
others may benefit from them?"
On my birthday...more than six decades
of living...I faced those decisions. Would I see Time as a Terrorist
or a Sentinel of Vigilance?
Simultaneously, the History Channel was
broadcasting the history of human interaction to "modern"
Terrorism. It was filled with scenes of the horrors of war. At
the same moment, President Bush was jumping from one nation to
another promoting the idea of self-government.
He was, in his own way, promoting the need
for every individual to be a Sentinel of Vigilance.
At home, millions of Americans were passing
judgment on all varied facets of their lives--were their lives
Vigilant or Terrorist ones? In other words, were they happy, mad,
sad or glad? Did life have reasons to live it with zest and vigor,
or, was it mere drudgery, just another grain of sand in the narrow
neck of an ancient hourglass where the only destination was the
bottom of the pile?
I faced these questions.
After wallowing in the Terrorism of Self
I ended up voting for the Vigilance of Self.
must have a Vigilant Viewpoint for the Children's Children's
I began to realize that all battles of
life are for the freedom of self to choose, but to choose not
in relation to the self, but in terms of future generations.
If I feel hopeless and tired of fighting
for my own rights because for whatever reason my "rights"
seem to be constantly abused by circumstances, that only means
I am looking far too close to home. If I am a real human being
who is duty bound to leave this world just a little better for
the children of the future, I must lift my head up out of the
sand and look at the horizon and not at my feet. I must think
in terms of what is right for the children and their children
and their children--regardless of race, color, or creed--and then
act in accordance with that grander, more Vigilant Viewpoint.
Then, the Terror of Time has no exchange
If I believe in history, I believe that
the weight of collective human effort has inched forward over
eons toward a world where each and every human being is treated
with equal respect to his or her rights. This comes about over
time because to arm a child with self-government means one must
arm a child with the duty and responsibility to act in accord
with the future, not just the present.
I must see
through the eyes of the children
I must, therefore, see through the eyes
of the children, and do what is right for the future.
That means, I must not surrender to the
Terror of Time.
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