Who is in charge of America's Homeland Security?   The Democrats are sharpening tools to attack the Republicans for being inept at solving the Terrorist problem.    Both the Republicans and Democrats are taking charge of fighting Terrorism at the expense of the people.    If you were to vote on who is in charge of fighting Terrorism in your neighborhood, would it be on of the political parties, or, yourself, your neighbors and all the other Parents of Vigilance?


Thursday--December 26, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 470
White Christmas Shrouds Battle Over The Bones Of Terrorism
Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News


GROUND ZERO, New York City, Dec. 26-- Yesterday the beautiful white snow fell from the sky, blanketing New York City with the first White Christmas since 1909.   But it didn't cover the battle over the bones of Terrorism.   The blood from the battle oozed over the whiteness, soiling an otherwise magnificent and magical day.

Terrorism Battlefield

       For millions of New Yorkers still trying to distance themselves from the idea America is as vulnerable a target for foreign attack as is Israel or Bali or any other piece of terra firma or floating objects on the sea that Terrorism targets, the snow was a respite from a grueling 470 days of distance from Ground Zero, September 11, 2001.
       In a few hours time,  the flakes purified the past, washed away the idea that New York City is a bulls-eye, painted on the sights of every nuclear weapon held by any major country who opposes America, for New York City is an icon of Freedom, an example of where anyone from anyplace in the world can come and start a new life, free from despotism, rich in opportunity.

Purifying Christmas Night snowfall

       Just a few days ago my wife and I, and a friend visiting New York from Southern California, took the Circle Line from Battery Park and sailed over to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.   Our friend, Jackie, had entered New York harbor in the 60's as an immigrant from England.   Five years later she became a U.S. citizen.
        Jackie wanted to see the Statue of Liberty close up, and to set foot on Ellis Island where millions of immigrants passed through its doors to launch new lives, to create new homesteads in the "Land of Opportunity."
The bells of Terrorism ring loudly when you visit the archway to Freedom.   A thorough security check is performed before you can climb aboard the Circle Line ferry.   The last time I went through (the 4th of July), face recognition cameras took everyone's picture and flashed it back at a central processing unit, searching for the physiognomy of known Terrorists who might want to blow up America's icon of Freedom.

Friend Jackie salutes Lady Liberty forty years after her arrival in America

        It was a glorious warm day, preceding the snow.   The sun splashed off the water, gulls cawed, and 472 of us sailed to Ellis Island without a hitch.   
        Inside, we plugged in our ancestors' names, trying to recognize a name of some relative who packed up and shifted loyalties from one country to another--seeking to find the fabled "pot of gold" that existed in American opportunity.

Jackie and Lori at Ellis Island

         The photographs in Ellis Island showed the faces of determined people, pioneers who came here long ago to plant their seeds and spend their energies to build and develop a land where they had equal rights to all others, unfettered by their social structure or ethnicity, their religion, their creed, their politics. Walking through the Ellis Island museum, we wondered why anyone would attack America, would want to destroy the right to opportunity that so many parents chose to give their children, and their children's children's children by becoming U.S. citizens, and enjoying the full faith and credit offered by the U.S. Constitution.
          It was a moving experience for our friend Jackie, and a reminder to me of the rich cultural beauty of a country that comprises so many different viewpoints and talents.  It is no wonder America is the richest nation in the world, for it draws from the richest of all resources--all the peoples of the world who want what we have--opportunity for their children to become whomever they want to be.

Strong women arrived in America  seeking a better life for their children

        The bold women who came here many decades ago and dreamed of giving their daughters rights that only men enjoyed in their countries should be very pleased with the result.  The poor who came to seed the soil for their children's rights to be rich should smile as well.   None of those immigrants came expecting America to carry them to the pot of gold.   They came expecting the opportunity to earn it, a major difference from their original roots where no matter how hard they tried, their societies restricted their advancement, their equality.
          I thought a great deal about the immigrants as the snow fell yesterday.   I thought about the muscles they brought, the rugged individualism they expressed when they pioneered this country, never expecting government to do anything than to protect their rights to achieve on their own, only  at the expense of their brows and determination.
          Had they been told that government was in charge of their lives, would "protect them," and that government would be responsible for their individual and collective security, the immigrants would probably have run the other way.
         The countries they came from made similar promises.  Monarchies, despots--all centralized power structures--allege to be the "big brother" of the people.   Saddam Hussein boasts to all his people he is their "father" and will "protect" them.    Communism did the same.   The bigger government gets, the more power it sucks up from the people, the more "liable" government becomes for the "rights of the people," the more despotic it becomes.  Immigrants didn't need Harvard law degrees to know a con man when they saw one.   Had they been told America's Homeland Security would protect them from Terrorism they would have laughed.  That's what they were running from--government.  They were running from the lies and deceit of centralized power that by its nature robbed them of fundamental, individual rights to protect themselves, to be the "king or queen" of individual security.   

Trying to find information on  relative's arrival

       Over the years, America's central government has grown stronger and the people weaker.   As government assumes more command over the security of the people, the more castrated the people become in accepting their responsibility to protect themselves, and the more dependent on the "mother state."
          As a result, we find our nation fighting over the bones of Terrorism.   We find our government trying to take charge over the security of the children's children's children, as though government was the parent of all the children, its "father."
          Nothing could be more far-fetched.
          Government, at best, is only a hand-servant not a master, to the duty of protecting the rights of children.   That duty lies with the parents, the guardians, the loved ones, the family.
          Currently, the Democratic Party is preparing to battle the Republican Party for the next Presidential elections.    Their war chests are being filled and their strategies and tactics being shaped.  It appears the number one political club the Democrats will swing is the Republican's failure to protect America from Terrorism.  

         The White Christmas snow is being blotched with the blood of the Terrorist victims--political blood being gathered in buckets to be thrown in the face of the White House, an attempt to diminish the Republican's image as the "Terrorism Protector."  And, since George Bush has placed such an emphasis on Homeland Security in his politics, the Democrats may have found a vulnerable spot.
          Unless, that is, Americans stop thinking like slaves.
           Slavery, ultimately, is giving up the rights to one's security and being bound by the balls and chains of another's guardianship.   A slave waits for his or her master to act, and has no power to act in his or her behalf.
           Americans who sit around the dinner table or bar or office and ask, "What is government doing today to protect us from Terrorism?" or, more frightening, "What is government doing for my children?" is even scarier.
           But that's what Americans are doing.   They have abdicated their "rights of individuality" and turned their "power of authority" to protect themselves and their children over to the government.

Are we abdicating rights to the government?

           In today's New York Times (Dec. 26), Adam Nagourney details the strategy and tactics of the Democratic Party in assailing the Republican leadership's inept handling of the Terrorist attacks.  The article, titled "Eyes on 2004 Vote, Democrats Fault U.S. Terror Defense," is an outline of a white paper the Democrats are using to cripple confidence in the current White House, and, obviously, to extol that party's virtues on doing a better job.
          Leading the pack is Senator John Kerry who claims the administration has squandered a year since the attacks by failing to make "the preparations necessary to properly deal with an obvious problem of growing terror and the threat at home."
          Bob Graham, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee stated "The combined intelligence community says that there is a 75 percent or better chance that there will be terrorist attacks against the United States interests, including inside the United States, when a war against Iraq is about to achieve success."  Graham adds he's considering a presidential race.
         The bottom line is the our political powers are fighting over the bones of Terrorism to sustain or regain power.    Both assume that public support depends on which party shows itself as the "strongest leader" to protect the "people."
         That's where I have a huge problem, and where I believe every American should recoil as though they were holding their hand over a hot flame.   

Terrorism shoots the flame of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency

          Fighting Terrorism is not the government's job.
          This incredible fallacy that it is, is nothing more than a signpost that Americans have become so lazy that they no longer feel responsible for locking their own doors.   
           Terrorism, by definition, is about injecting Fear, Intimidation and Complacency into its victims.   There is no way on earth that any government can inoculate a society against Fear, Intimidation or Complacency.   It can only throw back the duty and responsibility to achieve that to the people.   It can tell its people that bombs and bullets are not the problem.  The problem is how we react to the threats of them, as a people, in our neighborhoods, our homes.
           Since the antidote to Terrorism's Fear is Courage, and Conviction to replace Intimidation, and Right Actions to offset Complacency, these elements of human character cannot be distributed by government.  They are entitlements given to use at birth, as human beings.   The best government can do is to enrich these qualities is to stop telling the public "we will protect you," and remind them, "you must protect yourselves, and we will help."
          Government is only a hand maiden, a servant to the people.   If it does the job of the parent--security--then it becomes the mother and father of the children.  No longer do the children look to their parents for authority and guidance, but instead to the government.    Our children have been brought up not to ask mom and dad for help, but to dial 911.   Mom and dad aren't Sentinels of Vigilance.
           The Democratic Party's strategy to attack the Republicans on this issue underscores the deep and troubling nature of Vigilance.   Is Vigilance a government responsibility or does it belong to the citizens?
           If Americans have become so Complacent as to assume the government is in charge of national security--the safety of each neighborhood--then we're in real deep do-do.

         When the immigrants came here and flooded Ellis Island, they wanted the right to protect themselves.   They wanted the right to be their own "boss," to rule their own lives, and to raise their children without the overseeing of government.
            Freedom was freedom from government--imposed government.
            Today, the Patriot Act is nothing more than imposed government telling Americans they cannot protect themselves, and therefore the government must.  
            That flies in the face of Ellis Island's legacy.
            It soils the snow of a White Christmas.
            Terrorism is about how one looks at his or duties to face bullies, nothing more, nothing less.   If children are trained to call 911 and wait around for the anti-bully forces to dash upon the scene, they are learning the wrong lesson.
            Instead, children and society--if it is truly free--must take upon its shoulders the Duty of Vigilance.  Each parent must vow to be a Sentinel of Vigilance and pledge to teach his or her child the qualities of Courage over Fear, Conviction over Intimidation, and Right Actions in the place of Complacency.  And, to do that in concert with the selfless goal of protecting the children's children's children.
           If the Democrats want to win the election, they will promote Individual Vigilance rather than try and to attack the White House as inept and position themselves as more adept at protecting the people.   If the Republicans want to stay in power, they will shift the emphasis of centralized Homeland Security from the federal level down to the city, the neighborhood, to the more than 100 million households.

A Vigilant White Christmas

         Instead of digging up the bones of Terrorism and throwing them at each other, Democrats and Republicans need to dig up the Shields of Vigilance and Swords of Vigilance and hand them back to the people.
           Then, a White Christmas will be truly white--for its purpose--purification of the bloody soil--will have been met.   Duty and responsibility will return to its rightful owners--the Parents of Vigilance, the Citizens of Vigilance, the Loved Ones of Vigilance.



Dec. 25--Merry Christmas to Vigilance

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