The life of a city and its residents is one typified by close contact. The rubbing, pulling, pushing, and shoving that goes on one must become accustomed to, whether by birth or by months of constant exposure. Most people grow up with an idea of personal space that is nonexistent in a city the size of New York. This becomes ever more apparent aboard the trains, barreling their way through the stagnant air of the tunnels or lofted above the street, packed fresh and full with souls to or from...wherever. Continue reading “Dissent is Not Patriotic”
Our country recently reached a crossroads. America now wields its freedom, swinging it to and fro in a maddening, destructive search for her enemies, rather than carry that freedom as a mantle of enlightened existence. Continue reading “Freedom is for Americans Only”
Last night, the dogs were howling, the sky was alight, and President Bush stared blankly at George Tenet as the Director of the CIA delivered his resignation in person to the Oval Office. Continue reading “The War Continues”
This past week, the Supreme Court heard two cases that will rank as among the most important in American history regarding the rights of the accused. Hamdi v. Rumsfeld and Rumsfeld v. Padilla deal with issues that are at the very center of our rights as Americans. Continue reading “The Verdict is Clear”
There is little doubt that George W. Bush is a man who believes deeply in his convictions. In presenting himself to the public and to his subordinates, he carries himself with an air of righteousness. He acts as if he believes angels perch on his shoulders guiding his holy crusade in the name of freedom. Continue reading “The Folly of Righteous Freedom”
Other than the possibility of going to Hell for being a non-believer, what is the single largest disadvantage to being an atheist? Answer: atheists lack the type of group cohesiveness that is typical of religion. There is no deity to worship, so atheists (for the most part) feel no need to gather and revel in their beliefs. Or is it non-beliefs? There are organizations that cater to the atheistic point of view, but honestly, what is the point in showing solidarity in not believing in an omnipotent creator? I see none, as do most atheists. Continue reading “A Godless Heathen’s View of the World at Large”
I cannot think of one American death in Afghanistan that was not meaningful in some way. The attacks on September 11th left no doubt of the need for an overwhelming response. The Taliban government of Afghanistan had made no secret that it was harboring Al Qaeda. We had known for years that one of the greatest recent threats to the United States had found a safe haven among that government of radical Islamists. When the death of Americans was no longer something that happened far away, but was something we watched live, the collective cry of anguish that the nation issued upon the collapse of the first tower was fed by an equally strong and instantaneous lust for revenge. It wasn’t a sleeping giant that had been awakened, but rather a giant that had taken its safety for granted. Only rarely before in the history of man could a nation feel as safe as ours. The nineties were not a time of untouchable tranquility for America, but it might as well have been. Having come out of the long nightmare that was the Cold War as the victor, it was only natural to assume the worst of times were far behind us. We had walked the razor’s edge of deterrence, and despite ourselves and our enemy, deterrence had worked. The world was now safe — for Americans, anyway. Continue reading “Meaningful Deaths and Those Based on Lies”
Every now and again the feeling will rise up, a little prick at the back of my mind to remind me of the times we live in. I find myself taking a morbid outlook at my surroundings when the feeling arises. I think of tactical vulnerabilities. I look around the train, or the station, or I gaze at the skyline and picture the scene becoming mangled and grotesque in an instant. But just as quickly as the feeling comes on, away it goes. It would be impossible to live in this city from day to day if I were to think about the inevitable. After all, the odds are with me. There are eight million people living in this city, with millions more visiting it every day for work or play. An explosion tearing its way through a bus, a subway train, or a crowded movie theater represents a grim lottery that only a few will lose. It’s the knowledge, that “it’s only a matter of time” mentality which becomes a strain. So the inevitable explosion, the inevitable carnage, the fact that this grim lottery is being played out despite the participant’s unwillingness to play, is ignored, otherwise I would think myself a fool every time I walked down the steps to the subway platform.