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Article ID: 4689
Age Group: Adult
Posted: September 9th. 2002
Where The Honor Is...
Every day there is something that would make you afraid, and you have to try not to let it stop you."
"That's where the honor is. Honor is not in not in acting because you are afraid. Nor is there honor in acting when you are not afraid. But acting when you are afraid, that's where the honor is." -- (Lucille Clifton from The Language of Life; Bill Moyers).
This week marks the one-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on New York City, the Pentagon and Flight 93. The repercussions of that one day in 2001 are still very much with us. Many people in NYC suffer from posttraumatic syndrome. Survivors and those who lost friends or family members or co-workers try to both move on and to remember at the same time. Perhaps we all are struggling in that in-between place. Life does go on, it's true. But when your life has been touched by a tragedy that forever alters the course of your life, it is natural to feel ambivalent. Torn between honoring the past and looking forward to the future, we grapple with feelings of regret, of anger, of fear and of optimism. We exist neither there nor here but somewhere within both. And because we have not as yet completely recovered -- if ever we will -- I think that it is safe to say that things today are not as they once were. That is not unusual. Each day always differs from each and every other day. What is unusual --shocking even -- was the unexpected and sudden form by which we all were thrust into realms of unpredictability and targeted annihilation.
Since 9/11/01, the world has changed. We are less naive. We are perhaps more suspicious. But I don't believe that people have changed so much as the systems that manage people have changed. That is, the world's political and religious governments have responded to the 'crisis' of terrorism by imposing new laws or issuing new (or revamped old) directives. How these sometimes sensible, sometimes overreaching, steps will alter our collective futures remains to be seen. That these 'cures' might steer us into a global society rife with secrecy, paranoia, distrust and fear of anyone or anything 'not like us' is a very poignant cause for concern.
What is the post 9/11 world like today? We want to know what you think. This week, we have resurrected our 'Pagan Perspectives' forum and that is our question to you. Post your thoughts, comments, rants and raves at: 9/11: One Year Later. What's Changed?
A natural, if belated, personal reaction to a robbery or a mugging would be to become more vigilant. One would perhaps install new locks and an alarm system or to take a self-defense course. An overreaction would be to never leave your house again or to shoot on sight anyone who stepped foot into your front yard whatever their intentions or purpose.
Fear is such a primal emotion. And even more so when the threat cannot easily be identified or eliminated. Such shadows can then become the bogeymen that the systems that manage people use to better manage the people that it determines may need some management. 'Someone' or 'something' is lurking out there. You don't know who or what they/it might be. But then the system sweeps in with promises that its agents can find this menace if you only allow it to (fill in the blanks here). It sounds like a good trade-off. At least at the beginning when the initial fear and the sudden shock has not worn off as yet. In an emergency, people will allow for more extreme measures to be undertaken on their behalf to help stabilize the situation and to ease them back into a sense of normalcy.
But 'normalcy' is a hard critter to pin down. In the days shortly after the 9/11 events, we were urged to return to 'normal'. And we tried. As the months wore on, however, the definitions of 'normalcy' kept changing. Is 'normalcy' now having one's privacy violated for any reason deemed necessary by the system? Is it 'normal' to label entire peoples or religions as 'evil' because of the actions of a few? Is it 'normal' to suspend both civil and human rights guidelines in order to establish someone's guilt or innocence? Is it 'normal' to be afraid now not only of those who might have carried out the attacks, but also of those who swear that they will protect us from future ones? Is this the new 'normal'?
It might be. A lot of people, mainly Americans, have a notion in the back of their minds that the 'new normal' is a temporary condition. That the systems will find the culprits and deal with them in one way or another and then we will go back to something closer to the 'normal' that we remember. For those who might entertain this thought -- even if they have never fully or consciously scrutinized it -- I have two words for you: Forget it.
The system plans to make these changes permanent. The 'Homeland Security Department' is not a temporary agency. It is designed to be a permanent section in the government of the United States. A new building for this department is already in the planning stage. It is never going away. Let that sink in: The Homeland Security Department is designed to be permanent. The system for managing people now has a permanent agency in its system for officially managing people. That is one reality of the 'new normal' that is here to stay.
Systems are not inherently good or bad. Like magick, systems are neutral, in and of themselves, until the energy therein is directed towards a specific purpose. It may be that the Homeland Security Dept. --albeit a new tool in the system -- might prove to be a force for good. I hope that it does since it is now 'normal' to need such a system. But I have my doubts. Serious doubts. The power that this system is in the process of drawing to itself virtually without supervision or restraints is ominously disturbing. Humanity has been down this road before and it didn't turn out well.
But we are a part of the system, too. We have been a part of what is 'normal' since the very beginning of this country, this United States of America. We have seniority. We have predominance. We have first dibs and last say. For we are those whom the systems that manage people must obey. The system only exists to manage people because we, the people, decided that certain systems could be established in the first place. It is not we who answer to the system; it is the system that must answer to us. For we are not just people; we are The People and this is what we said:
" We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
I agree with Ms. Clifton where she says, "But acting when you are afraid, that's where the honor is." For certainly as we, the people, first undertook this experiment in freedom, we had much to fear. Yet through the years, we have proven our point and strengthened our resolve countless times and thus this country and this constitution has become a source of pride and of celebration. But I would add something else.
It is not only in the acting in the face of fear --although the power of that initial step cannot be underestimated -- but it is in the determination of what action to take where the proof of true nobility of purpose will be revealed.
We, the people...
That is where the honor is.
Co-Founder - The Witches' Voice
Monday, September 9th., 2002
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