The Dowbrigade considers himself a normal, red-blooded American
news-junkie, not sick or subversive or overly enamored with schadenfreude.
Lately, however, we have had to question our taste if not our sanity,
for when we look deep into our soul, God help us, dear reader, part of
our heart is actually hoping for the next terrorist attack to hurry up
Before you go all Ashcroft and drop a dime on your poor correspondent
for baring his soul in a public forum, let me say that in my waking hours
the Dowbrigade is a committed pacifist, and a patriotic defender of the
values and form of government that made this country great. Yet
many mornings, when we awaken in our warm and cozy bed and reach for
the remote control, pre tuned to Fox News Channel, a tiny voice in the
back of our mind whispers, "Maybe it’s happened while we were asleep…"
The Dowbrigade, believe it or not, is no stranger to little voices at
the back of his head, and over the years has learned to at least consider
what they are saying, and so we set out to analyze what could be behind
a sick and sorry sentiment. Somewhat to our own surprise, we came up
with a number of grounds on which, although a horrible and all-too-real
possibility, a new terrorist attack on the homeland could be eagerly
anticipated. To wit:
- The Boy Who Cried Wolf Syndrome – If something doesn’t happen soon,
people are going to stop paying attention when the government raises
the terrorist threat level. Many are already questioning the value
of a system that just gets everybody all excited and makes them feel
less, rather than more secure. If there was an attack, at least
they would have a REASON to feel less secure, and to pay attention
to warnings in the future.
- 9/11 Nostalgia – It was the worst of times, it was the best of times. America
came together in those terrible days, and it was a beautiful thing. We
felt proud to display the American flag for the first time since our
childhood. Neighbors talked to neighbors, there was national focus and
consensus, and it was clear what we had to do. Resist. Overcome. Fight
back. Then we got bogged down in the details, and the Bush-Hussein
family feud. Another attack would bring things back into focus.
- Gripping TV – TV has become the spiritual center of the American
family, the icon at which the masses worship. 9/11 and its aftermath
were the most gripping Reality TV mini-series in human history. Ratings
went through the roof. We rushed home from the office or store to check
on the latest updates. We didn’t sleep for days on end, so engaging
was the coverage. For the true news junkie, extended national
preempts like this are what we live for. Life takes on a clear, hard
things MATTER for a change. The whole news game is taken to a
higher level. It’s sick, but its fascinating.
- The NASCAR Effect – Why do you think car racing is the second most
popular spectator sporting event in this country? Its not because they
see a gang of grease monkeys change a set of tires in less than 30
because they want to see if there is a spectacular crash and burn.
Not that they actually WANT any of the drivers to get hurt, heaven
but the possibility of a fiery disaster is a sure way to attract
a crowd. The same is true of a terrorist attack. No one but the terrorists
wants it to happen, but when it does, no one wants to miss it.
- Flushing Out the Enemy – This is in line with one of the most cynical
and controversial theories about what we are doing in Iraq. Some critics
of the war say that while there were not many international terrorists
and rabid America-haters in Iraq before the war, there are sure a lot
there now, and we are attracting more every day, sneaking over the
borders from Iran and Turkey. Some defenders of the war reply, what
if that is
part of the plan? To attract all of our enemies to a desolated,
God-forsaken shooting gallery where we can line them up and shoot them
down without worrying too much about collateral damage. Easier
than tracking them down one by one in spider holes and embedded cells
in dozens of different countries. By the same token, we know there
are numerous sleeper cells in cities and towns across America. Only
when they attack will we have the leads, the threads, the chance to
out them and their ilk and excise them like cancer cells on the body
- Waiting for the Counter Punch – As any righteous person who has been
drawn into a fight knows, you don’t want to throw the first punch. And
we didn’t. But sometimes, when provoked, even when attacked, one cannot
immediately locate the enemy. One
stands, primed for action, every muscle tensed, every sense alert,
waiting for the slightest clue, sound, smell to betray the enemy so
devastating counterpunch can be delivered. As a nation, we are
standing thus. C’mon, give us your best shot. Hit us again, so
that we can see where you’re coming from, and show you what’s what.
We won’t get sucker punched again…
- The Dentist Effect – Waiting for the appointment is much worse than
anything the Dentist actually does to you (usually). It is the
ANTICIPATION that is soul-wearying and stress-producing. When
something bad is coming it is natural to want to JUST GET IT OVER WITH, all
the waiting and wondering makes it very hard to concentrate on anything
else or get on with your life. "
- Homeland Insecurity – Finally, in a somewhat unhealthy mental health
trait, the Dowbrigade would love to see all of the preparation and
paranoid rights infringement endorsed by Mr’s Ridge, Ashcroft and Cheney
proven utterly inadequate and off track for facing the real threats
to our nation’s security.
Please, don’t get me wrong. The Dowbrigade is not endorsing, or
hoping for, or encouraging another attack on America. We hate war, and
love our country. In addition, even the hint of another attack
on the homeland would end any slim hope we have of retaining our job
as foreign students return for the bargain basement rates on American
higher education. We can only imagine the pain and grief of families
who have lost loved ones in terrorist attacks, and sincerely hope than
none of them are personally offended by these sentiments.
But we have to confess. Every morning when we flip on the TV we
are reminded of that morning in September that changed our lives and our
world. Maybe because the world so clearly needs to change and we are
so short-sighted and impatient, we are always a bit disappointed to see
that Michael Jackson and Martha Stewart are still at the top of the headlines.