posted on Jan, 18 2009 @ 09:50 PM
Today, I worked as part of a crowd control detail for President-Elect Obama's Inauguration Concert at the Lincoln Memorial. From start to finish,
from the moment I entered Washington, D.C. and encountered police and law enforcement agencies of every creed and color, I came to realize why the
United States is not winning the Global War on Terrorism.
The culture of fear is real. There is no denying it. The difference is, there are unfortunately opportunists and psychos who believe the culture of
fear is part of a sinister conspiracy aimed at subverting and suppressing the good people of the United States. On the other hand, there are sensible
people who realize its a product of various circumstances, reactionsand attitudes that have come about as a result of traumatic events such as
Washington, D.C. is the capital of the United States, as well as where out president and our government operate. It is definitely understandable that
the dominant post-9/11 culture of this city, this area, is one of caution, security, and suspicion. We (all who live in the D.C. area), after all, are
essentially in the business of protecting the president and the machinery that keeps our country together. Therefore, unlike many of the conspiracy
theorists and opportunists on this board, I do not question the actions taken by our government and by our intelligence and law enforcement agencies
to protect this city and our leaders.
What I do question, however, is their attitude. Every police officer and security personnel I encountered carried an air of incredibly high suspicion
or even outright hostility, as well as what I saw as concerted efforts towards humiliating and intimidating people who simply may have not known any
better or were just trying to cooperate as best they could. Even when asking for directions, it seems like a cop was more interested in determining
some non-existent, ulterior motive as opposed to helping me or anybody else out get to work or wherever else they needed to go. The idea of security
is completely backwards. Law enforcement and security exists not to serve the people; the people exist to serve law enforcement and security.
What pains me the most is the fact that this is all meant to make us safe. Unfortunately, safety is not just a condition, its a state of mind as well.
A person who is objectively, physically safe yet not safe in his/her own mind is a danger of exceptional nature to both themselves and to other around
them. That "paranoid man" can wreak incredible havoc on a family and his friends, no matter how right or noble he may be. What I saw in D.C. today
maybe aimed at making us physically safe, and its probably achieved its goal. But by no means did it make anyone feel safe. I certainly felt rather
afraid and intimidated at times and it was clear most people felt fear as well. Is that safety? Sacrifice happiness, peace of mind, and enjoyment in
exchange for the satisfaction that a terrorist attack had been thwarted? I think not.
I am not questioning their methods. I have always been very supportive of our law enforcement and intelligence agencies and if they decide deploying
snipers on rooftops and four police cars every street block is the way to protect America, then fine so be it. But must they do their duty with such
hostility towards the people they are sworn to protect? Must they intimidate and attempt to humiliate anyone who doesn't fit their mold of the
"perfect citizen?" Is the task of protecting the American government and our president so incredibly sacred that they cannot even treat a person
with courtesy and polity? I don't care if they scowl at me, a simple "best of luck on finding your way" would've made my day. Instead I spent the
day cold, tired, and scared that a single twitch would lead to a trip to MEDSTAR Adult Trauma Center.
This is not an indictment against all law enforcement officials either. Many that I ran into today were extremely courteous and professional. Respect
them and they return the favor. Others, you have to make them feel guilty before they remember what they're really there for.
America is losing the war because we've let traumatic events dictate something as fundamental as how we treat our fellow countrymen. Do what we have
to do to defend America, turn it into a fortress if we have to. But we shouldn't build fortresses around ourselves. When people say America lost its
innocence on 9/11, they weren't kidding. Its time we look at ourselves in the mirror, at those we've hurt, and ask ourselves whether we're worth
protecting. I don't know what the answer is anymore.
[edit on 18-1-2009 by sweatmonicaIdo]