"All the news that's fit to print about fighting Terrorism with Vigilance!"



GROUND ZERO PLUS 1116 DAYS,--New York, NY, Saturday, October 2, 2004--Two telling parcels of world stability or lack of it can be underscored by politics and sports. In the center of this spotlight are Japan and Turkey.

Terrorism as we commonly know it appears to be about one group of people seeking domination over another. Terrorism, however, isn't a specific nation seeking to ravage another nation's sovereignty and rule its land as historically was the nature of war--a simple battle for real estate.

Today, Terrorism is about an ideological war
Today, Terrorism is about an ideological war

Today, Terrorism is about an ideological war--a proving that one belief system is more powerful than another. That is, if I am a radical Terrorist and can attack a school and kill children in it and cause Fear, Intimidation and Complacency among millions, then I am victorious. I have won my "little war." I have poisoned the "security" and "serenity" of a huge power.

Eighteen radical Terrorists proved they could bring a nation of nearly 300 million to its knees on September 11, 2001 by shattering the illusionary shell of security that had kept America safe from foreign invasion since the war of 1812. Today, more than three years later, the Presidential debates are all about fighting such a war, with one candidate saying he is best to defend the children of the nation while the other is accusing the incumbent of using the war as a political ploy to retain power in the face of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.

But the real war on Terrorism is about the differences between people's thinking and beliefs, a separation of one group's ideology from all others to the extent that killing innocent women and children becomes justifiable to meet the end.

Crowds gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a sewage treatment plant opening when the bomb exploded killing over 30 children
Crowds had gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a sewage treatment plant opening when the bomb exploded killing over 30 children

In Baghdad the other day a score of children were killed when a car bomb exploded where American troops were giving candy to the kids, and, for the Terrorists, this was a victory for it proved the inability of Americans to protect the most innocent.

Now, a couple more threats are hanging in the air shattering old belief systems that individuality and separatism are keys to internal and external security.

One has to do with baseball and the other has to do with politics.

In the case of baseball, a Japanese player who speaks very little English and is as far-distant from the image of Babe Ruth as Osama bin Laden is to Reverend Billy Graham, just shattered the oldest baseball record on the books.

Ichiro Suzuki shattered an 84-year-old record
Ichiro Suzuki shattered an 84-year-old record

His name is Ichiro Suzuki, a four-year veteran of America's recent thrust to import baseball players from all over the world.

Suzuki cranked off his 258th hit of the regular seas with the Seattle Mariners, shattering an 84-year-old record set in 1920 by George Sisler for the most hits in a season.

But that wasn't all. In addition, Suzuki set a couple of new high-water marks in the record books with the most base hits over any four-year span of 919, as well as walking off the field with the record for the most hits in the first four seasons of playing in the major leagues.

Boys in Toyoyama, Aichi Prefecture, cheer for Ichiro
Boys in Toyoyama, Aichi Prefecture, cheer for Ichiro

A short generation ago, the idea of a Japanese baseball player getting mobbed by American fans for being a "hero" is unfathomable for many, especially when the USA was splattered with posters about the "Yellow Devils" and "Don't Trust A Jap," plus, putting Japanese Americans in detention camps as though they were "enemies within."

Right behind Suzuki is the Yankee's superstar, Hideki Matsui. The Yankee outfielder with only two years in the major leagues holds the highest batting average on his team, with .298. His closest rivals are tied at .291 and include Derek Jetter, Cairo and Sheffield. Baseball's highest paid player, Alex Rodriguez, is fifth in batting average rankings for the season with .288.

Hideki Matsui with his 31st homerun helped propel the Yankees to their Division title
Hideki Matsui with his 31st homerun helped propel the Yankees to their Division title

In a deciding game for the Division title, Matsui cranked his 31st home run of the season, helping propel the Yankees for a record-smashing total hits for the season that brought the Bronx to its feet in cheers for the Japanese imported player.

If baseball is a microcosim of a shifting world where ethnicity drops by the wayside in favor of universal talent, both Japanese players symbolize the integration of American "heroism" to extend far beyond our borders. This includes even those who in 1941 bombed Pearl Harbor and received the same lambasting as the Terrorists who attacked the World Trade Center--perhaps even worse.

On the other side of the water, in a place called Europe, a similar battle is underway to keep ethnic walls thick and separated, but, it appears the effort is like holding hands in hopes the tides won't rush in.

Turkey is seeking entrance into the European Economic Union
Turkey is seeking entrance into the European Economic Union

The battle is about allowing Turkey entrance into the European Economic Union. It's a similar process to making Turkey a part of Europe's "United States," enjoying all the same privileges and benefits that American states do with one another, including federal funding.

Many in Europe oppose Turkey's entrance into the 25-member European Union(EU)--the world's largest trading block--because it would be the first Muslim nation to join. Turkey's population of 71 million would also represent the largest of any single EU nation

Resentment against the Turks joining is expressed by former President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing of France who has stated that Turkey is not a European country and that Turkish membership would mean "the end of Europe.".

Polls throughout Europe are divided on the issue. They face the question as all nations are facing: "How universal are we? How separatist are we?"

Terrorism seeks to divide and conquer people.

The more integrated a society, the harder it is to divide and conquer it since diversity is its key. The more singular a society, the easier to alienate its members.

Baseball is a prime example, and certainly not the only one.

While the Japanese are taking the headlines, for many years ethnic Hispanic players have been dominating the game. But, for those who believe the Americas are the Americas, north or south, the idea of "foreigner" doesn't apply in the same way a Japanese player does for many--especially when the players can't speak the language and need interpreters.

America basketball has seen an influx of Eastern European players (Dirk Nowitzki) on right
America basketball has seen an influx of Eastern European players (Dirk Nowitzki on right)

Basketball is on such a course. An American game that once was all white and shifted to a majority of black African American game, it is now swinging the other way with a huge influx of exceptional Eastern European players, tall, white players with thick accents.

If sports is a reflection of integration, world series and world championship games will truly be just that in a generation or so, for teams will comprise members of all sizes and shapes.

On the political side, even the President of the United States is up for grabs. Arnold Swartzenegger's capturing of the California governorship, a common stepping stone to the White House, has fueled a long-sought goal by many to change the qualifications for becoming the President of the United States from being naturally born here, to having been a citizen of the nation for at least two or more decades.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, born in Thal, Austria, is the Governor of California
Arnold Schwarzenegger, born in Thal, Austria, is the Governor of California

There is some strong reality to that position, especially as America continues to become more and more diverse, and needs to represent it diversity at the highest levels, as it is doing in sports.

So it is true of the EU.

The United States as the EU has to face tough issues--how united is it?

Or, is it a separatist?

The more separatist it is, the bigger a target for Terrorism, that's a known. The more diverse, the less.

Israel is a major target for Terrorism because it clings to a unique culture and ethnicity in the face of pressures from all sides of a different culture and ethnicity. It is facing the question of assimilating millions of Palestinians who have no rights as Jewish citizens even if they live and work and raise their children within the borders of Israel.

Terrorism seeks to divide and conquer, inside the mind as well the borders. American politics today ignores a world of diversity, and the recent debate between candidates shockingly reminds the more versed about the dangers of isolationism.

Kids love sports
Kids love sports

Only when the Parents of the World Unite, will the true diversity occur. When Parents of Vigilance vote in favor of their children's future, and their Children's Children's Children futures, will we see a world moving toward a Terrorism-Free Zone.

That is happening in American baseball, and many other sports.

It doesn't capture many headlines, but it is an undercurrent that allows the world to see how all nations can compete to win for the children.

Kids love sports. Their heroes today come from a vast array of nations. They aren't just white or black, they are European, Asian and a potpourri of nations.

That's good.

Children looking to the world for heroes see the future of Vigilance
Children looking to the world for heroes see the future of Vigilance

When children look to the world for heroes, and not just their own, they see something that adults don't or won't--they see the future of Vigilance. They see a world in which enemies melt by religious, ethnic and political differences into one mold--human beings competing in a fun, fair way.

I salute American sports.

It is the signet of ultimate Vigilance.


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