Wednesday... January 30, 2002—Ground
Zero Plus 141
The Freedom Corps Or
The Vigilance Corps?
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
New York City--I read the President of The United States'
State of the Union speech. I was impressed with
the effort to rally Americans to fight Terrorism in many forms,
but disappointed in the numbers.
Corps President Bush called upon would consist of 200,000
members, divided between the United States and volunteers who
agreed to go abroad. It would meld in the AmeriCorps and
Senior Corps, a body currently comprising 40,000 volunteers.
I think the plan is a step forward, it is only a nibble at the
roots to the issue of Terrorism.
prefer to see America form a Vigilance Corps, and rather than
call for membership to be limited to 200,000, which is just
a bit more than a half of one-percent of the total population,
that every American be asked to join the Vigilance Corps.
There are over
100 million households in the United States. Each
one faces Terrorism in greater or lesser degrees.
Each has the responsibility to protect itself from the dangers
of "fear," "intimidation," and "complacency"--the
side effects of Terrorism's cancer.
about how we feel toward ourselves, our children, our families,
society as a whole, our country and the world. Those
of us who shy from the responsibility to address Terrorism breed
it, become hosts for its transmission.
A child in
a household who is neglected emotionally or abused physically
knows the sting of Terrorism that far exceeds the attacks on
the World Trade Center and Pentagon. The child cowers
inside, fears reprisals of both physical and emotional natures,
and grows up feeling "less than" others, or arrogantly
decides he or she is better than as a form of retaliation against
Freedom, as suggested
by the name in Freedom Corps, is the result of Vigilance, not
its cause. It is a nebulous name, often misunderstood
by those who claim their "freedom" to express themselves
in ways they believe are appropriate according to their traditions,
their values. Freedom is not universal in definition.
On the other hand, Vigilance
is. Vigilance is about protecting the innocent.
It is about protecting the rights and privileges of the helpless,
the uneducated, the unshaped, the weak. Nothing
is more pliable in this sense than a child, who, like a lump
of clay, can be molded into a strong, caring human being or
suppressed into a boiling, fearful, downtrodden being who launches
into life ducking shadows and fearing the comparison between
himself or herself and the rest of the world.
A Parent of Vigilance
recognizes the danger of a child's vulnerability to "fear,"
"intimidation" and "complacency."
He or she stands vigil over the child, heading off the Terrorisms
that assault almost any child during the development of their
personalities and their mission in life. He or she
is ready to replace "fear" with "courage, to
nullify "intimidation" with "conviction,"
and to battle "complacency" with "action."
While the Freedom
Corps is a noble effort for government, it misses the true mark.
It separates the responsibility each citizen has to protect
the children of this nation from Terrorism' harm, and implies
that Freedom can be preserved internally and externally by a
minute force of dedicated people at a ratio of 1:1,500.
Freedom can only be preserved at Ground Zero level--by parents
or guardians of a child who protect that child from abuse, neglect,
and instill it with pride and self-sufficiency.
This is where
the essence of the Parent of Vigilance Pledge comes to play.
It offers the nation a choice about protecting the doorsteps
of America from Terrorism of all forms--especially the worst
of kinds--the one that depreciates a child, or disenfranchises
it from Freedom by restraining it potential, or ignoring its
today is closer than it has ever been in many decades.
It has been thrust together by a horrible event that threatens
our physical security, but the power of the threat is dissipating
daily. Americans will shift their priorities
from fighting Terrorism of the physical nature to returning
to a state of normalcy where other values will dominate--food,
shelter, money, work, vacations. The smoke from
the World Trade Center and Pentagon will snuff itself into a
memory, and life will rush on to fill the gap of Terror.
But that vacuum Terrorism
created in the body of American culture can be restored.
If Americans realize the attacks on this country were a symbol
of the need for each American to stand at a state of Vigilance
regarding "fear," "intimidation" and "complacency,"
then the deaths of thousands will not go down in mere memory.
By understanding that America's
greatest Terroristic threat is "complacency,"--the
lack of taking action to dismantle "fear," "intimidation"
and "neglect"--only then will the families and guardians
of children in this country start to shift their thinking and
change their actions toward the children. When they
understand that "fear" can be replaced with "courage,"
and "intimidation" with "conviction," and
start to take "action" to cripple "complacency,"
then Freedom will be protected to the highest degree.
I would like to see President
Bush and Congress think about renaming the Freedom Corps to
the Vigilance Corps. And instead of calling for
200,000 members, to call for nearly 300 million.
I would like to see America promote
the "Pledge Of Vigilance" not only to this country,
but offer it to the world as part of our tribute to the Sentinels
of Vigilance who died on September 11 that we might learn a
vital lesson--that Freedom begins with Vigilance.
To Daily Diary, Jan. 29--THE TERROR OF FAT