The Vigilance Voice 

Dec. 11, Tuesday, Ground Zero Plus 91

         When I was a kid I loved playing Cowboys and Indians.
          I always wanted to be the Indian.    Even though the Cowboys won in the beginning, the Indians always came back strong and forceful as they had in Custer’s Last Stand. 
         Indians were always the underdogs.  Before the invasion of the “round eyes,” Indians were peaceful owners of the land.  Dustin Hoffman, in the movie Little Big Man, showed the Indian’s side of the battle for dominance.  If the Calvary couldn’t kill all the recalcitrant Indians, then they tried to intimidate them with brutal force, and finally, render them complacent by “peace treaties” that corralled them on reservations where their will to live was suffocated by alcoholism and poverty.
           Taming the West included taking the Indians’ children from them.  American conquerors secluded the Indian children in bordering schools back East, teaching them ways of the “white man” in hopes they would break the cultural ties to their “primitive” past.  The goal was to crush the children’s lineage--to destroy their heritage by depriving them of their parents and grandparents’ wisdoms, knowledge, belief systems.   By obliterating the link to the past, American strategists figured they could create a new “non-hostile” generation that would absorb the 20th Century and no longer be a threat.  Of course, citizenship was out of the question in the equation.  After all, they were “Indians!”

       Modern Terrorism, I believe, behaves in similar same ways.   It tries to cleave the children from their parents.   Instead of “kidnapping” the children, Terrorism shoves a wedge of fear, intimidation and complacency between a parent and child—distancing the emotional relationship between the two.   If parents are the conduits of emotions to a child, then when fear, intimidation or complacency radiates from the parent, the child, by osmosis, soaks up the negative radiation.  

        Unlike their Indian counterparts,  modern parents are driven by economic emotionalism rather than cultural richness.  Today parents’ great fear is financial insecurity.  Terrorism threatens everyone’s “standard of living” by reducing jobs and clogging the flow of goods and services that a free society depends upon.   Struggling for "financial independence" often takes the front seat to "emotional and cultural" solidarity.
            The attack on September 11 upon the World Trade Center was Terrorism’s assault on America’s wallets and purses--an attack on capitalism--one of the key targets of Terrorism.   Knowing that Americans have grown “fat and happy” over the years by religiously cherishing economics over family and traditional cultural values, by setting the U.S. economy back, Terrorists believe the population will tremble in the same kind of fear that citizens of more undeveloped nations tremble when the Terrorists destroy their religious icons, as the Taliban has done in an attempt to erase cultural ties. 
          The destruction of the World Trade Center was a strike against America's most prominent religious icon--money.  The goal was to disrupt the economy.   To strike fear into the hearts of Americans who cherish wealth more than family values.   They wanted to instill questions and doubts and fears.  What if the stock market dropped more?  What if the Christmas bonuses were reduced because the company was reinvesting in anti-Terrorism tools and systems rather than rewarding its employees?   What if the company lost revenue as the interconnection between the World Trade Center businesses trickled down to productivity in Two Boots Montana?
          The Economic Terrorism of September 11 is still being felt.   Interest rate management by the Feds is being hawked as signs of a recession.   Billions of dollars are being spent in the reparation of the destruction caused on the Second Tuesday of September.  In addition, the economy is suffering by the cost of dropping bombs and waging war on bin Laden.   Bombs are disposable assets.  When they explode, they give no return on the investment.  It’s like throwing money in the shredding machine.
         But the attack has had a ripple effect. Economic Terrorism cleaves a parent from its children, similar to the walls that were built between the Indians and their progeny.   Fear of economic security dominates many of the parents who fear further attacks might jeopardize the cost of a three-car household, or cut pay raises, or reduce jobs.   The “things” people buy become in jeopardy, resulting in an insidious intimidation of a parent by a man skulking around in caverns in Afghanistan, trying to duck 15,000-pound bombs that cost millions to drop.
             Economic Terrorism drives Americans onto reservations of complacency.  They feel the fences being drawn around them by “evil forces” disrupting the natural, easy flow of life they enjoyed for so many years.   Standards of Living become more important than Standards of Vigilance.

            Children who are caught in the Economic Terrorism crossfire find it hard to understand why Mommies and Daddies are so upset over money, money, and money when their family is safe.   When they have a roof over their head.  When they have food to eat.
          What children are not being told is how lucky they are to live in a country where there is plenty for all.   Even at our worst, a family on welfare earns fifteen to twenty times as much as most third-world families eek out annually.   No one goes hungry in America.
           But the thought of losing ten-percent of one’s wealth or more is devastating to some families.  Financial security rather than emotional security rules the roost at home.   Children are excommunicated from the adult world’s power to guide and direct them in this formula, for their idea of prosperity may be as simple as having enough money to eat at McDonalds and get a Happy Meal prize.   While their parents’ idea may be that of one of the world’s richest men who was asked:  “How much is enough money?”  His response:  “Just a little more than I have.”
           The Indians have learned that you can take away prosperity, freedom and hope and still survive.    Today, the Indian culture is rising up stronger than ever.  It is laying claim to prime land, building casinos, and teaching its children heritage long ago lost by forces of Terrorism that thought they could quash the role of the parent to the child through Physical Separation.
           Americans need to take a lesson from the Indians.   The great value of a culture is its relationship with its children, not its economic status in the world.    Strong nations have strong family cultures.   They pass wisdoms of courage, conviction and action down the line, and face fear, intimidation and complacency with war paint on their faces.
           Today, as we honor the three-month anniversary of a horrible attack on American culture, we must be cautious and thoughtful about how we deal with the aftershocks of September 11.  One of the most frightening concerns is that we shift our emphasis away from the Sentinels of Vigilance toward the Terrorism of Economic Insecurity.
           If we hold up the material values of our nation over the spiritual ones, we will lose one more round to Terrorism.   The time and energy we spend worrying about our portfolios, or the future dangers to our economic strength as a family cannot override the need as a family to dig our roots of belief deeper in the gaping hole Terrorism left for us to turn either into a grave of complacency or an opportunity to plant a new tree of values.
           Are we teaching our children a new language as a result of the attack?  Are we teaching our children how to have courage in the face of fear, how to bolster conviction in the shadow of intimidation, how to take action when challenged by complacency?    If we use the principle of Emotional and Cultural Legacy to guide our walk through troubled economic times, rather than zig and zag in fear of the Economic Terrorism beginning to impact our country, we will grow stronger not weaker.
            Our children will learn from our courage, convictions and actions that Terrorism’s tentacles cannot choke our most precious of all treasures—the respect we have to teach our children how to grow out of and above the worst of problems we face.

If we can achieve this, we will become true Parents of Vigilance, and not victims of Economic Terrorism.
 Terrorism tried to play Cowboys and Indians with America three months ago.  They lost.  The Indians won.
            Indians have a faith that will not die.   It is rooted deep into the soil of their souls;  so deep Cowboys who try to dig down and poison the taproot cannot extract it.

Go To Terrorism's Last Gasping Breath Ends When We Forget To Remember

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