Tuesday, Ground Zero Plus 91
PLAYING TERRORISTS AND INDIANS
When I was a kid I loved playing Cowboys and
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.
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
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
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
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.
To Terrorism's Last Gasping Breath Ends When We Forget To Remember
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