A Declaration Of
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZERO, New York City,
June 11--It's Terrorism's Independence Day! That's every
day in America when
Americans wait for someone else to rid us of Terrorism's Fear,
Intimidation and Complacency. So far, there are no
signs on the horizon we are going to be free of it. At least, not as
long as we keep pointing fingers at each other, trying to blame everyone but ourselves for its presence.
Terrorism launched its revolt against
America on September 11. Since then, it has grown in power and
authority over the American public. Even though the smoke and
bodies of its destructive power are "officially buried as of May 30," the
stench of its lingering carcass clogs the nation's nostrils.
To watch its cancer cells eating at
America's heart, one has only to flip on the television and watch the
President of the United States gripping a podium angrily and clenching his
teeth in rebuttal to accusations he sold "America short" by not acting on
information the Terrorists were going to attack. And, if
that's not enough proof Terrorism is enjoying its Independence Day, flip over
to CNN and watch a woman FBI agent tell how horrible the FBI
computer systems are
to follow leads and protect the internal security of our nation.
Or, if that's not enough, how about a trip through the CIA's bungling of
the event. The mud slinging doesn't stop at the
Now, we're learning former President Clinton had
prior knowledge and he didn't act. Hmmmmmm.
Terrorism is eating at both parties, chewing away at the credibility of
both Democrats and Republicans.
Then there's John Ashcroft. He stands
up tells the world how many Terrorist attempts have been stopped.
Unfortunately, people aren't buying the "offensive" position because they
prefer the finger pointing. Someone has to hang for the debacle!
Who will it be?
Scrambling, the White House offers us a
"reshuffling of old systems" on the grounds the new organization,
Home Security, will be
more Vigilant than the last--however, the heads of all the divisions being
reshuffled and the 169,000 federal employees are all the same. We're
changing the name of the team but keeping the same players and coaches.
Terrorism loves it.
What greater tribute to Terrorism than Confusion
among the leading ranks of the world's most powerful nation.
Terrorism's attack on September 11th is now just being felt.
The shock waves have finally hit Washington D.C.
The truth to Terrorism isn't about its ability to
blow things up--but its insidious ability to create Fear, Intimidation,
Complacency, Distrust, Confusion, Finger-Pointing, Debate and all the
other elements of political hysteria we are witnessing.
Questions being raised about "who knew," or "who
should have known," aren't intended to plug gaps in our security as much
as they are to fix blame on targets. After all, elections are
coming up. The more mud that can be slung--in this case the more
blood that can be slung--the more one side has the chance of beating the
other at the polls.
In the interim, who wins? Terrorism
The real issues of America's internal and
external security cannot be fixed overnight. It will take
years and billions of new tax dollars to retrofit American government into
an efficient anti-Terrorist machine. By then, the country will be
ripped apart by its critics.
Fueling the fire are the Terrorists.
September 11th proved only one major point--that America could be attacked
at any time, in any place. It proved the biggest government
and military in the world couldn't stop a martyr.
No matter what we do, we'll still not be able to
stop a person from walking into the midst of 42nd Street with a bomb in a
bag, or strapped around his or chest.
But in the current McCarthyism climate of
"who-helped-the-Terrorists-the-most-through-negligence," no one is
addressing that issue. It's far too small compared with
Terrorist attacks on nuclear reactors, or gassing subways, or blowing up
famous bridges, or poisoning our water system.
I'm sure Osama bin Ladens are leaking all the
anti-FBI, CIA and White House stories to the press, relishing each time a
headline flashes. They knows that undermining the credibility of the
U.S. government and its agencies is far more satisfying than killing 3,000
people in suicide attacks. Their prize is the collapse of
American Faith and Confidence in its government, its leadership--both
Republicans and Democrats.
The more indecisive and divisive the government,
the more the stock market shudders. Our economic strength is
being sapped with each assault on the foundations of government, and it
Complacency in acting to protect its citizens from harm.
Osama bin Laden himself could not write such a
That's why the problem today is not the "next
attack," but rather the "fallout from the first attack." The
radiation of September 11 has just started to settle in. The
blisters on President Bush's face are just showing as he vaingloriously
tries to defend his Administration from failing the American public's
trust and confidence.
Making the President of the United States
defend himself as though he were on trial for allowing the Terrorists easy
entry to kill innocent Americans is one of our great national travesties.
But it continues. And there's no end in sight to the
cannibalization of our confidence.
That's why today, and every day
such criticism dominates the news, is Terrorism's Independence Day.
Blindly, we've opened the cage door. The Terrorist Beast is loose on
our streets, eating away at the security of nation a random, and the media
and government is offering food and water to keep it going.
Terrorism is an attitude.
It's all about Fear, Complacency and Intimidation. All three
are headline news.
That's why it's time to
introduce a new Declaration--the Declaration of Vigilance.
Never has America needed to
reinstall the principles of the Declaration of Independence than it does
this very minute. For each minute that goes by with Terrorism ruling
the headlines sucks the marrow of American Vigilance further out to sea.
I've reached back two centuries
to 1776 and pulled out an old, dusty document that will give readers a
chance to renew their Vows of Vigilance, and help rekindle the strength
and confidence we have in America and its goals.
He looks foolish defending a foolish
question. That's what the Terrorists want most.
Let's take a look at the document
Hancock drafted in 1776 to see if it still that stands as the
keystone of the People’s right to be free from tyranny. For
nearly two hundred and thirty years, America
has struggled to maintain its principles and live void of the Oppression
and Terror imposed by being ruled by a “foreign power.” Everything was
going as planned until September 11, 2001, when the Declaration of
Independence as well as the Twin Towers and Pentagon, came under attack by
If the Declaration of Independence is a “living document,”
with “eternal value,” then it will hold up today as it did over two
centuries ago as a lighthouse beaconing us to take the Right Action and
revolt against the new Oppressor so we can secure and insure our Freedom
from Terrorism’s Tyranny.
Let’s examine the first paragraph of the Declaration.
One--Declaration Of Independence:
When in the
Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to
dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another,
and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal
Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them,
a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should
declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.
This paragraph is rich in meaning. Its purpose it to announce the
grievances which will come later against the Oppressive State, thereby
justifying its break with both duty and obligation to its former master.
Rather than directly call upon a “religious” God, the Declaration
drives it authority from the “Powers of the Earth,” and the “Laws of
Nature.” This allows anyone from any belief system to embrace its
Terrorism, whether we like it or not, is a “Political Band.” It
attacks America as Nation-State with a vehement hatred for our ideology
and support for other Nation-States such as Israel. This “Political Band”
is wrapped tightly around the Islamic girth of the Middle East, evidenced
by Terrorists who attacked America holding Saudi Arabian passports, and
the linkage between militant Arab factions and Osama bin Laden.
Calling upon the “Powers of the Earth” is a signal to all nations
that the rights of the People within any state, whether free or not, is to
live inherently in Peace and Harmony, for Nature does not wage war, only
mankind and womankind does.
Paragraph Two of the Declaration contains two-hundred and
sixty-nine words. It helps to read them in terms of “Terrorism” being
the “Form of Government” that Hancock is addressing. While reading, think
of Terrorism’s goal of injecting Fear, Intimidation and Complacency into
the lives of its victims just as any Oppressive or Tyrannical government
imposes its threats upon others. If you see just a slim, one-percent
chance that Terrorism as of September 11th has cast a long
dark shadow across the land--depriving American citizens of certain
inalienable rights to live securely, in peace and harmony, absent of
foreign Fear, foreign-imposed Intimidation, and emasculating
Complacency—then perhaps you will see the power of how the 1776 words
Hancock carved into our history applying just as importantly today as they
did two-hundred and twenty-six years ago.
After reading Paragraph Two of the Declaration, I’ll specifically
relate to today’s events.
Two--Declaration Of Independence:
We hold these Truths to be
self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by
their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are
Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness—That to secure these
Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just
Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of
Government becomes destructive to these Ends, it is the Right of the
People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,
laying its Foundation on such Principles and organizing its Powers in
such a form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety
and Happiness. Prudence indeed, will dictate that Governments long
established should not be changed for light or transient Causes; and
accordingly, all Experience has shown, that Mankind are more disposed
to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by
abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long
Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object,
evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their
Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide
new Guards for their future Security. Such has been the patient
Sufferance of these Colonies; and such is not the Necessity which
constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The
History of the present King of Great-Britain is a History of repeated
Injuries and Usurpations, all having in direct Object the
Establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these states. To prove
this, let Facts be submitted to a candid World.
Let’s examine the first point of Paragraph
… that whenever any Form of Government
becomes destructive to these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter
or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation
on such Principles and organizing its Powers in such a form, as to them
shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Hancock is talking about our unalienable Rights of Life,
Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. He charges us, the citizens, with
the “Right” to alter or abolish any government that threatens our Safety
To appreciate the power of this charge, it is important to see
Terrorism as a form of “government.” Terrorism currently is governing
our government. One look at the decisions our Senate, Congress and
President are making are clear-cut reactions to the Tyranny of
Terrorism. Government is the exercise of certain principles over others
that directly effect their lives. Anyone who thinks Terrorism isn’t
governing government has been reading the wrong papers and ignoring the
radically changes currently underway to revamp our political, economic and
social systems to meet the Oppression of Terrorism.
There can be little question that Terrorism’s government of our
government is destructive to our Ends. Its goal is to cripple our power
as a nation, to drive our stock markets down, to inject Fear, Intimidation
and Complacency among the population so they question the authority of our
government to protect them.
All of this is happening at an accelerated rate. The recent
reshuffling of the government and changing the authority of 169,000
federal employees and $37 billion in budget dollars is one small example
of Terrorism’s shadow smothering our ability to manage our nation
proactively instead of reactively.
It also suggests the “Foundation of our government” is at
question. The question is: “Do we wait for the Government to protect us
from Terrorism’s harm, or, do we, The People, take charge of the
Government of Terrorism?”
If the Declaration of Independence is timeless, do the words:
laying its Foundation on such Principles and
organizing its Powers in such a form, as to them shall seem most likely to
effect their Safety and Happiness… mean that we have not only
the Right but the duty to insure our own Safety and Happiness rather than
wait for the “Government, governed currently by Terrorism,” to effect such
Safety and subsequent Happiness?
The next section of Paragraph Two concerns the
issue of Complacency. Since the War of 1812, America has been free of
foreign invaders on its soil. While the Cold War sent shivers through
our population, it passed. As it passed, so we passed onto Government
more and more control over our internal security. We began to rely on
the FBI and CIA to keep us safe from harm either from external or internal
forces. We grew comfortable, perhaps even lazy. Who would dare attack
The slow attrition of our responsibility as citizens to assume the
Right of Defense grew as we became more and more critical of war. Vietnam
tore our nation apart. As a veteran of that war, I was spat upon, chided,
derided—made to feel as though I were a criminal rather than a defender of
freedom. The reduction of military forces over the years as the Cold
War ended, and the desire to spend money in business growth rather than
defense grew until Nine Eleven when the shock of our vulnerability rocked
our nation’s foundations. Complacency had rusted our Vigilance. But,
historically, this wasn’t new. Hancock spelled out that perennial
problem of Complacency in this line of the Declaration:
…and accordingly, all Experience has shown,
that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than
to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed.
Simply put, he was saying it is easier to become
Complacent and not worry about the future than to deal with it. Back in
1776 it was easy for the citizens to not want to take Action. It was easy
for them to till the soil, weave their clothes, grumble about the
Oppression than to stand up and fight for their rights.
Today, that same scenario is being played out as we debate, argue,
deride, chastise and grumble over our Government’s incompetence to manage
the internal or external security of the citizens in the face of
Terrorism. The public sits inert, laughing at the fumbling politicians
trying to sell them on all the things “they are doing” to stop Terrorism
at the gate, and at the same time Government is tooting its own horn, we
learn the FBI is still using DOS computer systems, and cannot possibly
record all the fingerprints it has in inventory, let alone new ones.
None of this is new. It’s very old. Only we just never paid
attention to it before.
It didn’t matter because we weren’t threatened
at the local level. The family in Two-Boots, Montana could care less in
many ways about our archaic security system when the 401k or the trip to
Disney World dominated the agenda.
That’s all changed as of 8:46a.m. September 11, 2001. Now,
everyone cares, or appears to care. But as Hancock so well stated:
….all Experience has shown, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer,
while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the
Forms to which they are accustomed.
What can we do? Most Americans feel impotent. For
years they have abdicated the responsibility and duty for internal
security to Government, forgetting it was The People who held the Right to
Security and Happiness, not the Government. But as the duty and
responsibility for one’s own security slipped from the public’s hand, so
went its strength. The sinew of Vigilance’s muscle atrophied from
disuse; Complacencies grew firm.
The next few lines form the crux of a renewal
of duty we, as Americans, have to defend ourselves and our children from
Terrorism’s emotional and physical threats. They charge us with the
obligation to cast aside our individual Complacency, and to stop looking
to government for the answers to fighting Terrorism. They demand we “take
Action,” because “We The People” are the backbone of our nation’s
security, not its governmental appendages:
….But when a long Train of Abuses and
Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to
reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty,
to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future
Absolute despotism is nothing more than Fear,
Intimidation and Complacency unaddressed by the citizens of America, or
any other country for that matter. If we are governed by the belief that
“others”—our government for example—is in charge of our personal security,
our children’s personal security, their children’s personal security, we
have ignored the principle of responsibility that Hancock was etching into
The “New Guards” for the security of our nation are not the FBI, the
CIA, the Executive, Judicial or Legislative branches of our
government—they are the Sentinels of Vigilance.
This “new form of government” Hancock so reverently talked about
drives us back to the basics of the Declaration of Independence. It
forces us to face our right and duty to shed years of Complacency we have
worn as a shawl, preferring to let others defend us, because we didn’t
think twice about locking our front door to foreign invaders, or to the
idea another nation, or ideological element, would dare challenge our
power or might.
September 11 ripped our diaphanous shawl from us. We stood and
still stand naked. Each day the nakedness becomes more apparent as our
government—governed by Terrorism—scrambles to appear in charge.
Terrorists no longer have to blow anything up to strike Terrorism
into the heart of America. All they have to do is pick up any telephone
and call in a bomb threat, or drop an e-mail about a potential bio attack
in a subway to bring the press to pound headlines and commentaries about
our inability to defend ourselves.
This is Tyranny.
This is Oppressive government.
This is the time to change.
It is the time to stand up and strip off Fear, Intimidation and
Complacency and put on the Shield of Vigilance—to acquire the Courage,
Conviction and take the Right Action necessary to secure our Freedom, our
Security and our Happiness.
It is a simple step.
All it requires is that we begin with a Pledge of Vigilance.
The Pledge of Vigilance, like the Declaration of Independence, is
a statement we make that we no longer will contend with the Tyranny or
Oppression of Terrorism—either within ourselves or upon our homeland.
The Pledge of Vigilance is an individual’s vow to be able to say
another citizen—“I’m doing something about Terrorism. I’m a Citizen of
Vigilance. I’m fighting Fear with Courage, Intimidation with Conviction,
and taking Right Action to remove Complacency.”
And, when questioned what this involves, it is easy to answer.
“First, I start by not being afraid of Terrorism. By recognizing it’s
all about making me afraid, intimidating me, making me think my Voice
doesn’t count. Secondly, I am spending more time with my children and
loved ones, talking about Courage, Conviction and Right Action. Not just
related to the foreign Terrorists, but about our lives. I’m asking my
kids and family to help me be more Courageous on certain issues, develop
more Conviction to fight for what I believe, and to take more Right
Actions than no action at all when I think I am just a grain of sand on
the beach. And finally, I’m not counting on my government to protect me
from Terrorism. I’m taking the responsibility myself, in addition to all
the others who do the same. I’m asking as many people as possible to
become a Citizen of Vigilance. It’s a team effort, starting with the
People working up, not starting with Government and working down.”
John Hancock would be proud of such a response.
The Terrorists wouldn’t.