The VigilanceVoice


A Declaration Of
Terrorism's Independence
Cliff McKenzie
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 Republican's doorstep.  
      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 of course.
      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 glorious scenario.
      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

John 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 Terrorism.
       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.

Paragraph 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 contents.
      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. 


Paragraph 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 Two:
 … 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 and Happiness.
        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 us?
       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 Security…. 
 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 our legacy.
     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.

Go To June 10 -- "Let's Roll Vigilance"

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