fear. the metallic taste in the back of the mouth. the hitch of the breath in the chest. the pain of wide eyes, searching for movement in the dark corners. is it there? is it there? is it there?

this year, it's also the unease of sudden movements. the dread of turning on the television and seeing one more blow to our civil rights. the deep resignation when seeing the flag; the bone-crushing sadness of seeing signs that say "In God We Trust."

in God we trust...but whose definition of God? whose definition of right and wrong? are we suffering under an expected amount of nationalistic fervor, or is it...

uber-patriotism, the next thing to fear

fear "The irony is, this assault on our civil liberties was all done in the name of protecting freedom and democracy."

fear "The various armchair patriots who are so hot for pushing the Pledge of Allegiance should be required to take remedial courses in American history and the Constitution."

fear "We can have all the reflection and hindsight we want, but it doesn't change a damn thing. I'm more pissed off at our own government for too little too late."

fear "I'd like to tell you a little tale, a personal story of what it is like to fear losing your freedom of speech, how it feels to be drowned in a wave of patriotism which threatens with all its might to suffocate your ideas and stifle dissent."

fear "The failure to recognize the inconsistency of condemning terrorism while celebrating one of its most dedicated practitioners is predictable, and explains much about why others the world over view the US as a bastion of hypocrisy."

fear "It is precisely this unethical track record of brazen nationalism and racial egoism and belligerence that fuels the passions and goals of anti-American terrorists to bring the U.S. to its knees by any means necessary."

fear "Everywhere, the U.S. favors and aids the status quo of political repression and dictatorship."

fear "We call this system 'democracy.' But today it looks a lot like corporate rule."

fear "George Bush threateningly says 'you're either with us or against us'--as if anything in life after kindergarten were that black and white--and John Ashcroft proclaims that anyone who speaks against 'the war' is a traitor. Neither carries the moral weight to make such onerous statements."

fear "I may be getting old, but every time I hear the phrase 'homeland security' I think about Nazi propaganda."

fear "According to the Libertarian Party, the law prohibits people under 18 from being dues-paying members of political parties. Young people don't generally have lots of money to 'corrupt' the political process, but they often have dangerous and unsettling ideas. It's no surprise Congress wants to keep them out of the political process."

I am afraid to proclaim my opinions in public. I am afraid to proclaim my religion in public. I am afraid to proclaim my disapproval and disagreement with the actions of my government in public. This is the nature of fear in 2002.


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