Vox Populi: A Public Sphere for Politics and Poetry
You know, I have to be completely honest, and this is coming from a person who lived through Timothy McVeigh’s Oklahoma City bombing and the two attacks on the World Trade Center, but my concern in regards to a terrorist attack on American soil is pretty minimal, if there is any there at all. According to START, the national consortium for the study of terrorism and responses to terrorism, from 1995 to 2014 there were a total of 3,264 deaths on American soil due to terrorism. The 9/11 terrorist attacks accounted for 3,003 of those deaths, leaving a total of 261 American terrorist attack deaths during those nineteen years. According to the CDC, during the short time between 2013 and 2015, the United States averaged out a body count of 33,000 gun deaths per year. Multiply 33k gun deaths by nineteen years, and you get a massive pile of 627,000 bodies. Why don’t we hear Mr. Trump and his fellow Republican cabal ranting and raving about that? Perhaps because that number is nothing compared to the carnage from alcohol related deaths. For that statistic, add another 50,000 bodies per year to the gun total I gave you. That’s right, 88,000 dead bodies from alcohol-related causes annually. Multiply by nineteen and you get a whopping 1,672,000 deaths related to alcohol. Go ahead, add up the two totals from alcohol and gun violence and you get 2,299,000 bodies. Two million three hundred deaths. Now compare that ‘score’ to what Mr. Trump is pulling out his troubled hair over: 3,264 (261 if you take out the 3003 from 9/11).
Therefore, I really am not afraid of a terrorist attack on my soil. I am more afraid of irresponsible gun owners and drinkers. More than them, however, I am most afraid of politicians, specifically Trump, who flame the fires of fear, confusion, and paranoia. And isn’t that the exact job terrorism is meant to perform? For me, Trump and his goon squad (especially the likes of Steve Bannon) are the terrorism incarnate we need to fear most.
This is nothing new, either. We saw this the last time Republican rule was in play. Remember W leading us on his wild goose chase for those frightening weapons of mass destruction hidden within Saddam Hussein’s dress folds? AHHHH!!! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!! YELLOW CAKE!!! I think the yellow cake we should have been noticing is the one being served during Dick Cheney’s closed door meetings between his beloved Halliburton, KBR Inc. and the military defense industry. Mr. Cheney’s boys at Halliburton ended up being the only winners of that war, raking in an estimated 39 billion dollars in military contracts. I would like to see how he was rewarded by them once he and W left their pile of destruction behind. And it was so easy. Just instill panic and fear to the people you are meant to serve and protect. And instill this fear through lies. Don’t forget what Mr. Trump said years ago about Republicans, that “they’re the dumbest group of voters in the country…I could lie and they’d eat it up”.
So what’s the lie he’s spewing today? That the biggest threat to the United States of America are all of the terrorists gathering on our borders ready to unleash “radical Islamic terrorism” on our shores–that soon, if we are not careful, ISIS will be cutting off heads on the shores of California and Florida and everywhere in between. What’s more frightening about his administration(?) than Cheney’s is that I am not sure he is doing solely for monetary gain. It seems to me that he is doing it out of pure hatred for a particular religion and a particular skin color. And having a man who has Nazi group leanings or, at a minimum, the ears and support of Nazi groups, whispering in Mr. Trump’s otherwise deaf ears, makes it seem even more frightening and horrific than Cheney, if that is even possible.
Therefore, yes, I agree, we need a beautiful border wall and extreme vetting. But the wall I want to build is a wall around the executive office to keep maniacs like W, Cheney, Trump, and Bannon out of the White House. I want the president of the United States to be extremely vetted–to show his tax returns from the last ten years, to take a comprehensive test over American History, and, after he has failed that, a test over his knowledge of the Constitution. That should be pretty easy for him who is always boasting of his extremely high IQ and intelligence. And it will not even be confusing for him the way all those other things that have “alternative facts” seem to be. No alternative facts to the document that defines the rights for all in our country.
So, needless to say, I stand with Lady Liberty when I say “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore; send these, the homeless, tempest-tost, to me”. However, I now say this at a price. As a deal. Give and send these, but in exchange for the ‘tired’ ideas of Trump and Republicans like him–take our refuse of so-called leaders, the likes of whom suffocate us instead of allowing us to “breathe free”. You don’t even have to take them onto your shores. Just let them, the entire goon squad, sail their own ship of fools, forever exiled with no other country allowing them to dock.
Copyright 2017 Greg Thielen
America First! (Image: Der Spiegel)