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No Distractions - No Deceptions

No Diversions - No Delusions

 

Clockwork Orange!

 

 

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 Clockwork Orange! - Orange Alert!t!
TVNL LOOKS AT THE FEAR FACTOR

“…the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror... “

 On four separate occasions during 2003, Americans were notified by their government that the color of the day had changed. Only this wasn’t summer camp, and no one was playing games.  On each of these days, the nation was being warned that our lives were being threatened more seriously than the day before.  The codified threat alert had changed from Yellow to Orange.  There was nothing we could do.  There was nowhere we could go.  It was only a change of color, but it did the trick: Americans everywhere were being introduced to the color of fear!                                                              
Think of it.  In these times of heightened alertness and concerns about terrorism, we were handed a really effective color code to guide us!  Well, maybe not totally effective, since not a square inch of the country is ever at Low Green (almost no danger) or Guarded Blue (oh, maybe just a little danger). Actually, the best we can hope for on an ordinary day is Elevated Yellow (we know they’re around, somewhere), and being resilient and stoic Americans, we’ve learned to live with that.  But for the stage managers in Washington, that just won’t do.                                                             
A change from Yellow to Orange is unnerving.  Karl Rove knows that.  But a change from Orange back to Yellow brings a sense of relief to a worried nation. Karl Rove knows that, too.   He knows gratitude and relief are subliminal partners. “Thank you, George Bush, he would have us say, “for saving us from those who would harm us.  You’ve taken away the Orange, and we are no longer afraid.?   
The image makers in the White House have miraculously convinced many Americans that George Bush actually is a “leader? who can protect the nation safe.  They’re damn good at smoke and mirrors and manipulation.  This is really the only sell they have, and keeping Americans unnerved and grateful for their safety is vital.  As a result, TVNL is convinced that Clockwork Orange – calculated and scheduled, High alerts - will be in full swing as Election Day nears.                                                               
Take a look at the year that was:  The first color change took place on February 8th, 2003.  The country stayed at High Orange until the 27th of February, when the Attorney General “in consultation with the Homeland Security Council? made the decision to return the threat level to an Elevated Yellow risk of terrorist attack.  Nineteen days of fear and nervousness.  The understandable reaction had to be: “Whew, we’re safe!?    
Uh, just one thing you might want to know.  A key piece of the information leading to this terror alert was fabricated, according to two senior law enforcement officials in Washington and New York.  The media didn’t bother to publicize this.  Why spoil a good thing?                                                      
The second alert took place on Monday, Mar 17, 2003, just as the invasion of Iraq was about to begin..  The national threat level was raised to Orange from Yellow because, “the Intelligence Community believes that terrorists will attempt multiple attacks against U.S. and Coalition targets worldwide in the event of a U.S - led military campaign against Saddam Hussein?. 
SecretaryTomRidge, whom we are very tempted to call “Agent Orange,? lowered the threat level on April 16th, after a full month of having Americans on Orange High.  Then, it was over.  Thank you, George. No one attacked us. You did good.                                                      
On May 20th, 2003 Yellow once again became Orange.  This time we were told, “The U.S. Intelligence Community believes that Al-Qaida has entered an operational period worldwide, and this may include attacks in the United States.?   But, after ten days, Al-Qaida operatives must have changed their minds.  On May 30th, we went back to Elevated Yellow.  And many people thought: Boy oh boy…Bush must be keeping the bad guys away.  Whatta guy!                                                      
Most recently, on December 24th, 2003, the national threat level was once again raised from an "Elevated" to a "High" risk of terrorist attack – or, as TomRidge reminded us, “from Code Yellow to Code Orange.?   Warned that this might be an attack worse than 9/11, Americans were also urged to go on with their holiday plans as usual. Assured that their lives were safer because of Saddam Hussein’s capture, they also were given the conflicting message of a greater threat than ever.  Not to worry, George Bush will save you….. 

By the 9th of January of this election year, all was well.  Orange was out, Yellow was back in. Actually, all was not well. Americans were cautioned, “We are still concerned about the continued threats, but the threat conditions that we’ve been following have diminished.   Don’t forget for a minute that you still need your protector, the great and fearless George W. Bush.  Cheers, applause, relief, gratitude – like clockwork.                                                       
There are only a few months before the people of this country go to the polls to make what may be the most crucial decision in recent history.  The image makers in both parties will be hard at work to sell their candidates to the public.  That’s politics.  But the present administration will have a terribly unfair advantage if it is permitted to hold the American psyche hostage.  Fear is a compelling factor in human behavior that can result in either fight or flight.  That’s a given.  But it provides us all with a choice.
Americans can succumb to the fear factor and ultimately believe that this administration can provide the security Americans need and deserve.  Or, they can fight.  They can fight for the restoration of democracy, the restoration of reason, and the restoration of respect and admiration from other nations.  Like the classic film by that name, this Clockwork Orange is a surrealistic distortion of terror and violence.  But unlike the film, we have the chance to avoid far greater dangers, and see to it that the threat level is never changed to Red, 
We cannot be lured into a false sense of safety by those who have brought us to this terrible place in our history.  What we desperately need now is an end to anything remotely like Clockwork Orange. And what we must fight for right now is the beginning of a very new reality.    There’s not much time.

 

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