Fellow American Redux, 2004)
“I neither earned, nor did I contribute a lifetime of tax dollars expecting that in the end so much as one penny of my taxes would be used to incinerate children. However, acquiescing to George W. Bush’s horrific demands in the absence of genuine, direct, supporting evidence of our enemy du jour’s capabilities and intent will mean just that. …and that would be the truest manifestation of spinelessness imaginable.” – Closing passage from the pre-war essay DEAR FELLOW AMERICAN, By Dom Stasi, February 23, 2003.
By Dom Stasi
09/02/04 "ICH" --
a writer who’s spent the last three decades working in the
arcane fields of science and technology, I never expected that
my work in those areas would be afforded wide readership or
belief is my single concession to certitude.
However, as I or anyone else who’s toiled in the
literary hinterlands of academic and professional publication
will tell you, we eggheads do share at least one career
attribute with our talented best-selling brethren.
I refer to those fortunate few writers whose every word
is read by the multitudes.
What we share with them is this: Both my humble musings
and those of the Asimovs and Hemingways and J.K. Rowlings of the
world have been the subject of both firm affirmation, and
ruthless criticism. The
former (affirmation) is always welcomed. But given the audience size for technical writing, it is also
sparse… hell, it’s as ethereal as interstellar dark matter.
In my world, praise – high praise - is manifest simply
as an absence of criticism.
If I write an article or technical “white” paper that
is selected for presentation, I’ll generally get one reading.
That would be before a peer-review audience of perhaps
1000 bespectacled bookish types at some trade luncheon or
conference. But don’t let their corduroyed looks fool you.
This is no flock of credulous evangelical sheep gathered
at the knee of their all-knowing preacher. This audience is
gathered for but one purpose.
That purpose is to find fault with what I’m
postulating, and shoot it full of holes if they can.
Every one of them has a higher IQ than do I, so I know to
get my facts straight before ascending the podium.
If I’m persuasive and authoritative, if my material
stands up to validation, in short - if I’m right in my
approach and my ideas or conclusions have merit - what generally
follows is applause - sometimes polite, sometimes vigorous - a
few questions, possibly an
invitation to publish in a respected journal in order that my
paper may be criticized by thousands more, and finally an
exchange of business cards.
For this I’m rewarded with a rubber chicken dinner and
near-fatal indigestion. That’s
about it. No talk
shows. No book tours. No
literary groupies. But
on the other hand – criticism – that thing every writer
dreads to a greater or lesser degree and refuses to admit, is
wrought and levied against the scientific writer on the grandest
of scales by the most vitriolic and well-informed of critics.
Criticism of technical writing easily matches that
leveled against the most widely published of popular authors.
That is because serious technical and scientific writing
is always subject to what scientists call “falsification.”
When a technical article is published or read before a
peer audience it often contradicts another person’s work or
discovery, or hypothesis, or theory, or product, or heaven
forbid: threatens his grant.
That person and his supporters are usually in the
arrive early, take front row seats, and copious notes.
They make eye-contact with you as you speak, and shake
their heads in incredulity at your assertions.
They are already standing at the microphone when you call
for questions and comments.
Simply stated, criticism and refutation of a new and
contradictory idea is often quite severe, usually public, and -
if you’ve done a good job of challenging the prevailing point
of view - passionate. The
technical field – as do all knowledge-based endeavors -
encourages criticism and disagreement, eats it up.
But in order to be taken seriously both learned writer
and critic must adhere to elaborate, clearly defined, and
strictly enforced rules of peer review, falsification, and
rebuttal. Each must
cite profusely, and call to bear only primary references and
formulaic or empirical proofs to support his or her argument.
There is little tolerance for protracted bias, and never
room for mere conjecture. Never. A critic
can never simply say to a writer, “You’re wrong,” or “I
don’t believe you, or heaven forbid, “I believe you.”
If he does, he’ll be laughed out of the room (and
possibly his job). For
just like the writer, both the advocate and the critic had
better be prepared – very well prepared – to back up
assertion with proof or irrefutable logic.
Technical and scientific writing and peer presentation is
an experience at once terrifying, stimulating, and in the end
either devastating or gratifying.
The science writer’s payment is either embarrassment
before his colleagues or the rubber chicken.
Either way, learned postulation requires a strong
stomach. It also
requires that both proponent and opponent speak frankly, pull no
punches, and postulate only the falsifiable.
Political correctness is punished by reviewers and
punished mercilessly. There
is no room for journalistic soft-peddling, subjectivity,
baseless assertion, secondary reference, or pandering to the
status quo. But
this is how knowledge, genuine human knowledge not propaganda,
not advertiser claims or political promises, but knowledge,
advances. And when
knowledge advances, ignorance retreats.
Whether that ignorance wears a mask of fear, hatred,
incompetence, false morality, equally false bravado, dogmatic
obedience, or blind faith, when knowledge advances ignorance
retreats. It always
has, and in the long run, it always will.
For that, criticism is a small price to pay.
conditioned, in early 2003, I turned my writing efforts to
another purpose. I
became outwardly politically active for the first time in my
adult life. I say adult
life because as a child, I was apparently quite a political
activist. Allow me
to explain. When I
was eight years old, my father had built me a soapbox racer.
It was a wonderful wooden contraption that flew down
hills like a rocket. He
fitted the racer with a fiberglass mast.
From that mast fluttered a 48-star American flag.
Not a man prone to understatement, my father then
emblazoned the little racer’s stern and both of its wooden
slab sides with the boldly painted words: “I LIKE IKE!”
I hardly knew who Ike
was. But my father
had been drafted in 1942, leaving my mother pregnant with me.
Like countless others of his day and of his kind, he’d
followed Ike across Europe and back.
Even at eight years old, it was an easy thing to realize
that I was far more fortunate than many kids of the
early-Fifties - my friends, my classmates - all of whom had been
born in 1941 and ‘42. For
I had both my whole, hale, and healthy Dad along with his
glorious soapbox racer to celebrate on this crisp autumn day. As
far as I was concerned, all was right with the world.
I never questioned the painted message.
I liked Ike, too. I liked him just fine.
As the years passed, I also found cause to like Jack, and
Lyndon, and Jimmy, and Jerry, and Bill, and I endured the others
silently, firm in the belief that they were fairly elected to
office. So the
little wooden soap box racer and its patently Republican
trimmings formed the sum total of my life’s public political
activism. At least
it did until the year 2000, and specifically the month of
November in the year 2000.
For it was then I first realized that somehow, the
American presidency had degenerated from the likes of likeable
Ike to the completely unlikely likes of child-like George W.
Bush. All of
which led me to ask myself a very post-millennial question: Like
how did that like happen?
immediately set out to find the answer to my question.
What I learned, I did not, like, like.
If you have not caught on by now, the point I’m trying
to make is that somewhere between the latter half of the
Twentieth Century, and the dawning of the Twenty-first, America
had lulled itself into a widespread willful ignorance.
The politically-obsessed generation of the Sixties, now
grown to middle-age was behaving like a bunch of apathetic,
politically helpless, abjectly neurotic frightened dopes...
to put it kindly. To put it less kindly: we’d become “the
establishment,” and were behaving as such.
the events of 9/11 touching all of rational humanity and
shattering many Americans’ childlike fantasy of absolute
safety in a hostile world, those same Americans chose to embrace
the equally fantastic delusion of regaining that false security
through overt force. Many
of us, such as this writer, who were actually touched by the
horrors of 9-11 personally, who breathed the ashes of the dead
as we walked Manhattan’s streets, who had immediate family in
the rubble of those towers before during and after the collapse,
reacted with something other than abject paralytic fear.
Seeing and feeling what happened, New Yorkers were not
ignorant of the facts. We
were not the detached targets of the fear-mongering,
soap-selling propaganda most of America still calls network
news. We knew the truth, know it still. We would not allowing our lives to be dictated by terror, not
all of us. Not even
most of us. New
Yorkers knew a fear born of knowledge, not ignorance.
We breathed in the smoke of the victims bodies and
wondered whose ashes choked us.
We saw loved ones and strangers covered in asbestos and
concrete and blood. We
were not scared, not most of us, not for long.
We were, and still are, enraged.
the first time in our history, the enemy had “crossed the
beach” as we would say in the Air Force.
But our nation’s response was less human than it was
animal. Like most
New Yorkers, I’ll always remember our finest running toward
the carnage while our president ran to Louisiana then to his
bunker in Nebraska. Then,
nine hours later, he emerged from underground and returned to
Washington, somehow a hero.
Later still he stood upon the burned and crushed and
cooling bones of Ground Zero and he promised us retribution.
Ultimately it came.
But only after those who lead him had time to
think. There was
money to be made here. So
they persuaded him to strike outward at whoever was convenient
and ultimately fantastically profitable.
First Afghanistan, where our president’s father had
tried and failed to build his pipeline but managed to build only
the Taliban. Then,
after we accomplished nothing in Afghanistan and called it
victory, we turned our sights southward.
It mattered but little that the new target was hardly
more irrelevant than the first.
They were brown and they were Muslim.
Their president was as deceitful as is ours.
That was enough. Over
time, and through constant repetitive association, relevance
itself became irrelevant. The popular mind associated Saddam Hussein and then the
people of Iraq themselves with a terrorist act that they
were never party to. In
Ox Bow Incident fashion, the cowboys hung the wrong people –
lots of the wrong people. The
date we’ve killed somewhere between 15,000 and 37,000 Iraqi
civilians, and countless Afghan goat herders, women and
children. Most of
the latter were far more intolerant of the Taliban than was our
president or his enabling father prior to their emergence as
targeted evildoers. This
infantile certitude was lauded despite that nearly all of the
9-11 terrorists were Saudis and none were Iraqi or traceable to
Iraq. The ensuing
indiscriminate massacre and populist delusion allowed a criminal
administration to squander our children’s future to the tune
of what will be one-trillion dollars as soon as 2006 if Bush is
returned to office. Meanwhile,
the actual perpetrators and planners of past and future
terrorism run free and their numbers multiply like maggots in
the very lands we’ve scorched and plunged into chaos to no
demonstrable avail. Such
are the fruits of panic. Ours
was and continues to be a primitive, fear based, and wholly
physical, animalistic response to danger.
I call it the cornered rat syndrome.
Many among us chose to condone physical violence over the
wholly human attribute of deductive reasoning to address a
crisis – a problem to which we as the most advanced and
wealthiest society in the world were uniquely well equipped to
deductive reasoning requires a sound mind and the courage to
consult ones own mind regardless of what truth such consultation
might yield. Our
president has been “blessed” with none of these attributes
in substantive measure. His
cowardice (Where was our leader for the nine hours immediately
following the 9/11 attacks? I know where I was . Where
was Bush? He was running like a scared rabbit, hiding in bunkers and
taking orders when he should have been giving them, and doing so
“until the smoke cleared,” as the White House Chief of Staff
put it.) his cowardice and conceptual ignorance of the issues
have put our perceived security at elevated perceived risk.
For to respond otherwise, correctly, tactically,
strategically, and honestly requires work, mental work, and a
thought process equal to the task. Thought is precisely and only what separates humans from the
rest of organic matter: the power of mind is ours and only ours!
Instead of a thoughtful tactical response, what we got
from our leadership, was brutality – brutality inspired by criminals, and enabled by our
leadership’s rampant, widespread, epidemic, sub-human failure
of nerve. That
herd-mentality panic spread through the Executive, to the
Judiciary, and overwhelmed to Legislature like a plague.
The credulous American public, They The People, followed
their leaders’ example. Within
a day America was in full flight. There was no FDR to lead us through our days of infamy.
There was no leadership worthy of so magnificent a legacy
as America in crisis. There
was no courage in the halls of power, and thanks to that
example, even less grace under fire on Main Street USA.
America panicked, and now the rest of the world knows how
very easy is that emotional response instilled in us.
And today – especially today - as I watch the
Republicans, sheep in wolves clothing every one – as I watch
them stand on the bones of those they’ve exploited for money
but never avenged, as they wave their “A Nation Of Courage”
signs, I feel abandoned by my government and betrayed by those
“Americans” who’ve capitulated to fear.
is a survival mechanism, and an important one.
It is neither good nor bad in isolation.
It is the response to fear that casts it into a category.
In humans fear is based upon but two things, and those
two things are at diametric intellectual poles: ignorance and
knowledge. We feel
fear when walking alone through a dark cemetery because we know
not what awaits us there. We
feel fear on a sunlit battlefield because we know exactly what
awaits us there. If
humans responded to fear by relying on our physical attributes
alone, we would have become extinct before we ever became human.
We are slower, weaker, and have nether the teeth nor the
claws nor the sinew of most other predators with whom we share
this eternally squabbling orb.
But those are the attributes Americans have chosen to use
- strength and brutality - to dominate and respond to our fear.
That’s a stupid mistake.
Humans have survived and flourished because we have used
knowledge to combat the things we fear, not strength.
Knowledge, not strength makes us capable of exterminating
the strongest of the animals with whom we share this earth.
It is mind, not fang and claw that have sustained our
soft slow bodies against superior strength.
If we, as a culture, America, choose to abdicate
intellect to strength, we too will become extinct when the
thinking, reasoning world of humans decides to eradicate us.
Based upon the abject fear and ignorance among those the
polls show to be a plurality of Americans, the rest of us are
going to lose the word’s greatest treasure, a treasure bought
and paid for by the blood, sweat, tears, courage, and intellect
of our fathers and mothers and their fathers and mothers and
theirs. I’m speaking of Liberty.
Precious liberty, if not life itself!
I studied my countrymen’s response to the events of 9/11
everything seemed irrational and mindless.
I could not believe my findings.
Mine was the most educated general population in our
nation’s history. This
was the most politically active and radical generation since the
American revolution, yet we were behaving like threatened,
frightened animals. To
put it in scientific terms, my initial hypothesis (My generation
of Americans is smart and aware) was inconsistent
with the empirics (My generation of Americans seems both
dumb and ignorant). Or
as they say in plain English: there’s no way in hell this
could be true. It
did not make intuitive sense.
After all, how could I, a trained technologist, time and
again stand before an audience of perhaps 1000 men and women,
genuinely consider myself the least brilliant person in that
room, yet when trafficking among the general public, when
discussing politics and policy with anyone on the Right, my
position seemed somehow better informed, substantively so, more
intuitive, rational, critical, aware, plausible, in a word, my
position was more falsifiable
than theirs. That could not be. But
man-oh-man it sure did seem that way.
Yet to accept such a thing would be supremely arrogant.
Arrogance is something I consider beneath human dignity
if not absolutely primal. I
February of 2003, my consternation turned to action.
I had come to the new century already outraged over the
treasonous hounding of President Clinton by those who cared more
for the acquisition and subsequent abuse of power than they did
the well-being of our nation or the will of its people.
That outrage was affirmed by the theft of the ensuing
presidential election by the same gaggle of exploitative
gangsters, while the proximate manifestation of a gullible and
confused public looked on slack-jawed and inert. The compounding
disaster of governance culminated with September 11th and the descent into abject terror that gripped the so very
many. That fear was
shamelessly encouraged by those who would exploit the gullible
and fearful among us, and it led to the subsequent abdication of
representation by our legislators for their own fear of being
considered unpatriotic and losing the jobs they held but were by
no means performing. This
failure of nerve by the people’s branch of our government was
made abundantly clear when our Congress turned into a glee club.
Our country had been attacked by maniacs, and instead of
a voice in government we were suddenly left with a voice in
song. God Bless
America on the Capitol steps was supposed to compensate us for
our congress’s unanimous abdication of their responsibility to
represent and restrain, advise and consent.
The United States was being pirated from us by an angry,
vindictive, avaricious, and irrational executive branch while
the branch mandated to be “the voice of the people” was
instead a bunch of voices raised in song.
Congress was whistling through the cemetery, and half of
America was cheering them on.
with our representatives gone stark staring nuts, with 78% of
our countrymen in panicked full flight, and with our individual
votes no longer worth a plug nickel, this American – me - was
fast becoming a political tinderbox.
by the people’s branch of my government, this American
determined to find his voice elsewhere.
On February 23, 2003, I did.
I wrote an open letter to the people of the United
States. I called it
DEAR FELLOW AMERICAN. To
my surprise it was picked up by the print media in a number of
American cities, and reprinted in London, Sydney, Johannesburg,
Paris, Toronto, and heaven knows where else.
After that the internet
kicked in. And,
wow, did it kick in! The original
article is still around and still being read.
Since that time I’ve penned perhaps 20
additional essays on politics from the progressive
point of view. The
letters, letters, letterslettersletters, have been overwhelming,
and to my delight, overwhelmingly positive and intelligent as
well. No one has sent me a rubber chicken yet, but beginning with
Dear Fellow American, my angry progressive voice seems to have
stricken a chord with many of my countrymen and women, a chord
that the mainstream media has neglected or been unable to play.
So the evidence I was seeking was suddenly everywhere. We’re not dumb! Not
the people. Our
popular media is dumb. Our
leaders are dumb. But
we’re not dumb, not all of us, not even most of us.
receive a great deal of highly intelligent comment on my writing
and opinion – a great deal indeed, always signed, always
engaging. That is
consistent with an informed readership.
Yet I am profoundly flattered and delighted daily that my
words might engage such an audience. I endeavor to answer all of it.
Any disagreement from the intelligent public is limited
to criticism of my approach, my postulated solutions, my
determination of proximate cause, or the degree of
constitutional degradation we’ve endured, but the truth of my
work is never belied or effectively contradicted. Perhaps that is because, despite that I write opinion, my
scientific experience has taught me to cite primarily, and
reference profusely. My
editors are driven nuts by my sheer number of footnotes.
However, I’ve been to the mountain.
As such, I always expect an intelligent audience to
consider me a source not a seer, be skeptical of my statements,
try to shoot holes in my arguments, find errors where they can,
and verify or belie my words by the independent research an
informed, literate audience has been trained to conduct.
I’ve rarely been disappointed.
my 18 months of writing political opinion and fact, I’ve not
received a single intelligent or factual rebuttal.
That is an incredible fact.
Is the Right so philosophically bankrupt that none can
craft and deliver anything but conjectural diatribe awkwardly
what I get from them. It’s
all I get from them. Despite
that I limit my writing to the most progressive, literate, and
critical venues, none of my critics has yet offered a
persuasive, or even intelligent, cited, issue-specific
a sampling, just a few lines from three of this weeks dissenting
mail. I assure you,
these are from the most rational:
know its people like you that make ignorance worse off than
it truly is! You definitely make me sick.
Mr. Stasi, You are without a doubt quite disgracefull.
You have a sight that downgrades our president as if he had a
choice where he would spend his service. …the world laughs at
your sorry liberal , whiteflag waving, frenchy ass.
Get a life
Has anyone ever told you ... that you sound just like our
enemy...that if you put your words next to the lunatics who want
us dead, there really is not much of a difference? HELLO
!!! what was 9/11 ? DID YOU CHEER ON THAT DAY ??Goooooooooo
Bush,,,,,,,4 MORE YEARS !!
I say more? Can
they say less? Can
anyone find an issue or credible argument buried in this baby
talk? They all
speak with absolute certainty, but succeed in proving absolutely
nothing. If one
checks the sparse references these budding Krauthammer’s cite
he’ll find they are as wholly vacuous as their assertions.
Letter-writer # 1 cites Bush’s girlfriend as proof
positive he served in the Alabama National Guard.
To back that up she cites his landlord.
Number 2 ignores the facts,
declares me a liar and leaves it at that.
Writer # 3 takes things a bit further.
After demanding that I leave the country immediately, he
or she asks if I cheered on 9/11 since I hate America so much. As I said earlier, I had immediate family in those towers
before, during, and after their collapse.
I’ll neither defile their courage, nor dignify her
stupidity by responding further.
this is how childish is a vast portion of our chronologically
adult, voting, though constitutionally ignorant population.
Such arguments as their silly letters pose are every one
completely absent the recognized tools of critique, and are
instead a strident exclamation of the argumentative and
constitutional ignorance to which this administration panders,
and to which it has hitched its future and I’m sorry to say
ours as well.
dear reader, will derive from our national failure of both nerve
and mind. Where
will this pointless national rage, this ignorance, this
credulity lead our country? Such people as these dispense with cowering beneath their
beds long enough to vote. They
run around with signs saying they’re couragous as if to
convince one another, as I’m sure they do.
They call themselves patriots.
is to them and their ilk that we abdicate our country and its
future if we do not appear at the polls in even greater numbers.
To do otherwise is to accept America the frightened.
week’s Republican National Convention has made its vulgar
appeal to that fear and ignorance.
Now, after enduring speaker after speaker, I can make the
connection between the uncritical mind of the Bush/Cheney
supporter and the appeal of their leaders.
Unlike scientific peer review, political speakers can get
away with saying whatever their flock wants to hear, they need
only be adequately unethical and philosophically bankrupt enough
to do so. Since, to
the juvenile mind of the sycophant, these men represent
omnipotence, they are assumed capable of accomplishing miracles.
Today’s Republicans need never prove or have
accomplished what they claim.
They just need to claim it with certitude and the
faithful and frightened will believe.
Perhaps the most obnoxious display of disrespect for the
ability of their faithful to think critically came with the
appearance of Democratic Congressman Zel
the Republicans would choose a Democrat to assail John Kerry as
a “flip-flopper,” and do so secure in the knowledge that
their flock would not have adequate clarity of thought to
recognize so profound a dichotomy, speaks volumes.
one after another they’ve ascended that podium these last
nights and lied through their too-many teeth.
They did so and will continue, secure in the knowledge
that, as has been said by that most famous of all Republicans,
“You can fool some of the people, all of the time.”
One can only wonder if the credulous, trembling sheep in
wolves clothing who believe them are equally unaware of what
their tough guy, draft dodging leaders think of them.
For the very same some of the people
Mr. Lincoln so eloquently referenced was later given a
label by that very government that so deliberately exploited
them and exploits them still.
power of propaganda, which the current (Bush) administration
uses to incredible advantage and which has been displayed in all
its vulgar glory this week, was virtually invented by an
American president. I'm
not talking about the kind of comic-book propaganda we associate
with Tokyo Rose, or the Kremlin. I'm talking about
American propaganda, the kind that gave birth to Madison Avenue.
back in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson, despite his campaign
promise to keep America out of "The Great War" (WW-I)
had already determined in his own mind – just like Bush - that
our economic interests abroad (Back then it was European
imperialism, not Middle Eastern oil that concerned our
president.) would be better served by a vanquished Germany
(Sound like the Neo-con fantasy about Iraq?) The American
public was widely pacifistic at the time. So, needing an
excuse to send them to war, a war from which none of them could
personally benefit, Wilson formed a government-funded group
called the Creel
was given the task of changing
the peace-loving public's mind, and instilling in them a hatred
and fear of Germany and all things German. The Creel Commission
knew the power of fear, and fear’s power to infect.
It was the ubiquitous human attribute they would
endeavor to exploit. It worked.
Within six months, scores of otherwise passive
Americans were setting fire to their own Teutonic neighbor's
houses, and German-owned businesses and extolling their hatred
of German-American’s in all manner of ways. The Creel
Commission's findings are still a part of the federal
government's data base. They paid for it. They own
it. They’ve built upon it massively.
They're not reluctant to use what they know.
Today we call it Social Science.
Pentagon's Office Of Special Plans (formed under Rumsfeld) is
today’s version of the Creel Commission.
It has revived the Creel techniques and put them to good
use under Paul Wolfowitz. Meantime (emphasis on the mean)
Karl Rove, not one to sit on the sidelines when there is a
smarmy idea to steal, has become expert in the same
fear-mongering techniques. There is nothing new under the
sun when it comes to these guys.
power of propaganda worked as astoundingly well in this century
as it did in the last. The Creel Commission's findings and
techniques are everywhere to be found in the ways that the Bush
administration has manipulated and exploited the gullible.
are people in any society who form opinions, and there are those
(far more numerous) who allow their opinions to be formed for
them. The latter, being generally biased and under
informed as well, are wont to ever admit or even be dimly aware
that they are the pawns of professional manipulators. I
say they are generally biased as well, because that bias is what
prevents them from changing their minds when evidence
contradicts their pre-formed "opinions." Don't
get me wrong, bias is an important human attribute. It is
what allows us to make decisions. If we did not have some
measure of bias in our thinking we would change our minds
indiscriminately and never come to a firm conclusion about
anything. Unfortunately, bias is also a serious
liability to critical thinking when it is manifest to excess.
I am of the opinion that both of these liabilities, inordinate
bias and susceptibility to influence, exacerbated by a strong
helping of fear, are what the Bush leaguers have substituted for
substance when endeavoring (with apparent success) to control
the popular mind. This week we’ll see it in all
it’s vulgar glory. Keep
the Creel Commission in mind when watching the Republican
National Convention. Look
for evidence of their claims.
Seek substance n their words.
Observe their efforts to instill fear.
Creel Commission’s members were well versed in the new and
emerging discipline of Social Science.
They knew from their experience and knowledge of history
that any vast socio-political population – American or
otherwise – was characterized by a large plurality of those
who sought to be led, those who could be easily inspired to
action by authority figures.
The same mentality that inspires a Kamikaze or suicide
bomber could inspire any frightened, uncritical, confused
animal. When the
uncritical mind faces danger – real or inspired – it reacts
in one of two ways: fight or flight.
The Creel Commission named this multitude of Americans
“The confused and frightened herd.”
self-serving deference to my critics and their leaders, I will
not trouble to cite or reference my equally self-serving
opinions this day. I’ll instead leave you with the opinions of more worthy
Americans than I.
Jefferson said at the birth of our republic, “If a nation
expects to be ignorant and free, it expects what never was and
never will be.” At
the moment we are both. How
long will such conditions coexist?
Not very I would posit.
perhaps more to the point, at our nation’s most critical
juncture, and out of his respect for what we were as a people
and can become again, another great president, a great leader of
a what was by then great nation, found these words of
inspiration and truth in our hour of genuine, mortal crisis: “We
have nothing to fear, but fear itself.”
these leaders of America’s greatest generations ever have
known how very true their words would prove to this latest
generation of Americans? Could we?
An engineer, Dom Stasi is chief technology officer of a national television network. He was the original chief engineer who helped design and build both the HBO and MTV networks, remaining as an executive with both for much of his career. Mr. Stasi also flew aerial reconnaissance during the Cold War and was an engineer on Project Apollo. He is a frequently published science and technology writer.
Copyright: Dom Stasi.
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