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By Darryl James
"America is filled with terror from North to South and we thank God." -Osama bin Laden
"Either you are with us, or with the terrorists." -George Bush
There was a time in this nation when American citizens believed in their leadership and became afraid of losing life and liberty in time of war.
During that time, Americans at least knew who the enemy was in time of war.
But after the tragic events of September 11, 2001, things changed.
For the first time, America went to war with an unknown enemy. It wasn't about a disagreement with the mission as in Vietnam, but a clear case of a confused mission.
The war efforts meandered from Afghanistan to Iran and from Osama bin Laden to Saddam Hussein.
And, in order to stimulate support for the war efforts, the nation's leadership used fear. Bush and his cronies employed the harbinger of terrorism to explain a war with no true purpose and no real direction.
People in this nation were so afraid that they were willingly giving up their freedom and all rights to individual thought.
Some stupid Americans were so frightened that they were lashing out at any voice divergent from the nation's leadership.
Still, more stupid Americans were so frightened that in their fear and ignorance, they began lashing out at other Americans of Arabic descent or of Islamic faith.
Eight years later, we see the same fear, ignorance and willingness to give up freedoms entrenched in the people of this country as much as any other portion of American life.
We also see fractions of frightened citizens, some of whom want to end American military presence and some of whom want to continue it.
Now, the war efforts are even more muddied, because right wing nut jobs are attempting to blame President Barack Obama for the American presence in the Middle East as though it was his idea.
Saddest of all is the abject patriotism based not on pure love for country, but pure unadulterated fear. That patriotism is sad indeed, because it does not allow for opposing thought or reason, or, even reality.
Eight years of heightened racial profiling, baseless color-coded national scare tactics and a war on a ever-changing enemy has done little to ease the fears of Americans.
America's position as world police and as the big bully on the unstable world block has placed the nation in a position where terrorism can visit these shores at any time.
Anyone who is awake and aware realizes that we should have been as frightened of what could come from abroad as what came from the idiot who just left the White House, who really just wanted the oil in the Middle East and more global business opportunities for his friends.
Through fear, the American people have been duped into supporting a war effort that made promises, but delivered nothing, including the promise to make the American people feel safer.
But, the American people feel no safer, because promises were made before thousands of young American lives were sacrificed.
Among those promises was the pledge to find the person or people responsible for wreaking havoc on America.
Among those promises was the pledge to find "weapons of mass destruction" to reduce our risk of nuclear attack.
America should have been living in fear long before the National Disaster, after pushing other nations and its own citizens around.
And, there are other things we should have feared.
While the airline industry was in fear of having itself falter, American citizens should have been frightened of the billions of dollars in Corporate Welfare that was given to that industry.
While the airlines were being bailed out, the average citizen was sinking under water.
Yet, President Obama is being raked over the coals for continuing an economic bailout initiated by Bush and for trying to deal with the American military presence in a manner that does not wreak havoc with hasty decisions.
And some Americans are more afraid than ever.
So, we have to ask ourselves: If America was at war and pursuing a governmental bailout before Obama's election, what are the naysayers really afraid of?
A Black President, of course.
Most of the anti-Obama propaganda is based on things he never said, policy he never pursued and outright lies about what he can do as President.
Do I support everything Obama stands for? Not necessarily. But I support the divergence he represents-not as a Black President, but as a President who truly cares and who is truly attempting to be bi-partisan and for the people.
I just believe that we need to give him a chance to be President before blaming him for things that existed before he showed up.
And, any of us who are humanitarian should have been frightened that following the national tragedy, many had all but forgotten the pre-existing tragedies like the homeless, the poor and the starving--the huddled masses yearning to be free.
So, there have been no real incidents since September 11, 2001. But does that mean that we are safe?
We are about as safe as we ever were, which means that we really aren't. But there are ways that we can make this nation and accordingly, the world, a bit safer.
We can reduce American corporate world greed, stop beating on other nations for oil and stop playing world police/bully.
There are also a few things that America should clean up at home first to make it a better nation and less of a hypocrite.
American racism, for example.
It was a good thing for American to elect a Black President. It showed the world that perhaps this nation was ready to accept for itself some of the tolerance and national unity it promoted by coercion to other nations.
But now that the President is garnering opposition and death threats that no other President since Kennedy has had to endure, we are delivering the same old tired message to the world.
That has to be checked, because it has made many nations dislike America.
With our current President, we have an opportunity to show the world something new and something good.
Then, perhaps we can have more international unity.
And then perhaps we wouldn't have to live in fear.
Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology "Notes From The Edge." Now, listen to Darryl live on BlogTalkRadio.com/DarrylJames every Monday from 8-10pm, PST. View previous installments of this column at www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at