Friday, July 21, 2006

More on Homeland insanity

Earlier, I wrote about the great bloated pork-barrel that anti-terrorism funding by the Department of Homeland Security is.

The Road To Surfdom has more details. According to Homeland Security, "critical infrastructure" includes:

  • Old MacDonald's Petting Zoo

  • The Mule Day Parade

  • The Sweetwater Flea Market

  • An unspecified "Beach at the end of a street"

Indiana, with over 8500 "potential terrorist targets", had fifty percent more supposed targets than New York and more than double the number of targets in California, making Indiana the most at-risk state in the USA.

I don't think this is just business-as-usual, snouts-in-the-trough pork-barrelling. I think this actually demonstrates something much more fascinating about the American psyche in the 21st century.

Surveys since Sept 11 have consistantly shown that New Yorkers are, on average, less concerned by terrorist threats than Ma and Pa Average from the middle of Nowheresville. Seems that New Yorkers have stared deep into the eyes of the Beast, and realised -- as have millions of other people all over the world -- that terrorism is a crime and a tragedy but life goes on. It just is not true that "everything changed".

But Joe Sixpack from Backwater Indiana, well, he's never faced anything more dangerous than driving home drunk on a Friday night. Americans, on average, are terribly incurious about the wider world outside of the Homeland, and therefore all the quicker to believe stories about Here Be Dragons from forn parts. Joe's been told ten thousand times by Faux News that some guy called Osama -- or was it Saddam? -- wants him personally dead. Of course he's going to look around the world as he knows it and imagine that Osama would like nothing more than to drop a bomb on the local flea market. It's the centre of his world, and that's what's important.

It is one of those ironies of American society that when it comes to coping with the threat of international violence, the pampered, privileged cry-babies aren't the intellectuals or the New York liberals (who, after all, survived the worst Osama could throw at them), but the blue-collar, Faux News-watching, Republican-voting Red Staters.

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