Today is a yellow day.
Every day has been at least a yellow day ever since the color system was enacted. Some days have been orange. There has been no fear of a “red” day, nor has there been the relaxing to a green or blue day – surely if we let our guard down to green, the terrorists will have already won.
We won’t be having green days any time in the foreseeable future. I predict the same, sallow, orange-yellow cast on our lives. Of course, no terrorist attacks have occurred in the past year, but that doesn’t stop us from being perpetually on alert.
Perpetual alerts, though, end up becoming nothing at all.
Ask the next person you see what today’s alert level is. Go over to the cubicle next to you, or ask the person sitting across the table from you. They don’t know, do they? Furthermore, they probably don’t even care.
In spite of the government’s best effort to tell us terrorism is just around the corner, a lot of people just aren’t buying it. We have a lot of cases of blatant stupidity causing overreaction (like Eunice Stone, the Georgia woman who started a manhunt for three medical school students who, at worst, didn’t pay a toll), and those who are so overreactive often make the whole nation seem on-edge – but apart from those few, America frankly doesn’t give a damn.
If there are valid terrorist threats, let us know. It seems as though every week, though, there’s an official saying “This has been determined not to be a credible threat, but…” In other words, they’re practicing CYA at its finest.
President Bush, I’m sure you’ve heard the story of the little boy who cried “wolf!” – actually, I’m not, but let’s assume for the sake of this column that you are. The incessant terrorism warnings, the constant state of high alert, will cause more casualties, not fewer, if and when another terrorist attack occurs.
If there is a truly credible threat, what will you do? Raise the alert to “red”? I doubt many people will notice. Say in the papers, “there’s a terrorist threat. We really mean it this time”?
See, at this point, Americans have adjusted to a “new normalcy” – a normalcy consisting of constant terrorism warnings and scares. When the average citizen hears about a new one, it’s unlikely to elicit more than a shrug.
So let’s stop this madness. The scaremongering of the past year has created among much of the population only yawns and indifference, and I’m sure that was never the goal.
If the current administration continues its current policies, one day, the president will shout “terrorists! Terrorists!” – and no one will listen until it’s too late.