Today is a national day of wallowing. In churches, in public squares, on radio, on television, on the Internet, security-minded Americans are trying to grasp once more the thrill they felt when they realized that they had found an enemy to become vigilant against. The Cold War may have been lost, but the Could War had begun. We would be warned for an entire decade that America must go to war, constitutional rights must be sacrificed, and memory of death must never be allowed to fade, because another terrible terrorist attack Could always be right around the corner.
Of course, another terrible terrorist attack was not always right around the corner. People started out the decade constructing elaborate anti-terrorist protection plans for elementary schools, shopping malls, carnivals and gas stations. They ended up sniggering at the eternal and meaningless Code Orange Alert.
Today is a day when the citizens of the Homeland could regain their sense of invigorating fear. So, across the country, Americans are listening to broadcasts of each and every one of the people killed in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
What a long list it is! Yet, the list would be twice, thrice, or even four times as long, if the names read were those killed not just one time in an aberrant terrorist attack, but each and every year because of the deadly smog that engulfs our country.
Scientific study indicates that we can expect between four thousand and twelve thousand Americans to die every year because Barack Obama refused to institute anti-smog protections required by the Clean Air Act. Obama decided to continue the anti-environmental policies of George W. Bush, because he didn’t want to anger the American Petroleum Institute.
Do the deaths of these Americans matter less than the deaths of the people killed on September 11, 2001? Who will read their names aloud? Which TV channels will devote a day of memorial for the destruction of their lives?
Nobody will read their names. That list will remain silent, because while many corporations profit from the huge spending on military machines and government spying systems for the Homeland Security infrastructure, corporations seem to regard protecting the American people from industrial poisons in the air as an unnecessary expense.