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Oh, Stop Already!

By W. David Jenkins III

I was a child of the '60s and it finally dawned on me what all the warnings and threats and manufactured mayhem emanating from Bush II and Co. remind me of. Just how many of you good people remember "Lost in Space?" There we were as kids every Wednesday night at 8 p.m. glued to the TV. The Robinson family, Dr. Smith, the robot and some goofy monkey type thing named "Bloop."

It seems like every time we turn around, here comes another warning of those dastardly terrorists! Whether the warnings come from Rummy, Cheney, Ridge, Mueller or "Mr. Salty" himself, I get the same picture in my head. That robot from "Lost in Space" waving its "arms" while announcing,

"Warning! Warning! Aliens approaching! Danger, Will Robinson!"

So it seems that I can no longer hear these endless, precisely scheduled rantings from the White House, or thereabout, without shaking my head and laughing. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to say there's no threat of further terrorist attacks. I'm absolutely positive that as long as Bush The Appointed and his gang continue to call various countries "evil" or threaten first strikes in the name of defending democracy that the threat will remain. But, come on already! Really, just how long will it take before the fear mongers in DeeCeeVille run out of things to name as "potential targets" before we have to go back to the top of the list?

This weekend it was synagogues and other targets named special to infuriate our Jewish population. Then there were the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty, compliments of the movie "Godzilla." Somewhere in the middle, we were supposed to be afraid of the nuclear power plants as potential targets. Heck, I was leery of those back in the '70s. I didn't need any "maybe terrorism" to put those things on my list of things to be wary of.

Warning, warning! They're coming for the Golden Gate Bridge! They're coming for the subways! They're trying to rent or buy moving vans and ambulances! Watch out for the big trucks and lobster boats! They've got anthrax, small pox, chicken pox, hangnails and dandruff! They hate us because of our freedom! They hate us because we can buy houses! They hate us because we have express lanes at the grocery store! Fight back, Americans! Go shopping but be careful because they hate us because we have shopping malls! Be aware of that checkout person who comments that the picture of George Washington on your one-dollar bill looks like Barbara Bush! She might be a terrorist!

But, whatever you do, don't pay attention to those leaks that undermine our national security. So what if we've arrested people without charge and won't let them talk to a lawyer? So what if we arrest and suspend college graduates for turning their backs to the "president?" So what if the Attorney General is in Moscow discussing tactics concerning the "war" on terrorism? So what if we're doing everything possible to make sure that you have no idea what is really going on? Americans have more important things to do to make this country strong! You people need to . . . to . . . oh yeah, you people need to EXERCISE!

That's right, you heard them correctly. That's this week's version on how to keep America strong! Just how are you supposed to maintain constant vigil on your neighbors' suspicious activities if you're too busy gorging yourself in front of the TV? C'mon, give good old George a "squat thrust" in his honor. Who cares if he thinks he's Jack LaLanne this week? You have to admit it's easier than watching him act like "Gilligan." Besides, it'll give you something to do as you ponder next week's "target for terrorism."

I don't know about all of you, but it's become a kind of guessing game for me and others. Like I said, how long before they run out of things to scare us with? Think about it. We have the big old July 4th weekend coming up. They're already putting up security fences all over DeeCeeVille landmarks. They have a little less than two weeks to have us all waving the flag in celebration of our disappearing freedoms from the safety of our basements.

"Warning! Warning!"

There's another bit of media history that comes to mind amidst all this mindlessness. Back in the late 1930s on the night before Halloween, Orson Welles scared the crankshaft out of the nation with a little program called "The War of the Worlds." For those of you unfamiliar with this production, it was a radio broadcast, which depicted the invasion of the East Coast by Martians. Many people hadn't heard the disclaimer that it was only a play and many citizens became so terrified that widespread panic in the streets ensued. Water towers in New Jersey were shot at for fear they were the invaders and many people had to be treated for shock and other injuries. When they woke up the next morning they felt embarrassed and more than a little angry for having been duped.

Well, I can't help but feel that we are currently experiencing a combination of a constant airing of "The War of the Worlds" while listening to the robot from "Lost in Space" broadcasting warnings all over the place. With all of this fearmongering and saber rattling going on, not to mention American citizens being denied their basic rights because John and George like to call them "enemy combatants," I'm finding it difficult to find a reason to celebrate the 4th of July.

Besides, I hear the terrorists hate us because we have backyard barbecues too.