Tag Archives: 9/11

Evil: We Have Not Yet Resisted

 

It’s 9/11.

And there is still evil in our midst.

7 years later though, I am no longer terrified.  I am disgusted.  Disgusted at the subterfuge and diabolical strategies that our fellow Americans engage in for the glory of personal gain.

Enron, Worldcom, and Tyco are not isolated examples of poor corporate governance.  They are examples of a corporate culture run amok.  Run amok with a nod and a wink from our fellow American leaders in industry and government, no less.

The mortgage industry meltdown did not occur in a vacuum.  I recall at the height of the real estate frenzy, our fellow American leaders in government enthusiastically championed the housing market as the primary stabilizing force of the American economy.  This despite the opinions and warnings of some very smart people that a time bomb was being created through the combination of inflated housing prices and lax underwriting standards.

It is the tenth anniversary of the home run rivalry between Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa.  Both aimed to break the record of single-season home runs hit.  I am not a baseball fan, yet even I remember fondly the race to the end of the season.  Mark McGuire’s record breaking 70 home runs was overrun a few years later when Barry Bonds hit 73 home runs in a single season.  In the end it turns out that all three of these athletic wonders, these multimillionaire sports entertainers, were liars, and cheats, and steroid abusers.  A flim flam was pulled on the American public, and those that knew, or should have known, looked the other way. 

This war that America is fighting in Iraq was supposed to have something to do with national security in the wake of 9/11.  Now, in spite of the fact that this effort of ours in Iraq is fantastically and mind bogglingly costly to the American tax-paying public, its purpose and objectives have changed, and have still not been made clear to the American people.  The great U.S. spending machine is in motion in Iraq, and its engines are not likely to be shut off any time soon–whether or not there is any return on all the money spent.

Nearly $4 for a gallon of gas.  We are led to believe that this pricing outrage is about gas shortages and the need for more oil drilling.  But my $80 tank of gas is not about drilling.  At root it is more of the same unregulated, free market, wheeling and dealing that is the problem.  This time it is oil futures speculation that’s making the rich richer.  Yet we are told, by a unified chorus of voices in industry, government, and media, that it’s more drilling that will allow us to afford to heat our homes this winter.  We are being led like sheep to the slaughter on this oil/energy issue, all for the benefit of those who control the means of oil production.

The most disheartening thing of all, though, is that many of these people who are making poor decisions and taking misleading positions, stand very close to, if not among, those who are called by the name of Christian. 

If these represent Christendom, surely we are doomed.

I am disgusted by self-proclaimed Christians who, in the name of values and principles, betray all they claim to believe.  I am astonished that these self-proclaimed Christians are able to perpetrate such frauds, and yet not incur censure from we the church.  Instead, we applaud their decisions, any and all, as long as they do not involve a compromise of our sexual mores. 

There is evil in our midst.  It is not the terrorist, nor the Muslim, nor the liberal.  It is us.

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Scooter-man and L.I. Express Girl

So last night, as I was leaving Manhattan around 8pm, it happened.  I was heading south on Third Avenue, one block before Delancy Street and my left turn towards the Williamsburg Bridge, when traffic backed up in my lane.  The lane to my left was clear, though.  I decided to get over. 

 

 

There was a motor scooter traveling directly behind me that decided to get over at exactly the same time as me. 

Because the scooter could maneuver more quickly than my truck, by the time I turned my wheel the scooter had almost hit my Explorer, and had come to a stop.  I was about to roll down my window to speak to the scooter operator, but before I could, he let loose.  A 40-something, generic, middle-manager, looking white guy began yelling and screaming and cursing at me. I was taken aback.

 

Then the guy banged my driver’s side rear window with his with his fist.  I heard the sound of metal contacting glass.  Hard.  I thought my window was going to shatter.  My physical boundaries felt breached, or at least threatened.  I said, “Do not touch my vehicle!”

 
Angry Scooter-man sped off down the empty left lane and then moved back into the center lane at the head of the line of cars, where he then stopped for the red light.  I sat there stunned and perplexed with the front of my vehicle turned into the empty left lane.  Should I go ahead and drive down the clear lane?  But then I’ll end up stopped right next to Scooter-man waiting for the light.  I don’t think that’s such a good—

 

 

Before I could finish the thought I was heading down the clear lane, stopping my truck beside the scooter to my right, and lowering my front passenger-side window.

 

Scooter-man looked over at me.

 

I said, “You have an anger management problem!”

 

Smiling an I-hope-you’re-not-some-crazy-person-because-I-really-didn’t-mean-anything-by-all-that-yelling-business smile, he said, “What?”

 

I repeated, with my index finger wagging as I leaned across my front passenger seat, “You have an anger management problem and need to get some help!”

 

He said, still smiling that smile, “I don’t have an anger management problem.  I have a problem with women drivers who don’t know how to drive.”

 

During this exchange, I wavered between wanting to cease immediately and drive on, and also wanting to engage him.  All kinds of impressions and thoughts ran through my mind.  What stunningly straight white teeth he has; whoever worked on his teeth did a great job.

 

“Well I have a problem with people who don’t obey traffic rules and then become enraged.”

 

“I didn’t obey the traffic rules?” he asked incredulously, “You didn’t obey the traffic rules either!”

 

How come the woman on the back of his bike isn’t saying anything? She knows I’m right about him.  Maybe she’s a girlfriend and is on good behavior. Is he wearing a wedding ring?  Nope.

 

“Yeah, well, you need to learn to manage your anger.”

 

“I don’t have an anger management problem.  Women buy these big SUVs and use them as bumpers because they don’t know how to drive.  That’s the problem.”

 

I sneered back at him, looking him in the eye, “You’re single aren’t you?”

 

His eyes widened.  He looked non-plussed.  He said nothing.

 

I raised my window and drove off. 

 

Then I laughed.  I felt the thrill of Zinger victory.

 

Ever since 9/11 my soul has been encased in a Titanic-sinking-sized iceberg of fear.  It’s been seven years, just about.  Apparently, the ice is finally melting–and at a rapid rate.  So, while normally I might acknowledge that women, particularly nice, Christian, women, don’t do this kind of thing (sneering, indeed!), instead I am savoring what it was like to not be afraid, and careful, and nervous, and unable to say words that I know should be said to address grievances that I know need addressing.  Maybe freedom is another opposite of fear.

 

This fear of mine was birthed through events that transpired in Manhattan.  How apropos that events transpiring in Manhattan should herald the fear’s demise.