I was casually reading this Consumerist story and the use of the word “homeland” was kind of disturbing. Even after more than 10 years, “homeland” still has a disturbing, big-brothery, propaganda-y, dystopian-ness to it. Maybe “even after” is the wrong phrase, maybe it is exactly due to how it has been used over the last decade that gives it the same, if not more of an, overtone of unpleasantness, of wrongness, even sinisterness.
The usage was a quote from some unnamed “senior U.S. official” in this form:
While we are not aware of a specific threat to the homeland at this time, this routine communication is an important part of our commitment to making sure we meet that priority…
I just can’t read that sentence without “homeland” pricking me deep in my psyche and bothering me deeply.
The whole thing bothers me. Someone “official” telling everyone that they should be afraid not for any particular reason (“not aware of a specific threat”), but just because they want you to remember you’re supposed to be afraid or something.
I dislike what we did to our country after September 11, 2001. Terrorists killed a few thousand people; tragic–but an absolute pittance compared to car accidents (33,000 per year), heart disease (600,000 per year), and suicide (38,000 per year). Terrorists killed a few thousand people in 2001, but we’ve been terrorizing ourselves for over 12 years. We pushed an agenda of fear and allowed that agenda to either erode or destroy founding ideals of liberty and freedom.
I’m hoping we can begin to change that; but quotes like this one seem to have no purpose other than to continue pushing an agenda of fear-mongering.
I’m hoping we can begin to change that because of articles like this one from Ars Technica discussing that one of the authors of the PATRIOT Act is trying to undo some of the damage he’s done and reign in some of these activities (not that he admits this is his fault in any way, of course). It is just really sad that these people were not listening 10 years ago when others were warning how dangerous these laws would be.