Since I have been at xanga for a year, I am amusing myself by looking each day at what I wrote a year ago. I am easily amused. A year ago today, I wrote about the Homeland Security website. Yesterday, the news I was reading directed me to the newest version of that site, and I have to say that things have not improved one bit.
We all have our own ideas about how to respond to terrorism. This is the official word from the White House. It intends to persuade us that the United States is doing useful things about terrorism, and you might find it convincing if you do not, as I do, find yourself looking at item after item and thinking, “Well, that’s a lie.” It does include lots of color words. There is someone involved in the whole War on Terrorism thing in Washington who is really into colors. I bet that originally there were exciting color words involved — the Ecru Revolution, the Chartreuse Level of preparedness — but the other guys said, “Hell, we can’t talk about a Fuschia Alert!” and the color fanatic had to accept a very limited palette. This is the official word on preparedness. It tells you to have a plan (though not what sort of plan or how to come up with one) and to do some shopping, and also how nervous you ought to be with different colored warnings. Here you will find T-shirts commemorating the London bombings with expressions of quiet courage rather than, say, mad panicky jingoism or despair. If shopping makes you feel safe from terrorism, then you could do worse than shopping for these T-shirts.
I do see the problem for the planners. Even apart from the fact that whole “War on Terror” is a sham, it is hard to come up with a good plan. There you are, sitting around the table with your family, trying to review your anti-terrorism plan since it is an Orange day — and what do you say? “If you are going to work, minding your own business, and someone blows up the subway…” See? It’s not like a fire. You can’t really make good plans for dealing with the unpredictable behavior of the deranged. So Homeland Security says, “Make a plan. No, we don’t know what kind of plan. We have no advice for you, except to buy duct tape.”