Monday, November 07, 2005

New World ...

I stopped reading the Chicago Tribune last year on the day it endorsed
Bush. So from time to time, my friends send me Tribune stories of note,
knowing that I won't see them on my own.

Yesterday, L.A. Dave sent a piece written by a Tribune editorial
assistant, originally from Jordan, who wrote about the travails of
trying to travel from Chicago to New York on Amtrak. He chose the train
because he's too often harassed in airports these days. But the train
experience was more hellish. Long story short, an Italian man called
authorities and Ahmad was detained and questioned for hours. L.A. Dave
wrote, "Paranoia can be as bad as terrorism."

This is what I wrote in reply:

That's exactly the point, my friend. Paranoia is what they want.

They can't disrupt our lives with bombs every day, but they can make us
wonder if they'll disrupt our lives with bombs every day.

I go out of my way to smile at Middle Eastern people now, just to try
to convey, "We don't all hate you."

Once, when I was traveling ... where was I going?; oh, I think I was
going to London; large plane, LOTS of fuel in the tanks ... anyway, the
guy on the plane next to me, very middle-aged and white and
educated-looking, looked up from his book at me and then at the full
plane and said, "Look at all these people. Wouldn't we so miss them?"

I totally froze for a second.

What the hell did that mean? Was he speaking generally, in a
"What-if-this-planeload-of-people-went-down?" sort of way? Or was it
more sinister than that? Should I tell a member of the flight crew and
possibly delay the flight, requiring that we all deplane, agents search
it, agents question my seatmate? Or should I say nothing and run the
risk that we'd all be blown to bits somewhere east of Long Island?

In the end, I said, "That sounded ominous."

He didn't say anything.

I made mental notes about his features.

And seven hours later, we landed in London.

How do we balance "safe" and "sorry" in this new world?


Anonymous Ethan said...

The Tribune always endorses Republicans for President. That is actually their policy.

Why they can't temper their op-ed page with the realities of the rest of the news pages, I have no idea. All I can say is, at least they're honest about it. (When pressed.)

12:30 PM  

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