Opinion

Now is the time for the sleeping giant to wake up

America has grown arrogant. I was raised by parents who truly believed–and still do–that our country is invincible: the sleeping giant. But perhaps that will be our tragic flaw–we’re still sleeping.
My parents would shun this column, labeling me as a defeatist, but I ask you: wasn’t Russia a superpower once too? How are we so sure that we will once again be victorious? How can we beat people who have more to gain in death than in life?
A famous man once said that the greatest enemy is the man who has no fear. Well, when you’re flying a kamikaze plane into an American landmark because your family will finally be relieved from the impoverished condition under which you’ve spent your entire life, I’d say that’s cause for concern. I’m not saying defeat is imminent, but I am saying it’s a possibility; a possibility that will become ever more likely the less we consider it as such.
In retrospect, it was necessary for all previous empires to fall in order for us to achieve our status, and what great empire considers itself fallible? Who gets up in the morning and thinks, “today, I will be struck by lightning?” So, who’s to say that it’s not our turn?
Within the past two years, we’ve been thrust into a sort of existence never experienced in America before. Men and women blow themselves up in restaurants and subways all the time in other countries. But it’s so far away, and so foreign to the lifestyles to which we’ve grown accustomed, that it couldn’t possibly happen to us–could it?
But it already is: racial profiling, increased airport security, suspicion over one-way tickets and an economy under serious duress. Still, we turn the other cheek; turning off the television, playing CDs instead of radio, for fear of hearing a newsbreak that we just aren’t prepared to hear.
Where is this all going to lead? As we draw closer and closer to war with Iraq, we send troops overseas and thus leave our own borders less protected from domestic attack. I wonder what will be next and when will we wise up to the possibility and increasing likelihood that life is going to change very drastically.
This war will be different. This war won’t be so far away that we’re able to turn it off with the flick of a remote. And our patriotic ignorance isn’t going to help at all–it’s only going to make us more prone to infiltration from enemy sources that are plotting, plotting, plotting away while the arrogant giant is still sleeping.

Whitney W. Friedrich is a senior majoring in Advertising and English. She can be contacted at witz615@aol.com.

February 11, 2003

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Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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