It is no secret that "terror" is once again asserting its stranglehold on American Culture. Due to the recent attacks in Paris and the tragic shooting in San Bernardino, Americans are once again demonstrating that they are still increasingly susceptible to the same problem, reaction, solution narrative we have seen play out time and again.
In response to these attacks, many Americans are responding with jingoism laden with hatred. In the last month alone, we have witnessed more than half of the nation's governors refuse to accept refugees from Syria, a Muslim store owner in New York City being assaulted, vandals desecrating a Quran with feces in Texas, and a California Department of Corrections employee being caught on video making anti-Islamic slurs, then throwing coffee and an umbrella at a group of Muslim men praying in a park.
One need to look no further than the remarks of presidential hopeful Donald Trump to ascertain the truly horrific level of xenophobic induced fear that is presently gripping the nation.
This level of hate filled vitriol is reminiscent of the nation's reaction to the attacks on 9/11 which, as we all know, has resulted in a state of perpetual war, an encroachment on personal liberty the likes of which has never been seen, and the resultant police state used to enforce these tyrannical policies.
If we want to overcome our fears, avoid yet another catastrophic war, and create a better future for our children, it is important that we receive accurate information in addition to obtaining first-hand experience, in order to make well-informed, logical decisions. These five simple steps can ensure that anyone has the power to do exactly that.
1. Kill Your Television!
Or to put it more specifically, get rid of your paid television service. With the variety of services the internet currently offers, there is truly no need to subject yourself or your family to the "idiot box." This is important for several reasons. It is well known that mainstream media in this country is run by a very small percentage of individuals. In fact, just six corporations control 90% of the media. Sadly this centralization of information is used time and again to misinform people rather than educate them. After reviewing over 900 films, Dr. Jack Shaheen released his book Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies A People, which details how network TV, cable, and films negatively stereotype Muslims. The documentary based on his book is available for free on youtube.
2. Get Involved In Your Community
One of the most powerful ways we can truly effect change is on a community level. In these troubling economic times, many may find it difficult to find time to spend with their families, much less, complete strangers. This subconscious division from our neighbors and those around us is at the root of many reasons why people who wish to do harm to others are able to succeed. If you can find even just a few minutes to spare out of your daily life to get to know the people around you and engage with your neighbors, the more likely it is that you will be aware of any potential threats and more able to assist people in your community.
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3. Arm Yourself
As The Free Thought Project previously reported, police chiefs across the country are admitting that armed citizens are the best deterrent against terrorism. While the term "arming yourself" is traditionally associated with firearms, it is important to note, this does not necessarily mean you have to purchase a gun. You can arm yourself with any tools of self-defense you feel are appropriate. In addition to purchasing a weapon, you can study martial arts, boxing or any self-defense technique you choose. The most important thing, is that you have comfort in your ability to defend yourself and your property, without being reliant on assistance from government or other sources.
4. Educate Yourself
It is common knowledge that human beings tend to fear things they do not understand. Fear of the unknown is no doubt a catalyst for much of the control that has been exercised over people for thousands of years. For this very reason, it is imperative that you educate yourself about any topic on which you choose to form an opinion. Everything you want to know is right at your fingertips thanks to the internet. We cannot defeat ideas with bombs and bullets. The only way to defeat an idea is with a better idea. In this day in age ignorance is a choice and knowledge is power.
Last, but most certainly not least...
5. Stop Voting!
This may be the most important step you can take if you want to end the war on terror. It doesn't matter which puppet you select, history has shown us time and again that no real change will ever come from within the corrupt system we presently call the US Government. It is a tragic irony that so many Americans continue to put their hope in the same system which has created the problems we presently face.
While the Reagan administration receives much of the blame for arming an organization whose members would go on to create Al-Qaeda, it is often overlooked that this policy was actually enacted during the Carter administration. Known as Operation Cyclone, this covert foreign policy, which began in 1979, marked the beginning of US involvement in the Afghan-Soviet War. Reagan continued this policy with National Security Decision Directive 166, which escalated U.S. covert action in Afghanistan and further aided the Mujaheddin in their fight against the Soviets.
Not only did Reagan continue Carter's policy in Afghanistan, he expanded US involvement in the Middle East. On November 26, 1983, he Signed National Security Decision Directive 114, which called for heightened regional military cooperation to defend oil facilities in Iraq. According to leaked documents, in 1988, the Reagan administration was still providing aid to Saddam Hussein after officials learned that he was using chemical weapons against Iran.
Sadly, no matter how much "hope" and "change" are promised, the result is always the same. We can plainly see this today with President Obama's continuation of George W. Bush's unconstitutional drone attacks in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan, which to date, have killed in excess of 2000 innocent people.
Yet again a president has not only continued a predecessor's policies but has enacted the same failed policies himself. The current incarnation of this time-tested failure, as many are aware, is the Obama administration's continued funding and arming of "moderate" Syrian rebels after it was discovered they used chemical weapons.
It is said that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. How many times will we continue to make these same mistakes before we finally say enough is enough?
Johnny Liberty is a researcher and investigative journalist. You can follow him on twitter @LibertyUnltd