Despite all my best intentions, I slowly find myself sinking into a depression unlike anything I have experienced before. I actually believed that the United States could overcome any obstacle. Yet, what I find is truth in the old military adage that we always go into a war prepared to fight the last one.
With Iraq and Afghanistan we came equipped with jungle tactics that worked in Viet Nam. [Remember those helicopters sent into Iran to free the hostages stopped by sand?] Then even before the resolutions in Iraq and Afghanistan, we were challenged by ISIS—an enemy without a country—more like the pirates of the past that we contained but never eliminated.
Today we are engaged in an entirely new cycle with cyber-warfare—not committed to a battlefield far away, but right here within our own borders, in our own homes. Because there were no bombs, no battleships, and no armored divisions, we pooh-poohed the seriousness of the enemy. We expected all those guns would protect us.
We expected ISIS to blow us up, but we never prepared for mentally ill Americans to lead to ISIS-type battles at public facilities. We used the word “hack” to describe the attacks on our national security intelligence—a word meant to convey amateurism—for something quite personal and central to our security. We need to find a better word that conveys the utmost importance of this breach.
In a nightmare while I was sleeping last night, I felt terror as I saw the Orange one take the oath of office and then, from right there on the podium, begin signing executive orders by the dozens ordering the military to surround the Capitol and deny Congress the ability to meet. All of his tweets were being executed within hours on his first day, catching the country by surprise.
I am not sure where that nightmare came from, but I did feel really helpless to prevent it… and I was not alone. The United States was built on trust, law, and order. Without those principles, what holds us together? The level of hatred and mistrust has destroyed our ability to “rise as one against all enemies.” I never expected this to happen in my lifetime. I suspect I would have felt the same way the day after Hitler came to power, had I been there in Germany.
Only a few days stand between my nightmare and a real one. I have long believed that dreams are less important in their images than in their emotional content. Yes, what has been fear over the past few weeks now borders on terror. As a country, we seem to be incapable of doing battle with cyber forces. Make no mistake about it: I do not believe Trump is anything more than a puppet, but I dread the cyber forces that control his strings.
To borrow a football analogy: We need a Hail-Mary pass for this one if we are to survive. The dark forces of hatred and division are strong and we can only resort to name-calling and cartoons in response. Maybe we still think that will be enough. These will never suffice to change the course on which our country has embarked. I do not have an answer with a cure-all.
Maybe I should have played more video games for strategies… Maybe I should have fought harder to demand justice from the courts and Congress to bring the oligarchs to pay their fair share… Maybe… maybe… maybe… what? We seem to have thrown in the towel on “liberty and justice for all.” Maybe that is both our strength and our Achilles’ Heel…