|by Pierce Thorne
"The World will never be as secure."
It's a cliché heard quite a bit in the last few months. Journalists love hyperbole, and the public is eating it up.
Admittedly, the world is a very different place since September 11th, but not as secure?
We wait in lines to get into airport terminals. Armed guards walk by with automatic weapons. Police patrol public places like subways, ballparks, and bridges.
If anything, we're more secure now than we were in August of this year. Any more secure, and we'd turn into a police state. With some of the legislation coming out of congress, we're well on our way.
It's not our security that's dwindled. It's our sense of security.
As one car advertisement claims, "perception is everything."
Another touts that "perception is not always reality."
Both are true. We're such creatures of illusion.
We like to believe that we can instantly become more sexually attractive simply because we surrender a chunk of our income for a bunch of sheet metal, plastic, glass, and electronics that performs the auxiliary task of transporting us from place to place. (The scary thing: there are those gullible enough to be attracted!)
We want to believe we can live forever by buying and applying assorted crèmes, unguents, powders, and liquids.
We have come to believe that only now an airplane can be turned into a guided missile. As if to say some lapse of security on the eleventh made something possible that on the tenth would have been impossible.
We love to see the world through our rose-colored glasses. It's always startling to us when we have to take them off.
Admittedly, the world is different. Americans are different. Fewer of us have our rosy Polly Anna-ish misperceptions about the world intact. For a while, we'll see the world the way it is: hey, we're not universally loved.
Some envy us for our way of life.
Others hate us for our egocentricity, arrogance, and ignorance.
But that was the case before the eleventh, too. That much didn't change. It's just that on the eleventh, we had our head ripped out of the sand. We couldn't ignore it anymore.
The world will never seem as secure.
But perception is everything, isn't it?