I'm a victim of 9/11. I was in the building when the plane hit.
Compared to some people, I was lucky: I wasn't injured. I kept my job. I got home easily. But compared to the vast majority of Americans, I am a victim. I had glass in my hair. I lost a year's work, and some irreplaceable items. My family went crazy for a while, wondering if I was OK. My kid had nightmares. You explain to a 5 year old why (in his words) "They crashed into the building on purpose?" or reply to "I thought pilots were good people".
But I am a victim another way.
I share part of this other victimhood with all Americans. I am a victim, not of terror, but of the so-called `war on terror'. I am a victim of a government that is out-of-control. I am a victim of crushing national debt. I am a victim because I live in a country that went from having the sympathy of the world to one that is a pariah, an outcast among nations, a rogue state. I am a victim because I now have to `watch what I say'. I am a victim because my rights are violated, not by some nebulous and inimical group of terrorists, but by my own government.
They do not speak for me
But in another way, I do not share this other victimhood. My victimhood is being abused.
I have watched for years as my government - our government - has whittled away my rights, stolen my freedoms, and wrecked the constitution in the name of a false security. I have watched and watched and watched, as they have used my name - my victimhood - to make me a victim once again.
They do not speak for me
So, I will post this diary, and I will take action. I will volunteer. I will give money. I will make a difference. This is MY country, this is MY victimhood, and I will not have it abused. I am no martyr; I have no death wish; I hope that no terrorist ever strikes anywhere again. But the founders of this country knew what they were doing. They wanted freedom. They DEMANDED freedom. They put their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor on the line to win freedom. And now it is reduced to this.
But it is worse even than this; it would be one thing to pay too heavy a price to increase our safety. But we have paid the price for nothing. We have arrested thousands of people, and let them go. We have spied on our own citizens, and found out nothing. We have allied ourselves with torturers, and yet, we are not safe. Indeed, by making our enemies unite, we have made ourselves weaker, and our enemies stronger.
This victim demands an end to the 'war on terror' that is really a war on America.
Impeach the president.
Peter Flom is a statistician at a nonprofit research company and an independent consultant. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and two sons.