Aug 212006
Authors: Collegian Editorial Staff

More than 3,000 died in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Nearly five years later, the damage is still being done.

The terrorists didn’t just hit a couple of buildings. They hit the American spirit, and it’s bleeding to death.

The U.S. government has been successfully operating under the assumption that its citizens would gladly give up their freedoms for safety. The “Founding Fathers” certainly didn’t view the federal government as a big, strong friend.

They viewed it as a potential tyrant and a threat to personal freedom. They boasted fierce skepticism of the government and cherished personal liberties.

That should sum up the definition of the American spirit.

Recent years’ toll on this nation’s spirit hasn’t been dramatic or showy.

There weren’t any martial-law lockdowns and we don’t have tanks rolling down our main streets. Instead, every once in a while, there’s a new inconvenience: A new line to fill out on a form; something else to declare to homeland security officials at airports; screening machines become a little bit more invasive.

In the works: A federal ID card.

Next month, who knows?

It’s ironic that the film “Braveheart,” the recently outcast Mel Gibson’s heavily romanticized tale of Scottish terrorist William Wallace’s life, became an instant classic in America. It paralleled the U.S. fight for independence against the evil British monarch.

The film’s most famous line: “You can take my life, but you can never take my freedom.”

Well, apparently you can after all.

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