Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 11: Building Community Engagement in the Security of America?

Keywords or Terms: Community Engagement; Security and safety; Strategies for Preparedness;  Science; Practice; Practitioners; Ethics; New York; Philadelphia; Twin Towers; Anniversary; Central Intelligence Agency; National Security Agency;  and, Heroes of September 11, 2011  

Building a community focused engagement is essential to the security of America. The deaths of our heroes eleven years ago weren’t completely predicated on the inefficiency of Presidential briefing regarding the security of the nation. Yes, there were some slackness in how the CIA briefing that could have prevented the mayhem got crowded out by other security issues; or, how the Bush Administration handled the after-math of the national disaster. However, the people of America owe equal responsibility or maybe obligation for their own security, just as they do for their personal safety or security in a crowded park. No one would dispute that many who ride the New York, Philadelphia or any big City subway, is often circumspect or apprehensive of the next passenger in the carriage or tube, not only out of fear of the unknown; but also, the element of cautiousness in case an eventuality occurs that may result in loss of property or life. All Americans just have to be careful and take on the body armor to protect, preserve and ensure that September 11, 2011 does not repeat itself ever again. That is why the debate on today’s blog is focusing on individual citizen’s preparedness and contemplated strategies that may help us survive another possible disaster.

For those who question the premise of my argument, there is the notion that preparedness strategies are not built on traumatic experiences alone; reminders of trauma and loss of life, are behavioral elements that interplay into how we see ourselves before a similar disaster and how we handle associated grief, adversities and complications surrounding disasters. Cognitive behavioral treatments offered to war victims are based on therapeutic foci which many psychologists have felled back to in treating family members of those who suffered losses from the event of September 11, 2011. No matter how you conceive it, politically, sociologically or psychologically, the September 11 event was an act of war. This is why all, all of us who saw those planes fly into the twin towers, could have used group therapy treatment from psychologists, including multiple sessions involving the five foci of group therapy: retelling of the traumatic experience, remembering the trauma and loss of lives, the interplay of the traumatic experience and the associated grief that fell on individual family members who lost a loved one in the world trade center, post-traumatic adversities and developmental progressions. Having treatment sessions as these would, according to behavioral psychologists, prepare us for dealing with similar events; and for those, who doubt that there is possibility of another September 11 happening in America? I’ll just respond: talk to sophisticated diplomats at US Department of State, the Central Intelligence Agency and those at the National Security Agency. History has a way of repeating itself!

Now back to my thesis of building effective community engagement for the security of America. Citizens of this country may not realize it: we are now living in a new world that wants to confront our dominance of whatever sphere of life that we have made advances, in the past and dominated the world’s psyche. We are now in a world, where the former appeal of our culture, ideals and ideas are facing challenges from nations, religions and peoples, who once considered us, superior and first rate. Not that we are not still first rate but that, these other nations and peoples, want to be like us so badly, they cannot wait! Historians will inform you that power dominance of any state, imperialistic or not, has a way of following the diminishing returns prospects or dynamics. Now, my argument is not in line with the diminishing returns conception of the Republican Party extremist groups; rather, on historical understanding of what happened to nations as Rome, Spain and Britain. These nations were once super powers and force to recon with in all spheres of life.

One of the challenges we confront as Americans today borders on how to guarantee the security of an enormous nation with millions of square footage of space and a population so diverse, no other nation on earth enjoys the privilege. Contrary to what some myopic ignoramus groups will tell you, America is diverse, in culture, peoples, religions, economics and what have you, than no other nation on earth, and we are all the more better for it! Yes, we are a melting-pot, however, the uniqueness of our peoples, religions and culture is a work in progress. We are always welcoming new immigrants from all works of lives and persuasions and we are always working hard to integrate them into the American way of life, which has worked for us so perfectly for several decades. Could you imagine that today, we are considering two Americans with lofty ideas on the path which the nation should take, who are good people and persons, from different religions, family background, wealth and ethnicity. Romney is white, but hardly puritan, he is of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon). Obama is mixed race, but hardly puritan, he is Pentecostal or of a new age religion. Never mind the current slew of campaign messages from Mitt Romney that is laden with religiosity and holier-than-thou noise. The fact is Romney is not of the Puritan-leaning religious opinions. Never mind also his political campaign rhetoric: “I will not take God out of the name of our platform; I will not take off God off our coins; I will not take God out of our heart.” 

If one of the Mayflower pilgrims woke up today, he or she will not believe the spate of religions and pluralities in America; or of the two men aspiring to sit on Uncle Sam’s throne. While the pilgrims believe that, before the foundation of the world, only those God’s elected would receive God’s grace and nothing that a man or woman does during his life would cause him or her to be saved (or damned); and, God would not choose sinners to be elected into offices of leadership, there are convincing indication that the religion of at least one of the men aspiring to become the President of the nation, hardly defaults on the notion that there are only two sacraments, baptism and the Lord’s super. Other sacraments that may or may not be part of Romney’s or Obama’s religion, including confession, penance, confirmation, ordination, marriage and last rites, are irrelevant. Thus, from the Mayflower pilgrim’s perspectives and religion, neither Romney nor Obama is electable. That is why, Romney’s clothing of himself in religiosity and touting not to  remove God from coins or platform could have qualified him to be President of this great nation, for he is not puritan.

The peoples of America are considering either of the parties’ flag bearers or candidates at this time, because of the magnanimity of our fore-fathers, who separated Church or religion from politics. We are considering these two fine human beings because of our creed:  “[We] believe in the United States of America as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed, a democracy in a republic, a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes. I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to support its Constitution, to obey its laws, to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies.” Thus, if anyone is attempting to introduce religion into America’s politics, remind that individual that, he neither qualifies to occupy the office of the Presidency based on the pilgrim’s nation building aspirations and dream in 1776; or the creed accepted by United States House of Representatives on April 3, 1918.

Why mention religion in the context of America’s security and community engagement? This is done here because many politicians, out of ignorance and personal interest, have introduced the notion of religious affiliation with the current security issues that the nation as a whole is having. One past Republican President associated September 11th disaster with religious philosophical differences between those who want to harm America and those who want to preserve America? We have seen hundreds of people killed within the borders of our country, because of their religious affiliation, their commitment to the ideals of America, their identification with particular persuasion on the role of religion in America’s life and opposition to religious affiliation in qualifying a person to run for the office of the Presidency. Thus, religion has been a very difficult issue right from the inception of this nation and that is probably why, there is a solid argument for the separation of state and religion.

For the goodness of all, we must continue to separate religion affiliation or philosophy or identity from the fight for our nation’s security. We must counter any politician that introduces religion as a wedge among our people; to prevent us from securing our borders or protecting lives and properties of Americans. We must build our community engagement groups in the security of the nation, not on the basis of religious affiliation, philosophy or identity; for all we care, there are over 360 million peoples from more than a dozen religions in America. Rather, we must build our community engagement groups for the security of the nation on the following: 1) science; 2) practice; 3) practitioners; and, 4) ethics and integrity.  The following discussions present the arguments for the four nodal points for engaging the citizenry in the security of the nation:

Science: It will be optimal to adapt the existing security apparatus and engagement on proven science of human behavior. We must attempt to understand why people get into hate groups or engage in disorderly behavior that leads to mass killing and psychological mayhem. We must identify and test the different risk classes on issues of safety and security in our communities and prepare alternative options for citizen’s education on what are best scientific practices in our source of food, waters, air and any other factors that play into the safety and security of our nation. We must make available at the finger tips of our peoples and residents, findings and information on how high risk communities, societies and nations, prone to constant threats of violence, survive. We must highlight some of the misconceptions regarding what leads people to non-conforming behavior and educate the population in the understanding of behavioral issues that may lead to violence and communicable disorder in the public space. We must implement appropriate scientifically based findings for resolving conflicts that may lead to violence and mass killings.

Practice: When ready to develop your security and safety teams in your neighborhoods, communities and space, you must be ready to invest in best practices without biases and phobias, which could jeopardize the whole apparatus of safety and security. You cannot build good foundation of anything that serves people on distrust, apprehensions and doubts; and still expect their participation fully. When you dissect  peoples' differences on the basis of race, religion, sex, disabilities, national origin, your are saying those differences are so high in the hierarchy of things, it is probably difficult to overcome those them to guarantee the safety of everyone. Lies and propaganda encourage distrust and create dissonance in the process of engaging people in the security of their communities. The objective thing is to reveal information regarding what holds people back from getting involved in other people’s safety and the safety of their communities, state and nation. Security Agencies must model their programs in accordance with national standards and replicate those standards across the nation and peoples of this country. The goal to build community engagement in safety and security must be sustainable and measurable. Wherever issues of doubts and bias may arise, candid efforts must be made to eradicate this and build capacity for tolerance and accommodation among peoples of America.

Practitioners: emerging underground hate groups in our communities, churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, assemblies and associations may tear into our ability to achieve enough paybacks in our efforts to build engaging communities in the security and safety of the nation. We must help our citizens understand what the future of the security of our nation is going to look like when everyone gets engaged in the process of building a sustainable and safe environment. We must not remain inept as a people or as a nation in protecting the lives and safety of our people. While recognizing the place of freedom and liberty in a democracy, it is still essential to have in place best methods and practices of keeping all peoples and property safe. It is a bad thing to remain disconnected from those factors and behaviors that create avenue for violation of the safety and psyche of the people, wherever they reside. We must engage terror on the WEB, internet or digitally in the midst of confusion regarding freedom of speech and what have you.

Ethics and Integrity:  As the safety of America as whole is at stake, all Americans must keep themselves current and informed about what is essential requirements for keeping safe, both on land, air, seas, shores and borders. It is the duty of everyone to perform safety drills, adhere to security bodies (NSA, CIA, FBI and our local enforcement) officers’ and agencies recommendations for keeping safe; meet with neighbors and report issues of potential safety abridgement that may destabilize our immediate communities and the nation as a whole. For the sake of elevating the awareness protocol, we must encourage everyone to detract from making statements and engaging in behaviors that damage trust and conviction in association and working together to keep America safe. All Americans must commit to measurable safety goals that serve the safety of everyone on land, air and sea; and, undertake or accept responsibilities and sometimes inconveniences, that guarantee the safety of everyone in the immediate space that each finds him or herself.

In this time of distrust and cynicism, all Americans have the obligations to hold the highest and impeachable ethics and integrity paramount to protecting lives, property and safety of all Americans within and without our borders. That is one way to guarantee our civic duties to our nation and peoples. That is one way to prevent trepidation of people who are of different religion, race, sex, disability or national origin, who are residing in your immediate community, working together for the betterment of all. That is how to get our citizens prepared and contemplative of many possible scenarios in an emergency and how best to survive disasters. That is one way to preserve the memories of the heroes we lost on September 11, 2011.
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