It was sometime in the spring of 2008 when I finally realized that The United States had lost the War on Terror.
I was standing in the airport waiting to pick up my wife and young son. There were a few other people standing in front of me who were waiting to see friends and family or just killing time until they had to pass through security.
I noticed a policeman walk by me with a dog. It was one of those dogs the police use when they’re trying to find drugs in some guy’s car. The policeman worked his way over to the group standing in front of me as they continued carrying on their normal conversations, unaware of what was going down right behind them.
The dog was sniffing everything. Purses, suitcases, and whatever else people have with them at airports. Eventually the dog got to a woman and began sniffing her leg. He slowly worked his way up her backside. The officer stood by, casually watching. The dog got a little too close and the woman quickly turned around to see what was touching her. The crime fighting duo walked away quietly.
Their cover had been blown but the damage had been done.
Since that day, I’ve read news reports about even worse invasions of privacy. I’ve even heard from friends whose children have been subjected to these kinds of abuses at school. All in the name of fighting the War on whatever the government decided needed a war declared on it.
You can be certain of this. When our government declares a war on something, that war will be long and unwinnable and our freedom is sure to get caught in the crossfire.
But a lot of American citizens seem okay with that. It’s as if a majority of our country has traded in freedom for the promise of a little more security.
A couple of years ago I was able to visit some of the most secure men I’ve ever seen in my life. Before I could even see them, I had to show ID, pass through several gates and be escorted by high level security officials. Finally, I walked into a hallway where we stood eye to eye. Well, eye to eye with a cage between us. These men were on death row. They never gave security a second thought. But their freedom was gone and their death was imminent.
I fear the same fate for our country.
Tonight, two men will debate each other. One wants to be our president again and the other is looking for his first shot. These men will probably talk a lot about their plan for the economy and their plan for Libya but neither is likely to share his plan for protecting the freedoms of the people he hopes to govern.
Afterwards, the Democrats will walk away convinced that their man has won. The Republicans will do the same with their guy. And then they’ll start blaming each other for the mess that we’re in.
But our politicians aren’t the only ones to blame. We are just as accountable as they are. We’re the ones that chose to look the other way or toe the party line as our freedoms were being stripped away.
Os Guinness said that, “Liberty requires not just structures of freedom but the spirit of freedom.”
I’m afraid that our spirit of freedom is gone. But we didn’t lose it. Somewhere along the line, we gave it away in exchange for free cell phones, free healthcare and the promise of security.
And that’s how we lost the War on Terror.
Because of Jesus, I have lasting freedom (John 8:31-38) and a better home awaits me (Revelation 21).
I’ve been reminding myself of this a lot lately.
“In the end they will lay their freedom at our feet, and say to us, ‘Make us your slaves, but feed us.'” Fyodor Dostoevsky