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Bill Maher "When You Ride Alone You Ride With Bin Laden"

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The introduction of Bill Maher’s book is the beginning of a wakeup call that every American citizen needs to listen too. It’s brief example of how the US government likes to keep its citizens in the dark rather than educating them on how to aid in the fight against its foes. He speaks of generations past that were supported by their government to preserve and not waste. How the generations of WWI and WWII were asked to sacrifice travel and to conserve metals such as tin to aid in the war effort. Mr. Maher states “Civilian support can be the deciding factor in a war, provided people know what to do”(Maher 1) . This is a concept that has unfortunately fallen away to our selfish capitalism in which we are only concerned about ourselves rather than are nation as a whole. He also states how the government is lacking compared to past leaders in that they do not use posters or any media for that matter to involve the citizens of the US. He brings to light how vague American security really is such as our CNN terrorist alerts with the different colors of the day. How many Americans actually sought out what those colors actually meant and how accurate were they. The US government is quick with the finger pointing so that the lame does not solely rest on their shoulders as he states in his opening sentence “When the shock of September 11, 2001 wore off and Washington D.C. went back to what it does best pointing fingers” (Maher 1).

The most intriguing passage to me was on page 105 “The Lamp You Don’t Turn Off”. Especially since Christmas is my favorite time of year like most Americans. How many of us actually know that it takes” 11 gallons of oil to light one 75 watt bulb for a year” (Maher 105), I would say not many. The US Government post 9/11 posted the best way to win is basically to pretend it never happened. Shop like you would normally, in fact shop even more, and decorate your house with lights. Go to Wal-mart if it lights up and moves and talks buy it. That’s the message I received from US leaders. I was made to believe that is how I can help us win the war on Terrorism. “I hate to say it but we used to win to feel better, and now we feel better to win” (Maher 106). Very interesting and true statement he makes I this passage. Back in the depression as his gives the example you were grateful for a piece of fruit, and now we want lavish gifts like Play Station 3 and humungous televisions. I personally do keep an old fashioned ideal that he writes in the end of the chapter. I do turn off the lights in every room I leave and I constantly chase my wife and roommates and do the same, however I must confess my reasoning is different I don’t want the huge bill at the end of the month. If we could all ban together under good leadership it would not be hard to scale down our oil guzzling Christmas displays. Maybe we should thinking along the lines of “Less is more”. This year a simple wreath will suffice at the Tromello house with some bows and non electrical powered items to adorn the outside of my house. He does make a good point is saying all the little gestures add up.

“The Problem at the Airports” is another passage that made me realize even more how blind we are. I do not fly all that often, however I am at the airport quite often on work related business. It’s true how ridiculous are we that we are checking the ID cards of celebrities that are on 25 magazine covers in the supermarket but not Muhamed because that would be profiling. This passage in Mr. Maher’s book actually made me angry it demonstrates how ignorant we are. “The first casualty of war is common sense” (Maher 15). We have become a society that is so afraid of hurting feelings we redirect the our efforts so we can still claim we are doing a good job at security. How can anyone defend searching a 7 year old boy who has not the mental capacity or understanding of words like Jihad or Terrorism? Yet we refrain from thoroughly searching young men who fit description of possible terrorists because that could cause issues of profiling and that’s racism. All men from the age of 18 to 40 should be put through a little more scrutiny at the airports. That would include myself however, I fit the demographic the men who flew in the World Trade Center were my age. Bill Maher states “Somewhere along the line we became this oversensitive victim culture where it is assumed that no one is ever supposed to get physically or emotionally hurt” (Maher 16). Why are we as a people so afraid to open our mouths it’s because we don’t want to be sued in a civil action case were some money hungry shark of a



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