As regular readers of C&J know, every Friday I update the color-coded terror alert status in my "By the Numbers" section. But the only thing I ever change is the number of days the system has been in place (1,459 as of today). I never have to change the color itself.
It's always yellow. Sunshine yellow. Blinding sundress yellow. Canary yellow. Yellow Elephant yellow. Or as I like to call it...pee-your-pants yellow.
Did you know that there are colors besides yellow? It's true. There's "Blue," which is GUARDED (general risk of terror attacks). And there's "Green," which is LOW (low risk of terror attacks). But right now we're at "Yellow," which is ELEVATED (significant risk of terror attacks). And, except for a brief moment when we stuck our collective toe into "Orange," which is HIGH (high risk of terrorist attacks with a 30% chance of showers), we've been at yellow every day since the system was put in place.
Now, if we were at terror alert level "Red," which is SEVERE risk, oh my goodness we'd be in a whompin' world of trouble. Why, the Department of Homeland Security suggests you'd have to "Stay tuned to TV or radio for current information," "Expect traffic delays," and "Contact your school/business to determine [the] status of [your] work day." That's right, folks---it's a good idea to call ahead first to find out if your co-workers' faces are turning into a green goo at the office. It'll help you avoid those awkward moments at the water cooler.
But yellow's the color for me. I like it. It fits and accessorizes well. And all I have to do to be a good American citizen at level Yellow is "Continue to be alert for suspicious activity and report it to authorities." Believe me, there's nothing like the feeling of patriotism that washes over you after calling the police at 3am and watching your 80 year-old neighbor lady get extraordinarily-renditioned to Syria for baking suspicious-looking pies.
So today I lift my rum and Coke to the geniuses at the Department of Homeland Security. And instead of a wimpy green lime, I'll garnish it with a plump, juicy yellow lemon straight from the private dungeon of Alberto Gonzales.
George W. Bush, and the members of his adminsitration and Congress who have backed his misguided policies, have materially increased the risk that every American, at home and abroad faces from terrorism. Worst of all, his administration has failed to admit mistakes. Mistakes like the color codes terror alert system, like putting Ted Kennedy on a no fly list with no appeals process, like making U.S. Marshalls wear business attitire on trips to tropical leisure destinations, like illegal warrantless wire taps that don't produce any leads and divert the FBI from live leads, like the stupid idea of putting a terrorist linked United Arab Empirates controlled company in charge of U.S. ports (which Karl Rove had to talk them out of dropping), like destroying U.S. credibility without gaining accurate information through illegal torture and enemy combatant policies, and like starting an unnecessary war in Iraq based on misinformation that Bush knew or should have known about that has alienated our allies and turned a chilly stand off with Saddam Huessin into a blood bath and terrorist breeding ground. Suffice it to say that UAE has far more ties and far more direct ties to Al-Queda than Iraq ever did until after we invaded and created an environment perfect for them there.