Idol Chatter

Last night’s “24” went where no television show has gone before. Senators’ staffs being run by undercover terrorists. An international dictator leading commandos into battle in Washington. A firefight in the White House. It bordered on the thin line between unbelievably realistic drama and, well, just unbelievably unrealistic.
But I’ve been surprised by how the story has remained compelling given some pretty crazy plot twists.
And whether you’re a “24” fan or not, consider these questions:
• Is it realistic, in this day and age, for a band of guerillas to infiltrate and attack the White House?
• Is it realistic, in this day and age, for significant members of the government to be working for other governments, whether their motivation is money or conviction?
• Is it realistic, in this day and age, for our security agencies (FBI, Homeland Security, Secret Service, etc.) to be hopelessly outdated and undermanned in their abilities to protect our highest national officers and offices?
Depending on your answers, this season’s “24” provides either a reinforcement of message of the former President’s administration, and of the threats which we’ve been under ever since (and perhaps before) 9-11, or an over-dramatization suggesting the former administration overstated the threat levels and the measures it took to protect us.

It’s been a long time since we, as Americans, have actually had to live in fear, at least from something other than the economy.
The attacks of September 11, 2001 have remained strong in our memories, but it was, indeed, an event that few of us really expect to be duplicated as we go about our daily lives. And we’re willing to take off our shoes and endure some extra security measures while traveling to help in the cause.
But there was a time when duck-and-cover drills were the norm in our schools, and families built bomb-shelters in their basements when nuclear missiles were considered a constant and imminent threat.
The airwaves and bookshelves carry a lot of shows and publications inviting us to follow a life of faith in order to receive prosperity, or at least happiness. It’s been awhile since they’ve recited the Psalms, or Lamentations, or other prayers of duress from people and nations who feared for their lives.
“24” raises compelling questions, as well as significant issues regarding how we defend ourselves. I wish I knew our nation’s security protocols enough to know exactly how realistic “24” is. Everything in me says it’s gotta be over the top. But then again, I never would have guessed September 11 was coming until I watched it on TV.
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