Dictionary.com defines Terrorism as "the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization."
Many Americans, especially the middle class, are undergoing economic terrorism right now and they have no option but to submit.
Many are in a state of fear. It's a very frightening thing not to know whether you can pay the mortgage, or rent, or if your car will be repossessed in the dark of night, or if you must choose between a meal and your medicine.
Or if the latest round of pink slips has your name on it.
I have seen things I have only heard about from the lips of our elders who survived The Great Depression:
Personal items, including teddy bears and family photos, tossed to the curb in front of a foreclosed home.
Several boarded-up homes, nice homes, on one street, as if foreclosure was an epidemic spreading like wildfire. For some neighborhoods, it is.
Whole families shacking up in one-room, pay-by-the-week motels.
People with nice cars buying two gallons of gas because they can't afford to fill'er up.
Crumbling schools. Fallen bridges. Rampant robberies.
And I have seen things that I thought I'd never see before: A well-dressed person buying groceries with her credit card--and it was declined.
Speaking of grocery shopping, about a week ago I happened to be standing in line behind an unshaven white man who had beer, crackers and cat food (the brand in the tuna-shaped cans) in his cart. I couldn't help but wonder if the cat food was for him.
I felt so depressed at the sight because from a cultural perspective, many African-Americans don't tend to think of white people as being broke or having a hard time, ever, so the sight of this white man buying cat food allegedly for his own consumption was, for me, a harbinger of more economic terrorism to befall us all.
In the face of these obviously strapping times, I've also witnessed many people lose jobs, while a chosen few (from CEOs to connected government types) receive whopping raises and golden parachutes despite their on-the-job failures.
And I've witnessed, and personally experienced, the cost of every necessity of life--utilities, food, transportation and shelter--skyrocket for no apparent reason. For so many of our citizens, living paycheck-to-paycheck (thought to be the habit of the financially uneducated) is now a sweet memory from the good ole' days.
So as we continue to fund the good fight to rid the world of terrorism, can we at least address the economic terrorism that is going on right here at home?
We also have hearts and minds that need "winning over."