Do You Feel Safe? A Chronicle Questionnaire

Test your patriotism with our attempt at Total Information Awareness.

Do You Feel Safe? A Chronicle Questionnaire
Illustration By Doug Potter

In the USA of the New World Order, round-the-clock surveillance of everybody and everything is all the rage. We've embarked on several permanent, terrorizing "wars on terror": war on Osama bin Laden, war on Saddam Hussein (and a handful of other people alleged to live in Iraq), war on al Qaeda ("your worldwide terrorism solutions group"), with Indonesia, Colombia, Syria, the Philippines, and Canada waiting in the wings. We've got a brand-spanking new Dept. of Homeland Security bringing us "Total Information Awareness," to be "crisis-managed" by the unrepentant Contra-conspirator John Poindexter -- who makes an episode of 24 look like Sesame Street.

In short, you should feel safer now than at any point in your life. But how enthusiastically are you enjoying all of this protection and attention? To find out, answer these questions, then see below to determine what your score means.


1. When I hear Attorney General John Ashcroft singing "Let the Eagle Soar," I:

a. Thrust my right hand over my heart and sing along. God bless America.

b. Recall my high school choir teacher, Mr. Geever (incarcerated for letting his eagle soar in front of the peewee soccer team).

c. Surf the Web in search of casting calls for the new Jerry Bruckheimer-directed documentary film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger: Triumph of the W.

2. To me, the USA PATRIOT Act represents:

a. A bold, unified congressional action taken by our nation's leaders in a time of crisis. God bless America.

b. Are those the missiles we used in Iraq last time, the missiles we're going to use in Iraq this time, the last refuge of DC scoundrels, or what? I'm confused.

c. The most frightening and Constitution-thwarting piece of legislation enacted since the days J. Edgar Hoover was cross-dressing against communism.

3. If I ran the Dept. of Homeland Security, I would:

a. Deploy my own color-coded alert system, preferably in pastel hues.

b. Distribute "No Terrorists on Board!" bumper stickers to all Anglo-Americans who qualify, and ship everybody else to Guantanamo Bay.

c. Require everybody in the Bush administration, the U.S. Congress, and all 50 governors to re-take high school civics, with weekly quizzes on the Bill of Rights.

4. After September 11, the first bumper sticker I bought was:

a. "United We Stand."

b. "Kill 'Em All and Let God Sort 'Em Out."

c. "Whatever Happened to Moammar Gadhafi?"

5. Saddam Hussein is to the U.S. as:

a. Communism is to the Judeo-Christian free market. Let's roll!

b. Bill Clinton is to the Democratic Party.

c. The Bush administration is to the U.S.

6. I think Operation TIPS is:

a. An aggressive and effective way to unite the country against terrorists, Muslims, and other obnoxious people on my TV like Al Sharpton, Eminem, Nancy Pelosi, and that fat comedian from Cleveland.

b. A Playboy Channel show featuring naked Women's Army Corps cadets. Oh wait -- that's "Operation Nips"!

c. A sign of the apocalypse -- but that's pretty much how I feel about everything these days.

7. If someone asked me to join Operation TIPS, I would:

a. Sign up for my country -- especially if I get to wear a volunteer badge or lapel pin featuring binoculars and the slogan, "Scientia Est Potentia."

b. Leave me alone -- I'm trying to watch Everybody Loves Raymond.

c. Install aluminum foil on all my windows, drop kick the cell phone and e-mail, and communicate only by hand signals.

8. The increased usage of video surveillance cameras in public places is:

a. Good for the electronics industry, and therefore good for America. And especially good for Asia.

b. An efficient method of collecting potential footage for new episodes of America's Funniest Home Videos.

c. The reason I wear a burqua to the Fiesta Mart.

9. Total Information Awareness, the project assigned to Iran-Contra conspirator John Poindexter in order to create computer dossiers on every U.S. citizen, makes me feel:

a. Important!

b. A little nervous. If my wife finds out I watch the Playboy Channel, she'll kill me.

c. Like moving to a cave in Afghanistan, where the U.S. military can't find me.

10. We'll know we've won the war on terrorism:

a. When the evildoers have all been vanquished, and every American can fearlessly return to shopping at a mega-mall near you.

b. When Osama, Saddam, and Kim Jong-il star in a movie version of Three's Company.

c. When the government goes bankrupt, the dollar collapses, and not even Qatar can afford to buy U.S.-manufactured military hardware.

11. When a German politician called President Bush a "Nazi" and a Canadian official called him a "moron," I knew:

a. Why the Defense Department is always ready to go to war on two fronts.

b. I was watching reruns of Hogan's Heroes.

c. That not everybody on the planet gets their news from the Fox Network and their spin from Ari Fleischer.

12. The appointment of Henry Kissinger to investigate the September 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. fills me with:

a. Unalloyed pride that such a legendary American statesman is ready to do whatever it takes to get to the truth.

b. Befuddled uneasiness: Isn't he the guy who played the wise old neighbor on The Tim Allen Show?

c. The profound conviction that satire is dead, irony is dead, and the unquiet ghost of Richard Nixon haunts the universe like Darth Vader.


Score: a = 3 points, b =2 points, c = 1 point.

30-36: You're a real patriot! Grab those night-vision goggles and get to work.

20-29: You're a perfectly normal American. Thank you for your continued cooperation.

0-12: Maybe you should move to Madagascar, where you'll feel more "free" and certainly more comfortable.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

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