All It Takes Historical Context

Carl Phillips
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Civil Liberties

In 2004, the year that this poem was first published, American culture was in the process of redefining the distinctions between what is private, “invisible” to the public eye, and what is in the public interest. Things that had once been left invisible were no longer shielded by concepts of “privacy,” but were instead opened up to public scrutiny in an attempt to keep ahead of the enemy in the war on terrorism. Two and a half years after the destruction in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania caused by plane hijackers on September 11, 2001, and a year after the country went to war to overthrow the Baathist regime in Iraq, American law enforcement authorities were vigilant against further terrorist activities enacted against the United States on American soil. Color-coded alerts about the likelihood of terrorist attacks were issued by the Department of Homeland Security, alternating between yellow (“Significant...

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This section contains 580 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the All It Takes Study Guide
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