Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11

Never forget. Never again.

Four simple, but important, words that speak volumes. There are other writers, journalists, bloggers and commentators greater than I who have waxed philosophical about what this day means. I won't even try. The enormity of what happened that day, not only in terms of the amount of lives lost but it’s ramifications physically, emotionally, intellectually and, dare I say, spiritually are too great to encapsulate in prose. Hence this particular blog entry is not as polished as other entries. It is more stream of conscious writing and I hope that you understand and bear with.

Our culture has been irrevocably changed. Trips abroad now seem to be tinged with a hint of danger. A simple walk down the street to the grocery store can instantly become a "dead man's walk". Decency and morality seem mutable; easily discarded in the name of "national security."

I've tried to keep this column free from political agenda and bias, preferring instead to keep its focus to matters of popular culture, literature and art. However, on this day I cannot help but note that ten years on our American culture still seems to be defined by strife from within. Pundits of two political parties attack one another in the media, spouting inflammatory rhetoric that says absolutely nothing. Each side regurgitates the same talk ad nauseum, pointing out everything that is wrong with our country (and blaming in on their political opposites), but rarely offer concrete solutions. Yet from without and within there are those that are still conspiring to inflict lethal blows to this nation and the ideals it stands for. Perhaps there hasn't been an attempt by them to repeat the damage caused by 9/11 because those very same forces are pointing and laughing at the fact that we're doing such an admirable job of that on our own. A burgeoning new political party is gaining traction; what better epitome of how fractured and prone to divisive disagreement is there?

Remember that one of the things that make this nation unique is our freedom and ability to disagree even in the face of adversity. For a couple of days after 9/11 there was a feeling of unity. Race, politics, backgrounds...(except for a couple of exceptions...and in those cases more due to fear mongering than anything else)...was immaterial. We were Americans first. After a while not only things seemed to have returned to “normal”, they got worse. As human beings…as Americans, we are better than that. If we are to learn anything from this day, it is that we have the ability to rise above our wounds to become stronger than before. Not just physically, but morally, intellectually, and spiritually, however you choose to identify with the latter term.

One last thing...on that day, we reached out to people...to some we may have taken for granted because we saw them every day...Some people never realized they were saying "good bye" to their loved ones for the final time.  So please, whenever possible, do not let a day go by without letting someone know how you feel about them. On that day someone very special said three words to me I never expected that person to say. Yet it was profound in its effect. If nothing else, 9/11 showed the fragility of this thing called life. There is a nine month build up to our entry into the world but it takes less than a second to effectuate our exit. Each day is a gift. Make it count...for yourself…and someone else.

1 comment:

  1. If we don't remember our history, we are doomed to repeat it. In fact, history constantly teaches us lessons of the way governments behave and the way people react within those governments to major and minor events.

    Americans have taken a more and more jaded view toward history and intellectualism in general as elitist notions. In a generation, only the historians and intellectuals will be pointing to the events of 9/11. We will look at it in the way that Americans today remember the Maine or the Gulf of Tonkin incident among others.

    As citizens, we are in no more danger today than any day before or after 9/11. When I get on an airplane I am more worried about it crashing due to poor maintenance practices on an aging fleet of aircraft, than whether or not some nefarious attack is about to occur.

    What lessons should we learn from any historical event is what was our government doing that led to the major event, how did it react immediately following the event, and what measures have been taken to lesson the likelihood of a repeat of the event. For a moment, let's forget that Al Qaeda did not claim responsibility for the 9/11 attack and focus on the complaints from Nations as varied as Germany, Japan and Saudi Arabia. In all of these cases, the complain is US militarism and the occupying of sovereign land by US bases and troops. Why do we spend so many resources militarism instead of focusing on education, innovation, and infrastructure? Since the days of the Spanish Civil War our government has increased it's militarism and used events like 9/11 to get American citizens to give up more rights to the government. Are the US political parties corrupt and inept? Certainly, as certain as it is true that

    Americans have allowed apathy and excuses to keep from being well informed about how our Nation operates. The American system of government only functions properly when Americans are directly involved and fully educated about their inherent rights as citizens, and push politicians to do the right thing, when they have no incentive to do the right thing on their own. This means we all need to be activists and advocates for our rights.

    Do I fear going to the grocery store? If I do, it is only because I fear my government. Thomas Jefferson said, "When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny." We now live in a nation where torture isn't torture, where you can be spied on by the government without a court order and you can be detained and your property can be seized simply because the government decided to do so. Yet color coded warning of terrorism always pointed outward and were never directed at itself as the terror maker. Until we learn the lesson of who the real enemy is, we are doomed to keep suffering calamities of our own making. Some conspiracy theorists believe 9/11 was an inside job. Whether or not history shows this to be true, it has become an inside job, because of the self destruction we've allowed to be imposed on our liberties.

    I agree with your closing statement. We should not wait for a major event to unfold to care for our neighbors, show compassion to the poor, help those in need, and say I love you to those who we need most. Love you Paul, keep writing, never give up!

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