11 September 2011

11 September 2011

Today is September 11, the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center a horrible event in which thousands of people died. Many more would become sick as a result of the destruction and the newspapers and airwaves have been filled with accounts of the events and of plans for the tenth year memorial. It is quite apparent that nothing more is occurring anywhere in the world.

These days of memorial and prayer are mostly veneer. Today we remember the event and memorialize the dead. Today we offer our respect to the firefighters who risked their lives in the minutes and hours following the attack, but tomorrow the governors of certain states will attempt to reduce or even eliminate the salaries and benefits for which the unions of these men and women have bargained over the years. Indeed, these government minions will attempt to eliminate those unions. Today the flags are at half-mast, tomorrow we will not notice them, except for perhaps the school children who will pledge their allegiance to the flag, even though they will understand not a single word of the promise they utter.

I’m trying not to pay too much attention to the ceremonies today. I remember where I was when I first heard of the attacks; I remember the days subsequent. I know how the world has been changed for my children as a result of the vents of September 11. I also remember the days following the assassination of President Kennedy when I sat glued to the television set watching the events unfold. It, too, was a time of national grief. And what was gained and what was lost? I hear the demagogue-cum-candidate Rick Perry say about Ben Bernanke: "If this guy prints more money between now and the election, I dunno what y'all would do to him in Iowa but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas. Printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treacherous – or treasonous in my opinion," said Perry. I wonder what he means when he says “we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas.” Or maybe I don’t really want to know. I seem to recall that Texas is where Kennedy was shot; I think it was in Texas that an African-American was tied to a car and dragged along the ground where his body was ripped to shreds. Isn’t it Texas that sets the record for the largest number of executions? Is that what candidate Perry means? Is this what we have learned from our history? Does this man—and anyone who supports his candidacy or any other office-seeker of his kind—think he is humanly (and caringly) qualified to be President? Does Rick Perry and others of his detestable ilk have the right to address the events of September 11 except to acknowledge their complicity in making possible the conditions that allowed the United States to be a target for such attacks as occurred on September 11. Those such as Rick Perry have little interest and less calpacity to ensure a safe and prosperous world.

A day of prayer should make for repentance, but today’s events are mostly about posture and show. I am mostly disgusted by the empty words of the politicians. On a day like today, silence and action would be more appropriate.

I have argued for ten years that that it is not what we do on September 11 that defines us as a nation but what we do on September 12 and the days that follow. I believe this still, and I remain contemptuous of anyone who does not now act to make the world safe not only for my children but for all children. Hamlet knowingly says of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, “They fool me to the top of my bend.” Hamlet knows they would deceive him and he will not be deceived. Oh they think they fool me to the top of my bent, but they will not play upon me.

May the memory of those who lost their lives at the Twin Towers on 11 September 2001 be a blessing for us. May the memory of those who lost their lives a the Twin Towers on 11 September 2001 inspire us to make a world where such events and loss of life do not occur.


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