An etherealgirl's Adventures in Cyberland

Monday, August 29, 2005

wake me up when september ends (part 2)

One lovely September morning, the United States of America woke up, like any other normal day for at least a generation, went about its collective business... and then watched our little illusion of collective omnipotence and safety shatter into a million pieces.

And we told ourselves, and we told each other that we would never ever be the same again. And that was as true as it could be, and that was partly a reason to mourn deeply and maybe also, that was partly an opportunity to grow up into something better.

In our collective shock, we spent the next few hours, the next several days, pretty much on auto-pilot. We had the entire world sending their collective love and support to our aid. And we, as Americans, displayed the very best parts of ourselves. Working collectively to clear the rubble, honour our innocent dead and comfort those who paid the highest cost as well as comfort each other and ourselves, we sent a message loud and clear, that we might be down but we would never be out. We would never just give up, roll over and die. But more than that we were determined to carry on with our lives.

Not in exactly the same way, of course. Because once a tragedy of such depth awakens a sleeping giant-sized collective conscience, it cannot be easily forgotten and it is impossible to feel completely invulnerable ever again. And so for a good long while, complacency and apathy was replaced by something else. The one gift that it gave us all was the gift of wakefulness; a be here now quality that allowed us, for a little while at least, to appreciate the precious and fleeting moments of beauty and serenity in a world that no longer felt completely secure. And from that day forward, many, MANY of us, all around the world fully understood that violence begets violence in a never ending cycle. And violence and hatred serves only to infect and destroy everything it touches, if you let it permeate your senses and poison your mind. The only cure for it is resilient, life-affirming, love. Love in action was rebuilding our lives and moving forward with the precious gift of appreciation of each other and the world around us.

What happened after that... what happened after that begins to get political. September 11th became the words of political weaponry. September 11th became the words of exploitation, words used to beat people into submission, used to limit our thinking, our reasoning, used to manipulate our still-raw emotions. It was used to divide our nation, to lead us, against our better judgment, unwillingly into a war that had no legitimate justification; an immoral and unethical pre-emptive strike against a population that had never done anything to us.

At first, thoughts and ideas that didn't march in lockstop to the powers that be, were admonished for being so September 10th. Then one day, it suddenly became treasonous or traitorous to exercise our very right and duty as patriotic Americans to speak out in dissent of those in our government who were making questionable decisions and taking questionable actions that would forever taint the good name of our country and our good-standing as the world's leading superpower.

And so we stand today, a nation as polarized, as utterly divided as we have ever been; and only 4 short years ago, a tragedy that shocked the world awake, had, not only our nation, but our very world united. And what have we done with that life changing moment? What have we done with that opportunity for healing, that opening for dialogue between nations and peoples? What have we done to heal the rifts that caused that gaping wound?

I used to dread September 11th. I used to dread the pain of re-opening those still raw, newly healed wounds. I dreaded the pain and the tears and the regret I would feel over the loss of 3,000 innocent people and the devastation it brought their families and our nation and the way it would make me feel all over again as though I'd taken a shot right in the heart and would never survive it. Now I despair of it in a way I never thought possible. I can't bear the thought of the way it has been used, the added insult of pompous spectacle designed to stomp all over our grievious injury. Making a mockery of one of the most tragic moments in our national history. Using it as a tool to whip up national fear and hatred of the other, whomever the other has been designated to be by those who have the power to use it as a weapon. I despair what it has done to our national psyche and how easily it is used to manipulate so many of us into a state of blind, irrational xenophobia. And so much worse than that, how it has been used to turn us against each other, our own citizens. "If you aren't [in lockstep] with us, then you are with the terrorists." Don't think, don't feel, don't act, don't ask questions and don't disagree with this administration: if you do so then you are treasonous, traitorous and at the mercy of those being manipulated into a mob mentality by the haunted political spectre, the government co-opted ghost of a tragedy past, called September 11th.

When that hapless day of September 11th comes around this year, you won't find me in some so-called patriotic freedom march toward the National Mall. In truth if I could sleep through that day, indeed skip the entire painful month, I would probably do so. But that admittedly cowardly way out isn't an option, and for that I can in all honesty be grateful. Because I refuse to dishonour the deaths of those innocent victims and their families, or desecrate the memory of that day by running from it. Nor will I allow myself to be part of an agenda that serves to exploit that day for despicable, political purposes. If I could be in New York or Washington, I would spend it there in reflection and prayer, if possible, with others who intend to do the same. Since I cannot be, I will spend that day at home, doing the same.

But I don't think I will turn on the t.v. that day and risk, once again, the 50 millionth replay of jets slamming into towers or their devastating fall, or of a smoldering pentagon, or people screaming, running panicked in the street. I cannot bear to hear speeches designed to rouse the population into anger and fear and I can't bear to hear the voices of those who have benefitted, over and over and over again, using September 11th as a mantra, to push their agenda forward, to squelch any objection of that agenda. I can't listen to that anymore; especially not on that most exploited day.

One of these years, maybe this one, enough people are going to decide that they can't live in fear and regret and projected anger anymore. And they are going to wake up and say, September 11th was the day that changed everything. And in its honour and memory, I'm going to change too. I'm not going to let fear and anger rule my life. I won't allow its name to be used to take away my civil rights in the name of security; I won't allow its name to be invoked to justify unprovoked aggression towards others. I won't allow it to be used as a wedge between me and my fellow Americans, or between me and the rest of the world. I won't allow it to be used as a tool to silence questions that have the right to be asked, or to excuse away answers that have no meaning and no validity. Because September 11th proved that I'm bigger and stronger and truer to myself, than that. I survived September 11th. I survived its aftermath. And I will not dishonour the memory of those that died by letting fear and and anger and aggression win.

Posted by etherealfire :: 11:39 AM :: 4 Comments:

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