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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ahead of 9/11...

I'm gonna make this short, because work is now my focus, and must be for the next several days.

With the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001 coming tomorrow, I don't wonder you're going to have a lot of thoughts, many of them sad over what happened that day.

I hate to say this, and I'm sure it's going to be confusing (and perhaps even offensive to you), but I'm really going to opt out.

I know where I was that day...I walked into a newsroom in Harrisburg, PA just after the first tower was struck.  That day turned into a 10-hour whirlwind, as my news/traffic colleagues and I went all out to provide area stations with whatever info we could.

It was what happened after that I feared the most.  I foresaw the war that followed, and is still going on in parts of the world.  I have seen a nation awaken, not is patriotism, but its anger, old hatreds and paranoia for an enemy that exists, but not everywhere we think it is.

In sum...the past ten years have shown the best of this nation, but also the worst.  Yes, we pulled ourselves together, helped each other, and supported one another through an incident no one ever really thought would happen here.

We were wrong, but I fear that in the rush to defend ourselves, we went overboard.

We are now security minded beyond belief; we look for boogeymen where they don't exist, and we see enemies where we should see friends.  People who were once friends are now castigated as traitors, enemies and terrible creatures for not wholeheartedly standing behind the war.

The bloodthirsty aspects of human nature were there for all to see in the years that followed.  We revelled in destruction, the stamping out of political adversaries, and some of us saw the door opened to riches that most of us would never experience, nor were ours to take in the first place.

People all over this country tub thumped, waved the flags, vowed to never forget 9/11 and cheered at a world being destroyed, while making sure they hid behind their keyboards and hammered away at anyone with a different point of view.

We showed ourselves to be human in the tragedy, and also showed that we still believed in "My Country, Right or Wrong."  We're Americans, we're always right, isn't that it?

No, it's not.

We have created more enemies in this world, by making everyone think that the dark-skinned, the Muslim, the non-Christian are all terrorists, all evil and out to get us.

Not all Muslims are terrorists, you know; not all Christians are good people, either.  We have a wave of madness called religious fundamentalism of all stripes that aims to destroy the other.  It is a futile war that will not end.

The past ten years have shown me that our country has a collective avarice; war is not something that should be entered into like it's a sporting event.  We never should have been in Iraq; I understood going into Afghanistan, yes; but when you consider the fragmented nation that is there, its political and religious factionalism, and the interference of Pakistan, India, and yes, the US, do we actually think we can end the War on Terror?

I don't think so.  The best we can do is defend ourselves, and properly.  But that's not enough; we need to keep hating, to keep picking fights and looking for more ways to assure ourselves of our alleged rightful spot atop the world's leaders.

We are a nation of instant gratification; I never liked that term, but we've never truly sacrificed since the Second World War.  We want it all, and we want it now; we don't care who we destroy to get it.  We want our gas at a cheap price, we want to drive our big honking Urban Assault Vehicles, we want our TV and movies and internet on demand, and right fucking now.

We don't want to do anything that might require some effort.  We don't want to pay taxes, so we whine and complain about taxes, not realizing that our infrastructure is paid for my our taxes.  Then we complain when the roads and bridges get bad, and demand to know why our government didn't do anything about it?

So on Sunday, I am working, but I will remember what a good friend of mine said about it...a former EMT who lives on Long Island, she said this about the aftermath:

"I've been to too many funerals."

Let's remember those innocent victims, and think that if we are to avoid another of these events, we need to open ourselves to reality.  We need to defend, yes; we need also to pull together and look beyond skin color, religious and national boundaries and see each other as people.  Only then, can we make the steps to end the madness and get this world back on track.

Stop screaming.  Stop hating.  Breathe.  No more slogans.  No more platitudes.  Think.  Get your shit together.  Take responsibility.  Extend a hand, and let's get the human race back together.  It takes just one step.

That's it, that's all I'm saying.  Time to move on.

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