Friday, September 12, 2003

Now that it's not the eleventh of September anymore...

I've had a request to post my little letter to the editor that I wrote to the Daily. As it did not get published, I think I will. It's not analytical, terribly political, or unemotional, as it was written in response to the media coverage and homeland propaganda that went into overdrive this week. I've had conversations with some of you where I went on my "no one acted out of patriotism that day; that word is just to small for what they did" rant. This stems from that.

This September eleventh, I will not be celebrating Patriot day. You can call me a traitor, you can call me commie-pinko-scum, but I will not be swayed or shamed. I think that commemorating that particular national tragedy as a day of �patriotism� demeans the memory of those it claims to honor.

Not one of the newly minted national heroes who died that day acted out of a sense of patriotic duty. From the firefighters who ran up while everyone else was running down, to the passengers on flight 93 who fought back so that their deaths might mean that others lived, no one acted out of obligation to their country, but out of obligation to humanity. By recasting their sacrifices as the first battle in a war of good versus evil, the current administration has used a patriotic theme to pervert the amazing selflessness of these acts for its own purposes.

Our leaders could have mourned the loss of hundreds of invaluable, heroic citizens by budgeting for better salaries or equipment for police and firefighters across the nation. Instead,they chose to budget for war and death, and justified it with a few lies and the empty rhetoric of American Patriotism. Instead of honoring those who would risk their lives to help people they�ve never met, they encouraged suspicion of anyone �out of the ordinary,� and the reporting of any behavior that might be considered �unpatriotic.� Out of selfless sacrifice emerged sanctioned racial profiling and a new �crusade� -- both nationally and globally, the antitheses of selflessness.

So, this September 11th, I will not contemplate what the many brave men and women, both on the ground and aloft, did �for the good of their country.� I will instead remember that there are people in this world who will give their lives to help others, without stopping to ask if they march under the same flag, or worship the same gods.

And I will try to be more like them.

As I have been seriously lacking in both bravery and selflessness lately, this seemed a good way to remember what happened. Also, I think the attacks have been used to fuel enough vengeance, war, and nationalist arrogance. It's time someone asked if this truly honors the memories of the folks who died saving others -- after all, they did out number the hijackers by quite a bit.


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