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11 September 2008 @ 09:06 am
9/11  
Seven years ago a small group of people transformed the direction and destroyed the confidence of an entire nation.

I say "transformed" because I hope that we would not have given in to our baser instincts for revenge and xenophobia without such a provocation. It is hard to imagine a "Patriot Act" being passed at the dawn of the 21st century, just as hard as it is to believe that the US has changed its mind about who deserves civil rights and what constitutes a sovereign nation. Who would have expected our country to enact draconian restrictions on travel for anyone who loses a technological lottery that places them on a God-like list of those who can't be trusted? Who knew that the US was capable of reacting to fear by giving up much of what makes us free in order to find some illusion of safety?

I suppose stepwise refinement isn't as morally satisfying as we wish it would be. After all, just over 65 years ago we rounded up and stuck into camps everyone inside the US borders who looked like, spoke like, or descended from the people who harmed us. This time, we reacted with bigotry and misunderstanding but at least the instances of direct government harassment were mostly limited to individuals. Inside the borders of the US, they were so limited.

I don't despair, because I think this nation is too filled with people of good will to allow such a reaction to be permanent. I am sad for the time it will take to recover our self-image and our moral compass. I am concerned for my grandchildren, who may not themselves see the end of living in a nation despised by the world - though they will build the future that overcomes it.

In my own way, I pray that the 8th anniversary of this event will see us beginning to rise above the reactions that put us here. I fear that even if change comes to pass aggression will be turned inward to tear at those who made the mistakes - not in a spirit of prevention but in a spirit of revenge and punishment for "those not like us". This will change nothing and will only impress our neighbors anew with the savage natures that lie beneath our thin veil of urbanity and education.

Someday, may we honor those who died by saying that they truly rest in Peace.
 
 
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
 
 
 
the girl with a patch of sky on her arm: gold heartsvixyish on September 11th, 2008 03:45 pm (UTC)
I don't despair, because I think this nation is too filled with people of good will to allow such a reaction to be permanent.

Thank you for this. All of it, but this line in particular.

Because I really do believe that. I really do believe that most people are generally people of good will, who just want to live their lives and let other people do the same.

It's so easy to forget, and despair. It's good to be reminded.
Phil Parkertigertoy on September 11th, 2008 04:24 pm (UTC)
Seven years ago a small group of people transformed the direction and destroyed the confidence of an entire nation.

The terrorists did not do these things. We did them to ourselves. They may have expected that we would. They were certainly happy that we did. But to give them credit, or blame, for what we did to ourselves is to fail to learn anything from it.

Terrorism happens in the world because from the terrorist's point of view it works. The way America reacted to 9/11 may make it more difficult for the terrorsits to attack us again, but it certainly will motivate them to try harder than ever. Whether it's a pet, a child, or a terrorist movement, rewarding bad behavior always encourages more bad behavior.
Shaddow Waltershaddow on September 11th, 2008 05:32 pm (UTC)
I don't despair, because I think this nation is too filled with people of good will to allow such a reaction to be permanent.

The people of the nation will likely react that way.
The Government? The powers the Government has garnered for itself I'd hoped would be undone. It is clear to me now that while there might be a big hoopla about rescinding one or two of the provisions of the "Patriot" Act There will be other laws on the books that take place of those provisions once they are dropped. This government is not of the people anymore. The people are only involved by watching the news on their favorite spin channel and yelling in their own living rooms when they don't like something. And going to the polls and pulling the pendulum in the opposite direction. And that's the way the Government wants it. :\ We don't even have two choices anymore. We have two shades of a single choice.

Paul Kwinn: Debbie Twinsit_aint_easy on September 12th, 2008 06:04 am (UTC)
This is genuinely inspirational, Bill. Thanks for writing it.