I posted this on my Wordpress blog. You are welcome to comment here, but I would be much more appreciative if you commented on the blog itself at Wordpress.
I rarely, if ever, blog. I try, but I’m not very good at writing. However, this is one instance where I feel as if I have no choice. It’s already September 20, 2011, and yet echoes of the tenth anniversary of 9/11 are still everywhere. I wanted to talk about this, because I feel it’s very important, and something that needs to be said. Of course, I won’t make any friends for saying this. In fact, I have no doubt I’ll be vilified, and noted as someone who hates the USA. This is, of course, not at all true, but what I am about to say is how I feel, and I’m going to say it regardless of what you think.
I did not participate in the 9/11 memorials.
In fact, I never have. I didn’t do it in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, or 2010. And I won’t be doing it in 2012, or 2013, or 2014, and so on.
“But Nathan! It was such a tragic day! How could you not commemorate the victims and the heroes?!?”
Yes, it was a tragic day. But here’s where you and I split. You see, I am commemorating the victims and the heroes… by moving on. I’m not spending a whole day listening to a bullshit political spiel and spending my money on greedy corporatism. I’m moving past it and living my life, I hope, to the fullest. This is how I’m commemorating the victims and the heroes. This is how I’m remembering that tragic day… by leaving it in the past, and moving forward.
If you think that because I don’t want to participate in the so-called “memorial services”, I’m somehow forgetting that day and the tragic events… well… you are sorely mistaken. You are the ones forgetting that day. You are the ones forgetting the events. You are the ones ignoring the message. That event united the USA in a vision of peace and harmony. Sadly, that unity lasted until approximately midnight of September 12, 2001. This is when another tragedy occurred:
You see, outside of the terrorists and those who hate the USA, two other groups of people danced jigs and partied on 9/11: politicians and CEOs. They did so because the US had yet another tragedy to add to its narrative of conquest. They could sell a fake war, and make even more money off the consumer who would, of course, buy in to their bullshit.
“We are victims! All of us! Can’t you see? Can’t you see the horror and tragedy? Come! Help us! Help us to commemorate the victims and the heroes by supporting our bullshit war and buying our cheap, ‘commemorative’ memorabilia! Don’t you want a coin with replicas of the World Trade Centers that you can knock down? Don’t you want a statue of the two buildings, so you can forever look at them (at least for the next year or so before the cheap plastic they’re made of degrades)? Well, you should, because if you don’t buy our bullshit narrative of conquest and our capitalistic commemorative cheap shit, then you hate the USA, and we will consider you as equal to the terrorists! You’re either with us or against us! So be with us! Buy our bullshit! Or be forever branded anti-American!”
That has been the narrative of the past ten years since 9/11, and I fear it will be the narrative for a very long time to come. And I refuse to participate. I simply refuse to watch as politicians boost their political points, and corporations boost their bottom-ends. I refuse to be taken in at giant rallies. I refuse to imagine that, somehow, all this grandstanding actually honors the victims and the heroes.
I also refuse to participate so long as we continue to dick the heroes around. Why can’t they be fully covered for cancer? Huh? Why? Why was the 9/11 first Responders Bill surrounded by so much political grandstanding and partisan hackery? Not even this was enough to bring our government together? They couldn’t even agree on this?
Well, as long as politicians continue to politicize 9/11… as long as CEOs continue to capitalize on 9/11… then I want nothing to do with it. We are not honoring the victims. We’re honoring the heroes even less. Quite frankly, we should be ashamed of ourselves. We forgot what we were taught on 9/11. We’ve forgotten the message it had for us. We’ve forgotten who were on that day, and how we reacted.
So I say, down with the memorial services. Down with the public, political “commemorations”. If you want to “never forget”… if you want to show solidarity with the heroes… if you want to honor the victims… then do so by moving on. Remember that tragic day by remembering the message of unity and solidarity that was thrust upon us so forcefully. Support the heroes by covering them for all their health needs, including cancer. Remember the fallen by living your lives as they will never get to live theirs. Stop taking a day out of every year to listen to politicians spew their bullshit, and to buy cheap, plastic toys featuring the World Trade Centers. And most of all, don’t forget that the World Trade Centers were not the only tragedies that day:
The Pentagon was hit. One plane failed to hit Camp David. And politicians and CEOs threw parties that night.
It was a dark, terrible day in US history. It’s safe to say that we, as a country, are not the same after that event. And we never will be again. It changed us fundamentally.
So how should we honor the fallen and the heroes? Well… how about we not forget that there are people around the world experiencing tragedy every single day? Haiti. Darfur. Cuba. South Africa. Korea. The Middle East. These are places where tragedies occur constantly. Indeed… it’s become a way of life for many of them; part of their culture. Maybe we could do more to try and end their suffering. Isn’t that a noble way to commemorate 9/11?
How about ending the partisan bicker over the 9/11 First Responders Bill and covering them for all their needs, including cancer?
How about not suing the 9/11 memorial because they wish to include, in a conspicuous, non-invasive way, a piece of the building that only happens to look like a cross? Just because so many think it’s a symbol of God does not make it so, and that they do does not make it offensive.
How about not suing over the name of a street just because it’s been called “Seven in Heaven Way”?
(And for those who don’t know me, yes, I am an atheist. I’m even an antitheist. But I also know how to pick my battles. These are not battles.)
How about donating to help fund the rebuilding of Ground Zero, with whatever they want to build there?
How about not obstructing the setting up of a cultural center in New York, blocks away from the site, just because it will happen to be run by Muslims?
In fact, how about letting go of Islamophobia, and recognizing that just as Christians have their fanatics, and Jews have their fanatics, Muslims have their fanatics also, and not all Muslims support what happened on 9/11?
How about we remember 9/11 by living our lives as citizens of the USA? How about we remember that day by ending partisan hackery? How about we remember that by moving on?
Is that really too much to ask?
I’d like to close by coining a new internet law. Actually, I’m really stealing another law practically word-for-word to make this one.
Ever heard of Godwin’s Law? Well, mine is exactly the same, except for two crucial differences:
1. Muslim terrorists are the new Nazis
2. Osama Bin Laden is the new Hitler
“As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving [Muslim terrorists] or [Osama Bin Laden] approaches 1.”
I hope Mike Godwin doesn’t mind.