Friday, September 11, 2009

What to Do?

Here's the problem with 9/11. It's impossible to know how to feel any more. We're supposed to remember it and make a big deal about what happened. But what has happened in the last eight years? One somewhat justifiable war that hasn't been handled particularly well. One completely unjustifiable war that's actually been better in the long run than that one above (I don't see Afghanistan taking over it's own self-determination any time soon. But we are pulling out of Iraq. That has to tell us something. What that is, I don't know). Seven-plus years of the politics of fear. A bit over a half a year of twenty or thirty percent of the country completely losing their minds over things that aren't actually happening. So what are we to do on September 11th? What are we to do with this "Patriot's Day" when the word "patriot" has been re-defined to mean "anyone who agrees with crackpot right-wing nonsense?" I just don't know. I'm not going to spend the day engaging in over-wrought remembrances. After 9/11 was immediately turned in to a political football it seems that we've already sapped the day of all the meaning it's supposed to have. And jackasses like Glenn Beck are still trying to get mileage out of it. A march on Washington? Remembering what we felt like on 9/12 and trying to hold that? On 9/11/01 I went to church. On 9/12/01 I went to church. Today I'm at work. After work I've got stuff to do. On 9/12/09 I'll be in Woodstock, IL telling ghost stories. I figure that what I'm doing on 9/12/09 is way better than what I did on 9/12/01. But, y'know, that's just me. One of the problems, of course, is that we all eventually have to move on. The feelings of loss and outrage and shock we all felt on 9/12/01 is what allowed demagogues to lead us by the nose to where we are on 9/11/09. There's a reason that it's the new demagogues, like Beck, who are trying to keep us rooted in that place. Shock and grief override logic and common sense. They make us do things we wouldn't otherwise do because of anger or despair. So do what you have to do on this day. Hug your children. Tell your loved ones you care. Remember what happened. But move on. Never look back for too long. Always look, always move forward. We can't afford to stay rooted in the past. We can't afford to listen to those who say it's the only thing to do.

2 comments:

jessa said...

9.11.2001 was at the beginning of my senior year of high school. I was losing my mind and living very much inside of my own head. I remember very little from several years at around that time. Recently, I've begun asking what happened. I mean, I know some of it, I watched the towers fall in civics class and all. But the other stuff, like, "How did we get in this war? It makes absolutely no sense. How did Bush get everyone to go along with this? How did no one freak out on him and assassinate him or something? Was the whole country brainwashed?"

I don't really know how we're supposed to feel about this. I'm pretty sure we're not supposed to feel like I did at the time: jealous of the people who died. But I'm also pretty sure that embracing this perverted ultra-conservative flavor of patriotism doesn't do us any good, either.

Leigh said...

Today is my step father's birthday. We're going to have a nice dinner and cake. We're going to remember his son-in-law who is overseas in Iraq. Tomorrow my daughter is going to spend the weekend with her father. I'm going to see 9.
Frankly I think that is better than the fear that gripped us all on 9/11 and 9/12/01. I'm not going to relive that, I'd rather look ahead to what will come.