I’ve got to warn my readers (wait, do I have readers?): I’m neither a Democrat nor a Republican. I’ve voted for both parties, as well as Libertarian and Independent candidates in various levels of government and election cycles. I used to study politics, and yes, I do have a number of political ideals I hold dear, but I’m actually far more interested in the play of politics than the idealism. I read speeches and try to figure out how they will be received by various consumers – those who are inclined to agree with the message-bearer, those who are inclined to disagree, and the undecideds. It’s a careful game, you see – an ideal speech energizes your base, appeals to some undecideds, and doesn’t give your opponents any ammo.
Hillary Rodham Clinton gave an amazing address before the United Nations in Geneva today. This is a beautiful speech, both in content and in form, the likes of which I aspire to some day write myself. As I’ve been lacking in original content lately, I figured I’d post something inspiring, interesting, and relevant.
Today is September 11, 2011. Ten years ago today, nineteen terrorists hijacked four commercial airline jets, two of which forever changed the skyline of one of America’s most beloved cities.
I could use this anniversary to talk about how our country came together in the months following the attacks. I could tell you my perspective on how our politicians did and continue to capitalize on the public’s fear of further attacks. I could tell you about what I perceive as foreign and domestic policy mishaps prior to and after the attacks, about blowback and wars of concept. I could tell you that a few months ago we learned that the mastermind behind these attacks met his end at the hands of our Navy Seals. But those things happened after, and I want to talk about that day, and this one.
I could tell you where I was when it happened. I could ask you where you were. But the significance of September 11, 2001 isn’t about you or me. I can tell you where we weren’t.
Neither of us were one of the nineteen hijackers.
We were not one of the 246 passengers or crew aboard United 93, United 175, American 11 or American 77.
We were not one of the 411 first responding personnel of the FDNY, NYPD, Port Authority Police Department, EMTs or paramedics who died trying to rescue people or fight fires.
We were not one of the 658 employees at Cantor Fitzgerald, nor were we among the 358 employees of March Inc. or the 175 employees of Aon Corporation, all of whom where trapped above the point of impact and had no chance of escape.
In fact, we weren’t one of the 1,355 people in the North Tower at or above point of impact. We weren’t one of the 107 below who didn’t make it.
We weren’t one of the 630 people in the South Tower, which thankfully had begun evacuating after the North Tower was hit.
We weren’t one of the 125 people killed at the Pentagon, 55 of whom were military personnel.
We weren’t one of the 2,977 innocent people who died that day as a result of this terrorist attack.
I wasn’t there. I was safe. I was alive. I am safe. I am alive. I hope you are safe. If you’re reading this, you are alive.
We are alive. We’ve been able to process, come to terms with, place blame for, respond, and capitalize on a shared moment in time in which many were murdered – and we live on.
It’s September 11, 2011. Ten years ago today, nineteen terrorists hijacked four commercial airline jets, two of which forever changed the skyline of one of America’s most beloved cities.
Today is just another day that we are still alive.
I’m appreciative of that fact. Please, use today to appreciate that fact.
I missed the American media mess of misplaced blame and inaccuracy. I got back into civilization on July 25th, by then they had figured things out. However I heard about it, and I feel like Steven Colbert did an excellent job of summing up my thoughts on the subject of knee-jerk journalism.
Along the lines of knee-jerk reactions, I enjoyed this article on how it’s not Islam, it’s Fundamentalism of any faith that causes these sorts of problems.
I’m amused by The Right now claiming Breivik isn’t really a Christian. They are outraged and offended by the media “labeling him a Christian”. Sorry, O’Reilly, he is.
I definitely found this particular article interesting, where the writer discusses the crisis of legitimacy – the similarities between American “Birthers” and Breivik’s belief that his own government is illegitimate.
At the end of the day, the events in Norway shocked myself and the world. They remind us that terrorism can’t be marginalized to a single demographic – it’s not just one religious path, not just one skin color, not one social class. There are people out there who believe that killing other people, innocent people, will help their cause against their “enemies”. They are motivated by rationalizations that terrify me, a sincere belief that there is no chance that they are wrong, no perspective to their idealism. They are fundamentalists – and blood is a perfectly acceptable cost for their cause. Continue reading Thoughts on Norway→
“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” – Anais Nin