The 15th anniversary of 9/12
- The Golden Age of Blind Patriotism
A lot of polarizing things happened yesterday. Some involved me, and in the same vain, some involved highly paid football players that have decided to use their fame and visibility to advance a cause we should all be fighting for in America.
Let there be no confusion: The first responders who ran full speed into the burning towers without any regard for their own safety to attempt the impossible [saving the lives of people on the top floors] are heroes. But regardless of the circumstances or scale or loaded emotions going on right at this moment, activists are heroes as well.
I carry much grief from 9/11. Not more than others. Not less than others. I don't compare my grief. But I was close enough to see many of the events of that day and the aftermath unfold with my own eyes, not a TV set.
With that said, I spontaneously did something yesterday quite different than I had done in previous years. My 'protest' of celebrating survival, resilience, and the continuance of life was not expected of me. While it was viewed as genuine, strong, and heartfelt by some, others viewed it as self-serving, insensitive, and disingenuous.
Instead of my normal annual somber reflection, 15 years felt like the right time to shift. I looked at life today. I posted examples of living, loving, and surviving after getting through the 11th, and what that looks like 15 years later. The day after the trauma, the 12th in this case, will always be the bigger story.
While the response was mostly positive, as noted above, some questioned my motives, my compassion, and attacked my character. So today, I ask a series of rhetorical questions:
For those who were offended by my response to 15 years of gratuitous trauma mongering and snuff porn that plays out annually in the media on 9/11, and also to those who support 'blind patriotism', (which is patently racist) the kind that was on full display directly after 9/11 and led to so much war and hate, and who go along with the demonization of activist athletes who have been fighting for a cause we should all be fighting for...
What do you do to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day? What do you avoid doing on that day to avoid being disrespectful to the millions of Jews and others who were slaughtered?
What do you do to honor the 1,000,000 plus innocent Muslim men, women, and children slaughtered in cold blood in Iraq and Afghanistan by the United States you blindly pledge allegiance to?
What do you do to commemorate the genocide carried out against America's indigenous population by the Europeans on the very land you own your split-level ranch on? Is Columbus some sort of hero for you?
What do you do when a white police officer takes out his weapon and murders an unarmed black person because of a simple wrong turn or tail light being out? Do you say: 'well if those people would just follow the instructions of the officer, they'd still be alive!' (I hear that a lot from the treadmills and bikes at the Green Hills YMCA)
What do you do when a mentally unstable white supremacist is very close to becoming the president of your country and runs for office on a thinly veiled platform of fear, paranoia, xenophobia, violence, sexism, and hatred against non-whites, Hispanics, Muslims, immigrants, and others? Do you remain silent then? Do you view him as a patriot?
Do you understand the principles and ideals this country was built on? What the words liberty, freedom, and equality actually mean?
There are so many more examples as EVERY day on the American calendar marks a tragedy... 93 dead from guns, Virginia Tech, Columbine, the 1993 WTC bombing, OKC bombing. 3,000 Americans were murdered in one made-for-tv attack, one one single horrifying day, but 385,000 have died from guns since then. Everyone in the world is outraged and traumatized about those deaths except American gun owners.
It is very easy to criticize brave people from the safety of your couch and the warm glow of your iDevices. But the people you are speaking out against are the real heroes.
They are standing up or sitting down, speaking out and remaining silent. They are taking risks without regard for their safety in order to do what is right in a most dangerous time for our nation. What you think or say about them has very little bearing on what they do. It does not deter them. It fuels them. And on some days the 'them' is 'us'.
Blind patriotism is shameful, racist, and disgusting. One of the greatest performing acts of all time made a single statement of apology and compassion for the horrible war crimes our country and president were carrying out. How did America respond? Their records were burned and their careers were done for many years.
So if the actions of terrorists are supposed to change what we do and say for an entire day every single year, haven't we let them win? Where is your patriotism then? Where is your resolve? Where is your strength? Where is your courage? Because America needs it right now more than it ever has. True patriotism, not the fake stuff on tv.