September 11, 2018
This past Tuesday, I sat on a bench at the 9/11 museum in lower Manhattan. This was not my first visit since those ghastly attacks 17 years ago but my first one on an anniversary. Like many of us, I know where I was and what I was doing and yet I can’t shake the feeling that it didn’t matter. My drama was small compared to the emotional and physical destruction rendered to those who lost their lives and loved ones so many years ago. Tears were shed, rebuilding began, and wars were raged (and continue to rage) in response to the senseless acts of a righteousness from a few murderers who conspired to kill the innocent. I sat at that bench not feeling particularly good about what our country has become since that day 17 years ago.
I wonder if that was their point. To defeat our way of life subtly over time, just triggering it through a dramatic event.
I won’t let them. The rhetoric and response we see today violates my values and principles. To be so leaderless, so callus, so uncalculated that we have wars and policy continuing into its third presidency diminish our values, our way of life and our credibility as a country. This place, this mausoleum to the dead has been used as a talking point, an example to respond to hate with hate – a tool for revenge – a reason to pursue alternative foreign policy objectives.
I not only mourn the loss of those who were taken from us in such a devastating way. I mourn for the America of September 10th, 2001. I mourn for the leaders I believed existed then who have still not risen to the challenge this world and what it has become. I mourn for our fumbled moral authority and who we should be now as a country. As citizens this could have been something we collectively share, and use to unite us. But instead we use against one another.