I wanted to say a few words, in haste, on the 7th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
To be honest, I woke up this morning having forgotten the significance of the date until I turned on the radio. But I think it is hard for any patriotic American to remain focused on the event year after year, when our own government has turned it into a symbol of the need for a United States-enforced movement for global democracy rather than for the defense of the American nation. My own workplace is so liberal that if I wore a flag lapel I would not only be labeled as “right-wing” but would be assumed to support the Bush administration’s policies and propaganda, which I certainly do not.
On NPR we could commemorate 9/11 by listening to BBC hand-wringing about “civilian deaths” in Afghanistan and Iraq and aggressive questioning of American military officials who essentially are saying “our campaign to win hearts and minds in Afghanistan isn’t working, but we are doing the right thing to try, and if we keep trying we will (maybe) (some day) succeed.”
In New York we could be treated to the liberal ceremony of reading off the names of the 9/11 victims one by one in the public display of our hurt and pain that has become quite tiresome. Of course, NPR made a point of selecting a moment in the reading where Muslim-sounding names were read, so we could be assured that there were Muslim victims of 9/11. This method of commemorating war deaths (which the 9/11 deaths are) by listing the names one by one, embodied in the Vietnam War Memorial, has the effect of portraying those killed as victims of an unaccountable tragedy, like a hurricane or earthquake. It also suggests that what brings us all together is our pain and fear and weakness and victimhood – a sentiment the citizens of our historic nation should angrily reject.
However, I refuse to ignore the anniversary of that day of infamy. It should indeed be a date remembered by Americans for all time. For me, and I believe ultimately for all whose descendants will call themselves Americans, it was the beginning of a turning point in our history. On September 11, 2001, we began to learn that we have real, deadly enemies and that our society as presently constituted is incapable of defending itself against them. We began to learn that America is not a multicultural “salad” of cultures, races, and religions, nor a “proposition nation” founded on abstract democratic principles, but a real people with a history and a way of life. The 9/11 terrorists were certainly not targeting Muslims, and it would be laughable to suggest that they had anyone in mind as their victims other than white Americans. The very first response to 9/11 should have been a complete moratorium on Muslim immigration. But it didn’t happen, so as private citizens we have to continue to push for that and, in a broader sense, to develop our own response and plans for the future.
September 11, 2001 was the beginning of my own awakening. The victims on that day were mostly befuddled liberal Americans who had no idea what was coming. Let us pay tribute to them by continuing to learn and speak the truth, so that a truly better America can rise from the ruins of that day.