Friday, September 12, 2008

A 9/11 Meditation

Jim sent me this privately. I liked it so much that I asked for and was graciously given permission to post it here.

A 9/11 MeditationBy guest blogger James Christenson, PhD
I’d like to take a few minutes to recall 9/11/01 and where we have been since then.

Carol and I woke up this morning to the clock-radio playing some very moving interviews with people who lost loved ones on 9/11/01. We recalled waking up to the radio on that day and vaguely realizing that a tragedy was unfolding. We rushed to the TV room in time to see the second plane hit, followed by the scenes of desperate people jumping into thin air and the gut-wrenching collapse of the buildings. When that second plane hit, we knew that this was a terrorist attack and not some horrible accident. When the buildings collapsed, we felt grief and anger, a terrible sense of loneliness, and we knew that we would never be the same again. Apostate though I am, I found myself saying a little prayer for our country and for ourselves personally.

In the days after, our sense of grief grew worse, and our anger grew worse; we can only imagine the feelings of those who suffered personal losses. But our loneliness was relieved by the unified response of the American people, by being there for each other, and by the sympathy and good will for our people that was expressed by people around the world. Americans of all colors, classes, religions, stood together.

“United We Stand” was our motto, and I actually believed it for a while. Watching Bush’s speech from Ground Zero, I even felt for an instant that we may have had the right leader for the time. It was his best moment--apparently his last, perhaps only, good moment. After about two breaths, the Republicans started trying to blame the whole thing on the Clinton administration.

It is hard to comprehend what has happened since then. The Bush regime immediately started obfuscating, denying accountability, and converting the country into a police state. They orchestrated a counter-attack on our attackers in Afghanistan, which we all knew had to be done. Then almost immediately, came the call for war with Iraq.

Iraq?!! In no time, if you had the least reservation about attacking Iraq, your patriotism, intelligence, and sanity were impugned. We lost the support of even some of our oldest and closest allies. The Republican Congress quickly got to the heart of the matter and renamed French fries Freedom fries. The war, of course, turned out to be a complete FUBAR, its justification fraudulent and its execution catastrophic.

The Bush administration unlawfully spied on citizens, detained suspects, and, to our everlasting national shame, tortured them. In the next presidential election, the Republicans shamelessly used fear and lies to divide the nation and re-conquer the White House with their 50% + 1 strategy. For good measure, they almost certainly engaged in election fraud. I won’t even start on the corruption, incompetence, the cynical manipulation of the economy. . . .

Some have said that we lost our innocence on 9/11, but I think we gained a lot of innocence on 9/11 and have lost it since.