For years September 11 was the day I remembered for my sister’s birthday. No really she was born on September 11, not to be mistaken for 9-11. As we round the corner for that day that seemed to change America forever, I am thrown into retrospect. First off, I am in no way diminishing the lives lost by the bombing of the World Trade Centers. What I am thinking about is how Americans respond and reflect to having tragedy hit their own soil.
I saw our country take the idea of patriotism to a whole new level, and not in a good way. I still see vehicles with huge American flags on them. Oh wait let us reflect this for a moment. America is a continent, not a nation. Hmmm, so if we scream Proud to be an American we can include all Latin American States and Canada? Wait that goes against our anti-immigration attitude? Our Nation is the United States, so we should be called United Statcians. That no longer sounds as sexy.
What bothers me the most about this rush of patriotism is that is runs into racism. We may as well put a flag over our white hooded robes and burn crosses in the lawns of anyone we feel is not patriotic enough. No really, think about how we have tried to excise all Muslims and anyone who is of Olive skin. Our government detains people with ties to others, who may or may not be a threat. The constitution does not extend to those who may or may not be responsible for atrocities. Yes our government may need to take action to prevent further tragedies, but at what cost?
I am not really that focused on the Government action as I am on the actions of those citizens who feel the need to protect themselves from all threats. Tomorrow there is to be a memorial march by a Muslim group. A group of Motorcyclist have petitioned to have a ride at the same time, they were denied. They plan to ride anyway. To what end? If you remember the World Trade Center was full of people from all walks of life and all nationalities. There were Muslims there too. There were people of Arabic lines as well as people with Russian lines. There were mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters. They were people, that is all we really need to know. So why are we unable or unwilling to allow the Muslims to mourn and honor their losses as we do our own?
Fear! Plain and simple we live in fear. Fear is what causes us to shut our doors at night and hold tight to our 2nd Amendment rights. Fear clouds our judgements and immobilizes our reasoning. It causes great distrust among those that are different from ourselves. Fear is something that Governments have taken advantage of to gain control over the masses. We can go back to Nazi Germany and see how Hitler mobilized an entire nation against one Ethnic group. Do we want to see the same thing in the United States? I for one do not. I do not want the loss of any diversity. I think we grow and learn from those around us. A greater understanding of ourselves is found when we reach out and try to understand those outside of ourselves.
This year on Nine-Eleven, I plan on doing nothing more than reaching out to those who are different from myself. I plan on not flying a flag, not shouting my patriotism, but showing my compassion and empathy. There is no other way to heal ourselves if we cannot forgive and reach out to embrace those who belong here, but are ostracized. Why not be that bridge over troubled water.