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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Seven Come Eleven

The skies in Denver are literally gray today, and the expressions on some of the faces are just a bit grayer. Seven years since we discovered our skies weren't as friendly as we thought, nor our borders as secure. Seven years since we found a new reason to fear.
Now, people aren't as morose today as a year ago -- even less so than two years ago, and so on and so forth. And that is probably a good thing. Life is about moving forward. In fact, if not for the media blitz every 9/11 (which, too, decreases from year to year) I expect that many would not realize that this Thursday morning was an anniversary of anything at all. I don't really think that there's anything wrong with that. Forgetting that today is September 11th is the same as forgetting that yesterday was September 10th -- it doesn't mean that the events of September 11, 2001 have faded from memory. Nor does it diminish the grief we all still feel for the loss of so many lives and of a part of our collective innocence as a nation.
Perhaps we don't need to be reminded so conspicuously: banner graphics on TV morning news shows, politicians competing for the pithiest 9/11 commemorative sound byte, and insipidly patriotic country-music songs on the radio.
Perhaps I shouldn't even be devoting a blog entry, but I was overcome with concern this morning. It wasn't concern over another attack by Iraq (or Turkey or France or whoever it was). It wasn't concern that we would forget the tragic loss of the day seven years ago. It wasn't even that Kid Rock would criminally filch another Warren Zevon song to create another sort of uber-patriotic southern rock anthem. (Poser.)
No, my concern on this morning, seven years since the planes went into the buildings, is just what we as a country and as a people have learned in that time.
What I see is that we are more fearful, more suspicious, more hateful. We are more resolute in our "rightness." Even those who oppose the war in Iraq often do so still from a place of "superior" wisdom about these foreign civilizations.
I don't pretend to have all the answers. (Actually, I do pretend to have all of the answers, but that's just to get chicks. I'm as clueless as the rest of you.)
I just think that what happened seven years ago ought to make us less certain of our position on this planet, not more, and that lack of certainty should not inspire fear, but introspection. When I hear Toby Keith sing about putting a boot in a particular orifice of our enemy as being part of the American way, I cannot help but wonder if that American way gives us much more than some very dirty boots.
Now, I'm not saying I'm right and everybody else is wrong (well not today, anyway). I'm just saying that maybe none of us have given enough thought about what makes us right and somebody else wrong. A lot of lives have been lost prior to and since 9/11. Maybe today when we take a moment to remember the victims of 9/11, we should also take a couple of minutes to remember all of those others as well. Then maybe we should take another moment to ask a couple of questions of ourselves.
If your answers remain the same, well good on you, then. You're convictions are sturdier than mine, and maybe I think about it too much. But my fear -- my red level threat, if you will -- is the possibility that we think about it too little.

Oh, and Kid Rock: I just sent an e-mail to Toby Keith asking if I could borrow his boots.

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