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I Cried. September 11, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Love and Death, Politics and Society.
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I was sitting in the hallway of our county courthouse when I heard the news, a murmured phrase from a passing legal clerk.  It wasn’t directed toward me, but as passing snippets go, it was hard to ignore: the United States of America was under attack, with major damage having already been inflicted on New York City.

For a long while that was all I had to work with, sitting there among the tattooed masses shuffling their feet, wanting their next cigarette almost as much as I wanted to duck out of my role as a witness in a crazy driving incident which had resulted in considerable damage.

I stayed, gradually gathering details as the buzz intensified, and was eventually shuffled into a waiting room where fifty of us were read our instructions, then parked in front of a television to wait for our names to be called.

That’s when I first saw them, the images of planes piercing sky scrapers like fiery  javelins, of columns of thick black smoke rising skyward, of pin-striped flecks peppering the air in a pixelated confusion of motion and intention and regret.

And I cried.  Publicly, silently, without concern for or even awareness of the people on my left and right, or even for the lives lost for I-knew-not-why, but rather for the Words Unspoken, the spouses left sleeping in the work-a-day pre-dawn departures, the children on school buses who would never see their Mommy or their Daddy again, the engagement rings sitting in dresser drawers which would never find their place on the unasked finger.

And as the hours passed and the towers collapsed with horrifying predictability, I cried for the True Heroes who willingly went into that maelstrom of destruction, hoping against hope to save a life, praying as they climbed the stairs that they could keep their promises to their spouses and partners and children, Yes, Daddy will be fine, Mommy will be fine, it’s an important job and I need to go do it, I’ll see you tonight my sweeties.

But not all stories have happy endings.

Eight years ago today, nearly three thousand innocents lost their lives to Fundamentalist Fervor, some incinerated in lung searing agony, some transformed in a crushing millisecond into unrecognizable stains of white and red, some following office chairs out 90th floor windows, choosing the flight of dreams when finally the consequences of such a choice were rendered moot by the actions of a dozen and a half misguided souls, their mortal bodies preceding their ties and coat-tails Earthward, their eyes filled with incongruous beauty, their ears deafened by the white noise and fury of their final act.

And then, amidst the flames and the fumes and the plumes of black smoke, three thousand souls rising, rising toward The Mystery, impervious to the toxic dust clouds, insensate to the blinding heat, the Mothers, the Fathers, the Brothers, the Sisters, the Sons and Daughters, the CEOs and the Janitors and the Hijackers rising together, relieved of all that was, freed from the fear of dying and about to have their ultimate questions answered.

It’s not so much for them that I cried that day in the courthouse, and on many subsequent days, and in particular today, as it takes me two hours and a box of tissues to write this.

I cried then, as I cry now, for those of us left behind, for family and friends and children and acquaintances and complete strangers, of which I am one, who didn’t learn, didn’t get it, didn’t see how our narrow vision of life and love and justice contributed to this unspeakable moment in time, fueled the fires of divisiveness and hatred and greed, allowed us to dismiss the lives of others as somehow less valuable than our own, begged God to send us a message which we couldn’t ignore, then ignored it.

And as our new President implores us to Hope for resumed growth, we go forward seemingly oblivious to the perils of environmental usury, taking mercilessly from whoever is weak enough to give it up, shooting holes in the stern of the colossal vessel whose bow we so smugly occupy, ignoring the interconnectedness of our pillage of other peoples’ resources and their seemingly indiscriminate  attacks on us, unwilling to assume one iota of responsibility for the condition of the world in which we all live.

It’s eight years later, and I’m still crying.

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Comments»

1. Paul in ABQ - September 12, 2009

Amen.

I had to skim because my eyes are watering too.

2. Bobbie - September 12, 2009

You have managed to put into words so much that I feel. And yes, I am crying too. My life on Earth may soon come to an end, but I am crying for my children and for my grandchildren, and for so many others. And for that blindness that you have so eloquently described.

3. kkryno - September 12, 2009

What is it about the human who can’t seem to learn certain lessons!

It is my belief that we keep coming back to this earth until we get it right, but if it keeps going the way it has, soon there won’t be any place left for our species to inhabit.

I love these posts of yours. You always bring forth personal reflection and a coming together of hearts from those who come here.

We need that.

Thanks, Ralph.

4. dianne - September 12, 2009

this is one of the most beautifully written pieces I have ever read. I found myself imaging the things you described and as I read, faster and faster, I realized I was holding my breath.

you have made me feel more hopeful and less alone. your writing has reminded me that there are more people out there who get it, who see it, who feel it

thank you

5. littlebangtheory - September 12, 2009

Dianne, Vikki, Bobbie, Paul, thanks for your thoughts and contributions. We ALL need to speak out against the lies which proclaim the inevitability of this world of othering and nationalism and fear. Knowing that you’re out there gives me the strength to keep it happening.

6. Tracy - September 13, 2009

A very moving and well written post. I found your blog via Bobbie and I’m glad she thoughtfully shared a link to this post.

7. no_slappz - September 13, 2009

you wrote:

“I cried then, as I cry now, for those of us left behind, for family and friends and children and acquaintances and complete strangers, of which I am one, who didn’t learn, didn’t get it, didn’t see how our narrow vision of life and love and justice contributed to this unspeakable moment in time, fueled the fires of divisiveness and hatred and greed, allowed us to dismiss the lives of others as somehow less valuable than our own, begged God to send us a message which we couldn’t ignore, then ignored it.”

Worthless drivel. Blaming the US for the intolerance — hate for non-muslims — that is the cornerstone of islam. As if the world lacks 1400 years of muslims putting their religion above all else.

8. littlebangtheory - September 13, 2009

One of the hallmarks of Fundamentalism of any sort – be it Islamic, Christian or Corporate – is the concept of perpetual growth regardless of the cost to others. It’s deadly, this belief that God has given you the right to do whatever the hell it takes to conquer the world, and it sucks.

I’m not defending Muslim Fundamentalism, ‘Slappz, I’m saying that U.S. imperialism in service of the Almighty Dollar is central to why “they” hate us, and that if we don’t honestly and openly examine this concept, we should expect foreign Fundamentalists to use that failing against us, with more dire consequences ahead for the American people.

9. no_slappz - September 13, 2009

littlebangtheory,

Muslims, depending on their personal level of devotion to their faith, disapprove, dislike, despise, hate, revile us because we are NOT muslim.

The money angle is a creation of apologists, which seems to include you.

By the way, you did defend muslim extremism. The subtext of your statement was to accept muslim attacks on the US as justified. Accept them as the muslim response to legitimate commercial endeavors.

Sorry. For that we have diplomacy. The UN. Trade agreements. Many ways to express grievances. But their grievance boils down to the fact that we are not muslims.

Thus, you believe that we owe it to these dirtbags to convert to islam.

Meanwhile, if the Western World had simply annexed land in the middle east, extracted the oil and told the indigenous government to drop dead, that would be one thing.

But we PAY retail for the oil. AND, until the first Gulf War, we more or less allowed the moronic muslim world to go its moronic way without intruding.

Did that work? No.

So here’s a solution that will work. Kill the leaders of Iran and Syria. In total, that’s about 100 people. A few cruise missiles will do the trick. Then the muslim world will start to get the message.

Osama bin laden has been neutralized. His only advantage over the other moron muslims is his existence as a nomad. Since he does not have to run a country, he can run from those who are trying to kill him. But the mullahs of Iran and the Assad family in Syria are on short leashes. They cannot stray from the palace halls or their houses of cards will collapse.

Meanwhile, it amazes me there is the slightest hint of sympathy for muslims since women are outright slaves in many muslim countries and are third-class citizens in the most liberal muslim states.

Moreover, the developing nations of the world are beating on the door of the US because they want to sell whatever they can to America. Unfortunately for almost all countries, their product quality is so low that no one here wants their junk.

Have you ever wondered why muslim nations have nothing to sell except oil and cheap labor used to sew clothes?

Do you ever wonder why there’s no oil and gas in Cuba? The US extracts huge quantities of oil and gas from the Gulf of Mexico. Yet Cuba, which is in the Gulf, is unable to pull out a single barrel.

Makes you wonder about the idiots running the country. And they are idiots. They’re still driving 1950s American cars in Cuba. The entire island is a living museum of American artifacts from the pre-Castro days.

Bottom line, it is government — dictatorial moronic governments run by ideologues — that are the problem. Shoot the leaders of Iran, Syria, Cuba, North Korea. Save the world.

Unfortuantely, Obama is a wussy.

10. littlebangtheory - September 13, 2009

Slappy, methinks you paint with way too broad a brush. Hate-filled Islamic fundamentalists don’t represent the bulk and breadth of Islam, any more than your brand of hate-filled fundamentalism represents the bulk and breadth of America.

If “they” hate us, it’s because high volume douche-nozzles like you paint a picture of Americans which makes me ashamed to be one.

“Shoot the leaders of Iran, Syria, Cuba, North Korea. Save the world.”

“Violence,” to quote Albert Einstein, “is the last refuge of the incompetent.” Apparently you’re running out of road, my pathetic friend.

In the future, keep your asinine tirades brief, or I’ll have to edit them down to the dumbest parts, or perhaps even ban you all together as most civilized bloggers have already done.

11. no_slappz - September 14, 2009

littlebangtheory, your idealistic and naive view of muslims may be a result of having no meaningful contact with them. I’ve had plenty. They do NOT believe in democracy because they believe in Islam and believe that universal law flows from the Koran. Their history in the world proves the point.

I hope for the best in Iraq. But as we can see, many muslims there want the democratic government to fail, and they are killing people to bring about the collapse.

12. no_slappz - September 14, 2009

littlebangtheory, you posted:

““Violence,” to quote Albert Einstein, “is the last refuge of the incompetent.” Apparently you’re running out of road, my pathetic friend.”

I see. That means the world should have quietly acquiesced to Hitler, Japan, the Soviet Union and, in the future, muslims.

It was NOT diplomacy that stopped Hitler. And, it was Einstein himself who provided key intellectual power to the development of the atomic bomb that finished off Japan and let the Soviet Union know where the line was drawn.

By the way, Lincoln could have stepped back and acknowledged the Confederacy. He could have acquiesced and allowed the new Confederate States of America to remain slave states, figuring the economy of the South would collapse. But that might have taken 30 or 40 more years. Instead, he took the direct route and started shooting. Was he wrong?


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