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9/11 -- "Never Forget" Your Perspective
I originally posted this comment as a reply to a family member on facebook today, to no response (not surprisingly). I figured "Screw it, might as well post it on the LJW-- where I'd at least get some feedback, and maybe make some people think."
9/11 Never Forget
How many times have you seen ^THAT^ sentiment today? Of course, we want to remember the victims of the tragedy that occurred 11 years ago today. We want to remember how that day affected us, both personally and as a nation. However, I vehemently object to the "Never Forget" sentiment when it is accompanied by a statement and/or implication that what we should never forget that "The Muslim Terrorists are still out there and want to kill us." (<< actual quote from facebook.) This is a sentiment I've seen repeated several places today.
Learn from our past?....Nah.
For some perspective on that statement, replace 9/11 with Pearl Harbor and this is what you get: "Never Forget Pearl Harbor..... The Japanese terrorists are still out there and want to kill us." Ridiculous to think about in this day and age, right? But that is the exact sentiment that was prevalent during the last Great War, so much so that we imprisoned thousands of innocent people in internment camps, simply because of their nationality.
Or how about we take it back even further, to the Revolutionary War? "Never Forget Bunker Hill..... The British terrorists are still out there and want to kill us." Now that one just sounds silly, I'll admit. But it's a great example of impermanence with regards to the "enemy" of the hour. An empire that once was our most mortal enemy during the birth of this country, is now one of our greatest allies in the world. My, the times, they are a'changin. I'd like to think that as a country, we can learn from our mistakes, but there are many people out there that I think would jump up and down at the thought of locking up all the Muslims in America.
This should be common sense, but sadly, it's not
What we should "Never Forget" is this: 9/11 should serve as a reminder as to what happens when intolerance (such as the intolerance Osama & Co. held for America) gets to a level where it turns into murder. It's a reminder to us all that we shouldn't paint a group of people with the same brush (as Al Qaeda did to the US). Prejudice leads to resentment, which leads to hate, which leads to killing. Look at what just happened in Wisconsin, where a white extremist committed an act of terror against a group of Sikhs, because he thought they were Muslims. Or the Joplin mosque that has been burned down TWICE this summer.
Not all asians are horrible drivers, not all blacks are criminals, not all catholic priests are child molesters, not all gays have AIDS, not all republicans are corporate shills, not all democrats are communists in disguise, and not all muslims are terrorists. Judge the individual, not the demographic.
I just can't stand this vitriolic culture that has evolved since 9/11 where nobody trusts anybody else. 9/11 should have brought us TOGETHER as a nation, made us a group of individuals reminded that black, white, jew, muslim, christian, gay, straight -- we all bleed and die the same on the battlefield or when targeted by those who kill for their hate. In the immediate aftermath, it did bring us together-- for a short while. But now, we're back to our old ways-- more anger-filled and distrustful than ever before.
We're a nation deeply divided and focused on emphasizing differences instead of similarities. We're a nation where many of our leaders fuel the flames of these divides, especially politically-motivated ones. We're a nation where people are discriminated against and even murdered by their own co-citizens for their politics, their race, their religion, their age, their gender, their disability, or their sexual orientation. And it makes me want to cry.