september 11 revisited: part 2 in a series
September 11 revisted: part 2 in a series
Please skip this post if you think that a) enough has already been written about September 11 or b) you think Americans should just get on with their lives and stop whining
So what do you define as normal?
Today's Newsday has a story of a 15 year old Muslim boy attacked and beaten in front of his mother. The cretins who beat this innocent boy accused the kid of being responisble for attacking the World Trade Center, and asked him if he was connected to bin Laden.
The thing is, if the two attackers and their onlookers did not beat this boy, it would have been someone else. If September 11 never happened, these men would still be biased morons, and they may have turned their anger towards someone of another nationality, another race.
In the aftermath of September 2001, too many people used the tragedy as an excuse for bad behavior. Not hate crimes in particular, but just misguided anger and hostility. I have always had this problem with facing down aggression with more aggression.
I wrote on October 21, 2001:
What I have a problem with is the glorification of his impending doom. As I drive, I see cars and vans with pictures of Laden taped to the back windows, targets drawn on his face and bullet holes sketched onto his forehead. I see banners hanging on parkway overpasses, with slogans like "Kick his ass, USA!" and "Death to bin Laden!" I hear them in restaurants and schools and grocery stores, plotting the most evil, violent death possible. But I don't see this alone. My children see it. They hear it. They see this country hell bent on revenge and death and destruction, and they see people waving their death wishes around like flags.
Violence begets violence. We know this. It is the basis of all wars. But it doesn't have to be so consuming. It doesn't have to be so bold and in your face. When they say "make a joyful noise" I don't think they mean shouts of war. I don't like the way we are teaching the future leaders of this country that an almost gleeful violence is the way to confront your enemies. That's what the WWF is for.
Don't get me wrong, please. I am not saying that Laden shouldn't be dealt anything less than death. I'm just asking, can we tone it down a bit? Can we not seem so giddy about taking lives? Can we not be so gung ho about the systematic destruction of another country? Can we not be so glib about revenge and war?
Think about what kids are seeing. Think about the signs and banners and posters that promote spilled blood. Think about the fact that this country already has a problem with hostile, angry kids who do not know how to act upon those feeling without reaching for a gun. Think about the message your slogans are sending.
And here's the problem. This is normal. America is full of trigger-happy, violence prone, knee-jerk reactionaries. And they need a slogan for everything. A slogan for your war, a slogan for your disasters, a slogan for your vengeance.
When they say has America returned to normal, do they mean are hate crimes against people other than Muslims resuming? Do they mean are murders and rapes and child abuse occurring at their normal pace?
It was like this before last year. September 11 just gave the ignorant morons of our society another racial group to target. And unfortunately, all the rhetoric and slogans and bumper stickers gave them, in their minds, justification for their violence and hatred.
Oh, it should be noted that the two attackers of the young Muslim boy were arrested when they returned to the scene to look for their glasses. Which just goes to show you the level of intelligence we are dealing with when it comes to hatred and violence.
The CNN poll asks, Has America returned to normal?
Can someone please define for me what normal is in this regard? Do they mean have people stopped using patriotism as justification for anger? Was the country really any different before this?
*ed. note: You don't have to be American to respond to this post!