Nope. I'm not done yet. Not by a long shot.
We have come full circle, folks. Remember the days after September 11, 2001? Hundreds of news stories of how the nation - even the world - had come together as a whole. Unity. Brotherhood. Love your neighbor. Kindness among strangers. Wasn't it heartwarming? Remember those pictures of people in other countries mourning for the 3,000 dead, lighting candles and holding vigils. Remember all the speeches about coming together as one and holding hands and getting through this together?
One year later and the chasm between this side and that side has grown ever wider. Who is on this side, and who is on that side depends on your view of things. Sometimes it's a U.S.A. vs. The Rest of the World thing, sometimes it's American v. American or liberal v. conservative. No matter how you look at it, divisiveness rules the day, one year later.
One need to look no further than the comments on this very site to see the fault line in action. But let's look further, anyhow.
See, it's not even the fault line between America and the rest of the world that bothers me as much as the sides being drawn right here (I am speaking as an American here, so put down the keyboard and don't bother sending me that email about being isolationist). I stand somewhere in the middle of this war between Americans. As much as I am appalled at Bush's decision to make September 11 Patriot Day (do we really need to slap a label on this event, or make it a Hallmark occasion?), I am equally appalled at the behavior of UC Berkley's brass who decided that the colors red, white and blue are offensive and the Star Spangled Banner is divisive, and that neither should play a part in any September 11 tributes on campus.
I have said my piece about the above already; I do not think that September 11 should be acknowledged as a patriotic day or a day to pledge your allegiance to your country. But to say that wearing a red white and blue ribbon on that day is offensive is just ridiculous. Then there's this:
Also, to prevent the exclusion of those who don't believe in the American Flag, there will be no tribute to the flag. "The flag has become a symbol of U.S. aggression towards other countries. It seems hostile," Quindel said.
Have we lost our freaking minds? Yea, so I am not the greatest cheerleader of Bush or this country or our foreign policies. But come on people, where do you draw the line on this? This is why I sit firmly in the middle and will not align myself with either conservatives or liberal. Freedom? What's that? On either side you are either having the flag and it's symbolism shoved down your throat or you are made out to be evil if you do wave the flag.
What about other countries? 55% of Europeans think that America is partly to blame for the WTC attacks. Hey, isn't that Tony Blair I see crawling up George Bush's ass? May I quote Jane Galt here? Thank you.
In related news, 100% of Americans think that Europe was "entirely to blame" for World Wars I, II, the Holocaust, and Communist atrocities in the former Soviet Union and associated territories. 99.8% of Americans think that "The next time Europeans get themselves in any kind of trouble that requires US intervention, they can k*** my a**". And 89% of Americans think that "If those same Europeans are against invading Iraq, then it's time to put Sadaam in a whole world of hurt."
One year later and the rest of the world hates America even more. Hell, Americans hate Americans even more. We've pitted ourselves against one another, lining up on the side of bomb them or don't bomb them, flags or no flags, love or hate.
We have yet to find some common ground where we can sit and talk and say "yes, I see your point of view, now here is mine and where can we make the two meet," because no one wants to listen, they just want to rant and talk and dare you to step over the line.
How about we stop for just one minute bickering about the cause(s) of the attacks? How about we stop giving the day a name and a slogan and a label and a t-shirt? Stop making really sappy country songs about it, stop plastering your foreign car with Go America! bumper stickers, stop berating your own country and other countries, stop the name calling and face making and calls for war and calls for peace and for one goddamn moment think of the 3,000 innocent people who died. Died. Died. No longer exist. Wiped out. Taken from the families and friends and loved ones. Just shut up and think.
What are you going to accomplish by being divisive and petty? What are you going to prove by laying the blame for this whole thing on Americans themselves, who purchase oil for their cars and work for corporations? Unless you live on a communal farm and run around naked all day, eating daisies and grass, don't come to me with the bullshit that I am part of the problem.
And conversely, if you want to talk about people fighting so we can be free, then don't bitch at me for using that freedom to argue our president's policies.
I am stuck in the middle. Yea..clowns to the left of me, clowns to the right. Oh I know, I'm the whole damn circus because I can't make up my mind whether I want to bomb the hell out of the whole world or hug it.
I'm ending this rant before my head explodes. But I am not done, not by a long shot.