#447 Was Pogo Right?
There's a flurry of 9/11 stuff this week, which you can expect, since the anniversary is upon us.
It didn't take long for the exploiters of events to capitalize on all this, but to our credit as a country, there aren't a lot of "I Visited Ground Zero" baseball hats and T-shirts. Yet. Maybe by the tenth anniversary.
We've learned a little since then. We've learned to take our shoes off at the airports. We've learned to have our phones tapped. We've learned we may be on a "watch list" or two.
We have learned how to turn a national tragedy into a needless war. We have learned how to wreck an economy, using the destruction of two major office buildings, part of the Defense Department's headquarters and the intentional crashing of a White House-bound airliner as excuses.
Political careers have been made (Giuliani couldn't have gotten elected dogcatcher on 9/10/01, now he's "America's Mayor!")
What's worrisome is that we're getting too much like our enemy, which often foreshadows renewed or further fighting.
When the Bin Ladin gang flew those hijacked planes into the Trade Center Towers, the object was more than killing a lot of Americans. The object was to destroy the country by destroying the symbols. That kind of thing plays better in places like Saudi Arabia and Syria than it does in New York. The logic is thus: break the symbols, thereby breaking the spirit, thereby breaking the country.
What the gangsters didn't understand is that America doesn't regard its symbols in that way. Or at least most of us don't.
The symbols were destroyed. The lives were destroyed. The country didn't disintegrate, it united, at least for a short time.
We are dangerously close to accepting the Bin Ladin gang take on symbols.
You don't wear a flag pin? You are the enemy.
You don't rise from your seat or cover your heart for the Pledge of Allegiance? You are the enemy.
To question your lack of symbol is becoming a symbol itself -- one that asks "how can you be a real American without these decorations?"
And then, how are we different from the aforementioned gang? How are we different from the people who want to destroy us?
"We have met the enemy and he is us(?)" The cartoon character Pogo said that decades ago.
Be careful if you see a walking, talking possum wearing a ground zero T-shirt.
--Even the right wing dominated Supreme Court understood the difference between flag and country. It ruled that you can burn the flag as a protest. Stinks, but legal.
--If I steal your Lexus and leave you a Yugo will that change your view of yourself? Probably not. So why get all fussed about someone who doesn't stand up when the Pledge is recited?
--As for 9/11 itself, the closer you were to one of the destructions, the more deeply and permanently you were affected. That's why many people who were there don't say much about it. Kind of like 'Nam and the Holocaust.
I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.(R)