Saturday, September 11, 2010

In Rememberance

It's impossible to avoid this day, to let it slide by without some sort of recognition. The date sits quietly aside the others on the calendar, e-mail boxes fill up with requests that you remember, donate, or sign a petition. News reporters write and rewrite their stories, interviewing everyone who walks by to find the deepest gut reactions and sweetest sentiments. September 11th: The Day That Changed America Forever.

To be honest, I'm sick of it. It's mostly propaganda pushed by politicians and religious fanatics. I'm not saying millions of Americans don't hungrily eat it up and then spew it out. It's a tragedy. Truly the loss of that many lives due to any single event is horrific. But for all those who have posted or stated or e-mailed me, let me ask you this: How has America changed?

I actually asked several people this. The answers all started the same. Silence. Astonishment. A weighing of which story to tell. I should say most. A brave few didn't question and happily shared their fatigue. The truth is, it doesn't matter. I live here and I get to play a part in it to. I won't share their answers, but I will tell you mine.

America has changed for the worse.

We distrust our neighbors because they look different than us, especially if we think they may be Muslim.

We legalize racial profiling and claim it is for our national security.

We ask people to give up their freedoms to make others feel better without questioning what we will ask of the next group of people or even who that next group will be.

We've stopped having conversations about our differences and have started to scream at, point fingers, and assume everyone is guilty, or worse, just plain wrong.

Of course, we've made travel inconvenient as well.

But the most disturbing piece is that we seem to have forgotten what being an American is suppose to be about. I miss those mythical days of America. The ones we read about in American studies. The ones that talked about coming to America to escape religious persecution, to make a better life for your family, the ones that referred to the nation as a melting pot. Mostly, I miss being bonded to people I don't know just because we are all fighting for the same thing.

The heat that kept us warm as a nation has been turned off and we have begun to separate. I wonder what tragedy will need to befall us before we get it right.

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