Sunday, September 11, 2016

A Whimper

Fifteen years ago today, the United States was attacked, the Twin Towers in New York City fell, the Pentagon was seriously damaged and thousands of Americans died. A part of each of us died as well. Until that Tuesday morning, we had listened to the news of bombings and terrorist attacks and wars around the world, but sat in our living room recliners believing that we were safe.

At first we all agreed that 9/11 was a wake-up call. Before that day, we thought the United States was an island, removed from the violence that took place in other parts of the world. After that day, we thought if we only secured our borders, secured our airports and other ports that we would remain a free country.

Instead what has really been happening in this country?

The big news the last few weeks has been a football player who refused to stand for the national anthem. Because we still live in a free country and no one should be forced to stand when they don’t want to, I guess that’s his right and I get that. What I don’t get is how he has a right to protest anything when he made more money during that one game than his black brothers and sisters make in a year? More money than the average American of any race makes in a year and more money than most people living in a third world country make in a lifetime.

But it’s not about the money. Or I sure hope not. Then what about people being oppressed in this country and our government keeping them under its thumb? But unless you have lived in a third world country, you don’t really have a clue what it means to be oppressed or what it means when leaders do not give a damn about their people.

Or maybe it’s not even about our current government, which I will admit is full of a cancer which no amount of chemo or radiation is going to slow down. Maybe you still have a gripe with our forefathers. How dare they talk about freedoms and rights and build a country based on that when they owned slaves? Because, yea, you’re going to change history.

I do not have an answer for you, for anyone. I wish I could say that this is still the greatest country in the world, but I have to fight the tears when I say that I don’t believe that is true.

T.S. Elliot wrote the poem, “Hollow Men” in 1925 and its last lines remain the most quoted ones in poetry. “This is the way the world ends, not with a bang, but a whimper”. Wow. How did he know ninety-one years ago where we would be today?

Will another 9/11 destroy this country? Will enough attacks from outside terrorists bring us to our knees? Will we go down fighting, screaming, clinging to what we know to be right?

Or will we kill ourselves from the inside out? Will we drive enough police officers out of that line of work so that we have no protection in our neighborhoods? Will we persecute Christians and Jews and other religious groups but not Muslims, because not all Muslims are bad and never ask what is so bad about the other religions? Will protests of our own flag drive us apart? Will we forget what is really important?

This is what I see outside my window as I write this. I hope that I will always have that view.

Just my thoughts for this day, September 11, 2016. I’d love to hear what you think. 


Denise said...

I will never be able to write or express my thoughts as eloquently as you. My thoughts are somewhat in lines with your. At night when I lay awake I have given a thought to the "end of the world" & in these days of uncertainly it does seem that we are on that path, I also have thought about what our children of tomorrow will have to look forward to, overpopulation, global warming, a 50-60 hour work week. Just My 2 cents worth.

B. Philleo said...

Interesting commentary, but the only reason I wouldn't argue your point about this still being the greatest country in the world is because of two words: "I believe". That's what makes America so great - the freedoms we enjoy, including voicing our opinions regardless of how they differ from others'. Because of our freedoms, yes, we leave ourselves open and vulnerable to attack. I guess it goes with the territory. Right now our nation is in flux because freedom isn't static and, yes, the bad guys do get in from time to time. But as long as we believe in this great nation of ours, we will continue to forge ahead, ultimately hoping to fulfill the vision our founding fathers had for this country.

Chris Loehmer Kincaid said...

Denise, you are indeed eloquent - you got your 2 cents worth written and shared and that's what matters. As you know, I already worry about my kids and I do wonder what the future holds for them and their world.

Barb, you are right. We need to continue to believe that America is still a great country and cling to that vision. Perhaps that's our biggest problem - giving up on ourselves. Thanks for your thoughts.