I was angry today. Angry that we celebrate a holiday like Columbus Day, but we seem to want to forget a day like September 11th. Wanting to forget is natural. We want to avoid that heart-stopping, spine-tingling, anxiety that comes from the trauma we all experienced that day. But it is those moments that we cannot forget. It those days that we need to remember. It is events such as September 11th that have no reason or moral, but which we need to learn from. And there was a great deal to learn from September 11th. The question: have we learned a damn thing?
We should have learned to take each day at a time. More family dinners. More love. More giving. More compassion. Instead, we gripe about our welfare systems, or we take advantage of the systems put in place for those who need them. Instead, we skip reading to our three year olds, so we can spend time on our iPads. Instead, we don’t give Maternity and Paternity leave to our workers. Instead of taking each day at a time, we have become more immersed in ourselves and in time-consuming politics.
We should have learned to put down our technology. Cell phones. Television. Movies. Video games. They are tools to looking further into ourselves and understanding the world in a new way. But we have turned them into the hammers of the modern day world. We forsake the other tools we have been given, and we avoid life through the use of technology.
We should have learned that it is the Hate in Religion, not the Beauty in Religious differences that destroys. Our first step after September 11th was profiling Muslims. Our next move was shunning them. The move after that was an increase in Extremist Christian and Religious groups. We’ve seen it a lot recently. There is hate everywhere. “God hates Fags.” “God hates Alcoholics.” God hates fill-in-the-blank. Let me tell you right the F*** now that God or Goddess or Allah or the I am or whomever you do or do not believe in does not subscribe to the hateful language that Extremists from ANY religion spread. He or She does not subscribe to Extremist Muslim beliefs or Extremist Christian beliefs or Extremist Jewish beliefs. The hate that is being spewed around in today’s United States is the same type of hate that led to September 11th. It is NOT righteous. It is not powerful. It is not Supernaturally sanctioned. It is disgusting, and we should know better after September 11th.
We should have learned that all the money in the world cannot keep us truly safe and free. Freedom does not come from money. Sure, there is a level of security that comes from having the necessities in life, but money and commerce can only make us so safe. We have let our fear of the unknown and our long-lasting desire for the prosperity in riches blind us to the overall prosperity of the soul we could have if we instead took care of our people, and all new people who enter our land. If we took money out of our politics; if we valued human life and dignity above supporting corporate welfare; if we took charge of our Government as true Americans who value freedom, compassion, empathy, and the arts. Well then, we might truly have the freedom and safety we seek.
We should have learned that grieving is the key to freedom. We should NOT celebrate a holiday such as Columbus Day, that glorifies a sadistic man who tormented our native people and did nothing to better our world. We should remember a day that has the potential to teach us about true grief. Grief is not bad. Grief is freeing. Grief is cleansing. Grief is necessary for psychological health. We must grieve. We must accept. We must cry our souls into oblivion every once in awhile, so as to understand the lessons we need to learn from days like September 11th.
We should have learned. But have we really? Have we really accepted that September 11th was a day that would forever change our hearts, our minds, our country, and our world?
So learn, America, and hold your head high. Hold your head high when you learn because then you will understand the sacrifice. Then you will understand the power of a day that caused us all to bleed. Bleed on the inside. Bleed on the outside. Bleed red just as all bleed red. But Bleed, we must. Grieve, we must. Remember, we must.