September 11th, 2008

summer reading

We Need a Poppy or Something

What he said.

I'm not generally in complete agreement with Keith Olbermann. Though you've probably guessed my politics are more or less in alignment with his, I think it dangerous to be too invested into one side of an issue because it seems to make one blind to the good points involved in the other side's argument.

After my initial infuriation over what I found to be a very partisan abuse of our national grief, I had to ignore it somewhat whenever I saw it crop up again. I knew it was still happening, but every time I thought of it I was so infuriated all over again that I did that thing I just said I find dangerous: I became blind to all else. I wanted to give myself breathing room and try to be more rational. Maybe find allowances and think this is just another way of dealing with grief. I find after 7 years that I still can't. I find after 7 years that I'm angrier than ever about all of it: from the moment President Bush first started "handling" things 'til now I can't find any way to think, really think, about the individuals most affected by 9/11 because I'm completely taken over by fury.

In other words, for myself, it's well past time that I make a conscious effort to re-focus my emotion for what happened that day into a form of grief that honors those who died then as well as those who have died since in Afghanistan and Iraq. I can be infuriated any other day about the aftermath, but on this day I need to set it aside.

We've got ribbons aplenty to remind us of breast cancer, AIDS, and a variety of other (worthy) things worth thinking about. I need something that will be unique, like poppies stand for something unique, to say I'm remembering what should be remembered on this day. I don't want 9/11 to be about politics. I want 9/11 to be about humanity, about honoring loved ones and colleagues, about acknowledging that - as a race - we have a long way to go to live up to the sparks of promise that show us what we could be.

I want to try to find some peace in it all.