It’s almost been ten years since the towers slipped from the sky, and let’s face it, nothing is the same.
From September 11 on, we Americans felt uneasy: uneasy when planes flew over. Uneasy in the voting booth. Uneasy watching the news. Uneasy when the bills just kept coming.
After we got suspicious and uneasy, we became downright volatile and nasty. What should be simple exchanges of political ideas now flare into terrible brawls, both in person and online.
Case in point: Less than an hour after poor Gabrielle Giffords took a bullet to the head in January, fingers pointed and theories were sensationalized… before most people could even shed a tear for the wife and mother clinging to life in that Arizona operating room.
Thing is, the media loves to sell us the thing they hope we’ll consume without thinking: scandal. Conspiracy. Suspicion. They want to keep us clinging to the story, to feel the fullness of victimhood, to await justice and satisfaction like people addicted to the daily soaps. It’s as if we now want to be offended, and I don’t understand why.
Ever since 9-11, we dealt with our hurt by a relentless hunt for the political one-armed man that looks to have no end.
It took only a few months for newsmongers to abandon Gabrielle Giffords in favor of the vicious jabs political parties started lobbing at other political parties in Washington in the months leading to the Republican primaries. At this point, it’s all escalated so much that I’m wondering where it will end.
Readers, why do people use politics as an excuse to stop seeing each other as fellow human beings? What shall it profit a man if he should gain the upper hand in an internet debate and lose his compassion for his fellow human being? Didn’t September 11 happen to all of us?
I don’t want political debates to make me forget that you have a birthday and a bucket list and that you’re allergic to oranges and you tend to cry when you listen to Donny Hathaway. I want to exercise my free will and never forget that you’re human. Mother Teresa once said, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”
In that spirit, here is my commitment for all upcoming elections:
- I will not call anyone names such as “stupid,” “retard,” “idiot,” “B*tch,” “moron,” or any other word unfit to say in front of a 3-year old. Not elected officials, not candidates, not pundits. No one. Name-calling never helped anybody be a better man or woman.
- I will not publicly refer to ideas as stupid, idiotic, or dumb without real information to support my beliefs. It’s better to discuss things with purpose than unleash a barrage of complaints that change nothing.
- I will not compare any U.S. politician to Adolf Hitler. No one has declared himself or herself dictator, and none have personally ordered the genocide of 11 million people.
- I will allow other people to disagree with me and with political figures and not immediately write off their beliefs as “hateful,” “intolerant,” “moronic,” “libtarded,” or “bigoted” or any other politically correct term that censors the true consideration of ideas. People are entitled to their opinions. If I truly believe someone has a serious problem, he or she will benefit more from my compassion than my smug dismissal.
- I will not allow politics to ruin my relationships. Friends are friends forever, if Michael W. Smith’s the lord of sappy songs.
- I will not allow television to pick my friends or enemies. I will do my own research and hear lots of viewpoints on news stories in a relentless search for accuracy… and mute commentary from total strangers in suits.
Inspired by everyone who lost their lives on September 11, 2001
Photo mosaic of all 9-11 victims via http://inapcache.boston.com/universal/site_graphics/blogs/bigpicture/sep1109_09_11/s11_00000004.jpg