The 9/11 Soap Opera
I’ve always felt like a Wisconsite first and an American second. I love my state and take great pride in it. On the morning of September 11, however, I felt like an American. Before then, I couldn't have cared less about the people of New York City or Washington, DC. I mean, obviously, I didn’t hate them and want them to die, but I felt no more connection to them than I would have to someone in Dublin or Toronto or Madrid.
September 11th changed that. America was attacked. The people in the Pentagon or in the World Trade Center or on those planes died simply because they were Americans (or working in America). They died because of our way of life. How could I not feel like, even though I was lucky enough to be out of danger that day, this was an attack on me, everything I care about and everyone I love.
I wasn’t the only one. For an all-too brief moment, America was united. Now however, the events of 9/11 are being used to divide America up into partisan little blame boxes. The WSJ’s Opinion Journal features a column today by Debra Burlingame. Her brother was the pilot of Flight 77. She eloquently expresses the same fears about the 9/11 Commission and the way their findings are being reported. It’s worth reposting some of it here:
As the 9/11 Commission puts the finishing touches on its findings and recommendations due next month, I am steeling myself for the media's breathless rush to publish all the shocking revelations that show how incompetent we are as a nation. While I am skeptical of the commission's stated determination to keep politics out of its final report, I have no doubt whatsoever that with the presidential election just months away, those editors and producers who package the news will find it impossible not to do what they've done since Watergate changed the face of journalism: find a smoking gun, present it to the American people, and congratulate the effort as "what distinguishes us from our enemies." Meanwhile, Osama bin Laden and his murdering tribe will sit back with satisfaction as they watch the infidels tear themselves apart.
Yes, let's have a debate, but let's stop this self-battering, which is weakening us in the only place where al Qaeda can never penetrate, the core of who we are. Instead of pulling together at such a crucial time to prevent even more lethal attacks in the future, we are displaying a divisiveness that energizes our adversaries. They know us better than we know them. Their strategic kills in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and beyond are aimed at breaking our resolve to root them out at home and hunt them down abroad before they can do us more harm. We will not win every battle, but we will only prevail in the war on terror when we unite, not as Republicans and Democrats, but as Americans.
Posted by at June 22, 2004 04:04 PM
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