Over the weekend I was eating up Douglas Coupland’s latest offering, “All Families are Psychotic.” In one scene a character talks of escaping, getting away. He talks of flying in a plane over the World Trade Center. He actually mentions it by name, the World Trade Center.
Sitting alone, late Saturday night, I was taken aback. I was jarred from the world the novel had created. I was suddenly and abruptly dropped back into the real world. A world where the World Trade Center no longer exists. Thirty-one days ago, that sentence would not have elicited a reaction from me at all. But that was a long, long time ago.
Thirty days have passed. Thirty days, nothing and everything has changed. My life has continued. I laugh, I celebrate birthdays, I think about falling in love. I catch myself doing this, doing this normal stuff and I feel guilty. I feel like I should be sad, I should still be in mourning. But I can’t anymore. I can’t continue on like that. I see people wallowing in this, wallowing in the terror, the horror, the terrible sadness and I think, “they lost.” Those people, those people who cannot pick themselves up, brush themselves off and get back to the business of life; those are the people who have lost the war on terrorism. They’ve given in and given up. So, terribly, terribly sad.
Thirty days and my life has found its new version of normal. Things won’t ever be the same. I don’t even kid myself into thinking that. I am still asking why. I’ve been asking why since September 11th. However, now the why has changed a bit.
Why are we starting a war where the objective doesn’t seem to be clear? What is the goal of this? I can’t seem to get it. Are we out to kill one man? Do we really have the naivete to think that we can make the world safe from terrorism? How can we possibly end terrorism? As long as there are people on this planet willing to die for their cause, we cannot end terrorism. If I wanted to walk into work today with a bomb strapped around my body, nobody could stop me.
Why have we become a nation of patriotic hypocrites? I’ve never been a flag-waver, probably never will be. But I do so love this country. I love it for its imperfections, for the ideals it was built on and for the potential it has for being spectacular. Yet, I am sick of the flag-waving hypocrites. I am sick of them judging those of us who do not feel the need to pledge their allegiance on their chests, cars or homes.
In this time filled with boundless love of country, we’ve sure become quick to forget many of the very tenets this country was founded on, namely freedom of religion and speech. It seems as though at our most patriotic, we are also at our most intolerant.
Dissenting opinion will no longer be tolerated here in the country of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. We pledge our allegiance to the flag and just as quickly forget about the constitution, the real symbol of our country. No longer can we express dissatisfaction with our country’s leaders. Clearly, it’s only patriotic to blindly trust.
Thirty days and we’ve seen the best and worse this country has to offer. Thirty days, everything and nothing has changed.