While ceremonies mark the remembrance of the people that left us that day, the country turns to a new point in history--a new leader--to seek the guidance we didn't seem to get over the past seven years.
McCain and Obama have agreed not to talk politics today at Ground Zero. I can appreciate the sentiment, however I think the better plan of action would really be to do something. So I'll do it for them.
In the past seven years we have:
- Left behind a worthwhile military venture in Afghanistan (where, by the way, the true perpetrators of 9/11 are hiding or at least visiting from time to time) and let our early victories in that area crumble to pieces in the wake of our desire to be somewhere else.
- Started a worthless war in a country that housed virtually no one who contributed to the events of 9/11 only to put that entire country in a civil war calmed only by the presence of soldiers who have been on four tours of duty.
- Created a department of "Homeland Security" which has done nothing but outsource the job that was being done on the morning of 9/11 with very few, if any, changes and has made our borders equally as safe or unsafe as they were on that day.
- Developed a cultural war against people of the Islamic faith not because we disagree with their religious ideas, but because a few people who claim to be Muslims decided to blow up a building. Meanwhile, we neglect our own faults in that Christians have perpetuated numerous wars in the name of religion and yet they're not deemed extremists.
- Built a culture of fear and even created a rainbow of terror alerts to keep us on the edge of our seats, lest we get a bit curious as to why we fear in the first place. You know why George W. Bush got reelected in 2004 notwithstanding the fact that he was a horrible president? Because the country feared change...because the country was conditioned to fear.
- Create a true understanding with the cultures in the Middle East in order to develop a dialogue that prevents cultural violence.
- Move beyond the goals of the terrorists (fear) and live in peace
- Create a lasting memorial to those who died that day--either physically or a fund that works to prevent such diplomatic disasters
- Win or even gain ground in the so-called "War on Terror."
- Prevent national tragedy from striking again due to our own ineptness.
Shame on us.
Here's my optimism--here's what we need to do:
- Create a dialogue about why people hate America. We have to confront this above all else.
- Stop putting our noses where they don't belong and start making sure that our own country is secure. (Levees in New Orleans, anyone?)
- Cut our dependence on oil--not just foreign oil, but all oil. When oil is less a part of the equation, true diplomacy may begin.
- Withdraw from Iraq, but help them rebuild. We royally screwed up their country, it's our responsibility to fix it. Remember when you were a kid and you'd go play at someone's house? If your mama raised you right, you wouldn't leave their toys a mess or broken.
And that, my friends, is a real tragedy.