I wrote a blog post on 9/11 of last year. I think what I said in that post still pretty much sums up my feelings about 9/11. I’m still continually disgusted at how politicians try to politicize 9/11. The truth is, It’s just another day now. For 11 years we’ve commemorated 9/11, but I think it’s time for us to collectively move on as a nation. The resulting fallout from 9/11 is some of the most frightening things I’ve seen in my lifetime. I’ve seen our liberties eroded, our young soldiers killed, foreign civilians killed, foreign leaders overturned and executed, and our country tip towards the brink of fascism without even knowing it.
9/11 has often been compared to Pearl Harbor. It’s not quite the same, but even so, we commemorate Pearl Harbor quietly these days. The pain of that attack has subsided. World War II was fought and ended. We fought and toppled fascist governments, discovered unthinkable crimes, and tried and convicted those responsible. What happened after 9/11 was a little different. We entered a war, but not with the foreign power who attacked us, because there was no foreign power that attacked us. It was a ragtag band of religious zealots living in the deserts of Afghanistan. The government of Afghanistan refused to cooperate with us, and we entered into the nation’s single longest war (that isn’t really a war because it was never declared by congress) with that government. We almost immediately lost sight of the criminal who murdered 3000 of our citizens, and turned our attention to another despot who hadn’t really done anything to us. That conflict cost us dearly. but no matter how dearly it cost us, it cost the citizens of Iraq much more dearly. We are not popular in that part of the world, and there is a reason for that. And no, it is not “because they hate our freedoms”. But recently we’ve found the criminal who murdered our citizens, and he was killed in the event. I will not entertain conspiracy theories about that event either.
9/11 will forever remain for me the epitome of what religious extremism can lead to. Unfortunately, it can get far worse. The crusades were a religious war, and they were fought with middle ages technology. Imagine if the crusades were fought today. That is the future we must avoid. Religious zealots are constantly trying to control our government, and the moderately religious are encouraging them to do so. This is the danger of even moderate religion, as Sam Harris points out. If we fall to fascist powers and become a religious state, the world as we know it will be in danger.
It is time to return to the ideals that made America great in the first place. Our freedoms and liberties must be restored from erosion of the last 11 years. Our adherence to the separation of church and state must be absolute. The balance of powers must be restored. And we must once again strive to be an example to the rest of the world as we once were, not the bully that the rest of the world is afraid of that we are now.
The last year has been very eventful for me. Around this time last year I had just started dating the first girl I had dated since I met my ex wife. Since then I’ve had quite the emotional rollercoaster. My divorce has been finalized. My children finally know that there are alternatives to extreme religion, and they’ve returned to public school. I’m alone, but I’m free of my ex wife to as much of a degree as possible. My house has been foreclosed on and soon to be repossessed. My apartment is overrun with cats whom I’m desperately trying to find homes for. I’ve returned to the job I had 11 years ago, as much as that job still exists, and I was with and lost a woman I’ve been secretly in love with for over a decade, and whom I consider to be my perfect mate. Sorry, fairy tale endings don’t happen in real life. It’s amazing how much can happen in just a year. I haven’t even covered everything that’s happened in my life, I’m sure yours has been just as eventful.
A year is a long time. When 9/11/2013 rolls around, it would be nice if we didn’t have to once again call for the freedoms we’ve lost to be restored again.