Monday, September 12, 2005

9.11.05 - Anniversary for Change

"We will forever remember those we lost on September 11, 2001. In honoring their memory, we will remain true to our commitment to freedom and democracy." Evan Bayh

"Even as you enter the fourth year after the Sept. 11 attacks, Bush is still misleading and deluding you and hiding the real reason from you." Osama bin Laden

I've always been ambivalent about anniversaries. Any kind, happy or sad. Birthdays are different. No matter at what age, birthdays are singular days for each one of us, commemorating our entry into this world, celebrating our uniqueness of being.

Anniversaries, on the other hand, are shared -- with a mate, with family members or with a group of strangers. They are most often contrived occasions, unless they represent genuine milestones worthy of celebration: 50 years of marriage, 25 years with one employer, 10 years of sobriety. Anniversaries of death are not celebrations at all, of course, but sorrowful reminders of the passing of loved ones, or of other fellow human beings, taken too soon.

Just as painful in a different way are those anniversaries we recognize as the end of innocence. Of dreams. Of our notion of the rightness of things. The assassinations of President Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and for some, of John Lennon had far reaching and significant impact on the lives of millions.

Then there are events so horrific--the annihilation of thousands, millions--they must be recalled and memorialized, if only to prevent their recurrence. The Holocaust. Pearl Harbor. The Titanic. The end of World War II and the War in Vietnam.

In this century, young as it is, we now commemorate a bitter yearly anniversary of the terrorist attacks on 9/11/01. For far too many, the day marks a personal observance of the death of family and friends. For the rest of us, it's a cold, hard reminder that our world has changed forever. And so have we.

Just as the Kennedy and King assassinations affected the lives and ideals of all of us who lived through it, so the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath altered a generation, a nation and much of Western civilization's sensibility and sense of safety. We remember vividly where we where, what we were doing and how we felt when our world was upended by the chilling, fatal reality of global terror.

And now, as then, we recognize too late the dangerous weakness of too much complacency by the electorate. And of too little attention to the signs, signals, warnings of cataclysmic events to come by those in power. And, worst of all, of the abuse of that power and the betrayal of millions by our elected (and appointed) leaders.

The anniversary of 9/11 is especially ironic this year, eclipsed by two other major disasters, one manmade, one caused by nature -- the War in Iraq and Hurricane Katrina. Some would argue that many of the lives lost in Katrina were also at the hand of man, and I have to agree.

Our government, under the egregiously incompetent leadership of George W. Bush, is responsible for an obscene number of deaths, at home and around the world, which could have--should have--been prevented. The president, his administration and fellow Right Wingers have engaged in such despicable political maneuvering they've created their own Weapons of Mass Destruction -- against the very citizens they're charged with protecting.

It has to stop. George Bush's popularity, hell, his credibility, is at an all time low. And for good reason. He's shown the country and the world he's not a leader, he's a destroyer. He allowed the wanton destruction of lives and families and entire cities -- along with the hopes and dreams and trust of this generation, and potentially the next.

We must do better. For those we've lost. For ourselves. For our children. And for our future. The most meaningful way to honor the sacrifice of thousands on 9/11, in the War in Iraq and as a result of Hurricane Katrina is to vow, as Jews affirm about The Holocaust: Never Again!

On this anniversary of 9/11, let us vow to put an end to the Bush administration's deplorable failures by removing George W. Bush from the office he's defiled. We simply cannot afford to let this president and his cronies create any more tragic anniversaries for our soldiers, our citizens or our country.



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