Saturday, September 11, 2010

My thoughts on September 11

Today, on the anniversary of 9/11, I was lucky enough to participate in one of my favorite activities - flag waving on Freedom Bridge. Freedom Bridge, for those that don't know about it, is the overpass that leads into Fort Lewis, near Camp Murray. A wonderful group of people, known as the Bridge People Regulars, have made a showing every Saturday since 2003, rain or shine or snow or wind, to wave Old Glory and to say thank you to our troops and their families as they drive by.

My family started going in November of 2007 and for a long time we went every Saturday as well. I prioritized it above every other activity I did. At the time I wasn't involved in politics at all. In fact, I guess Freedom Bridge was my first foray into, not necessarily politics because we keep it apolitical and nonpartisan on the bridge, but expression of ideas in a public forum. I stopped going regularly as all of the political and tea party stuff started taking up more and more of my time. So it was such an honor to be back there today to say thanks to our men and women in the military, and to see old friends and smile with them, particularly on a day like today, September 11.

That bridge is possibly the most hopeful place I have ever stood. There is an energy that is palpable, especially when my fellow bridge people are there with me. To stand there, unashamedly, holding an American flag, looking soldiers in the eyes as they drive past, yelling thank you to them, fills my heart with such happiness and love. It's so hard to explain until you've been there. I jokingly call it "patriot crack" because once you start going, you need to get your fix pretty regularly. There's nothing like a jolt of hope and love for your country to brighten your day and to clear away the cynicism that politics inevitably brings into your life.

On the way home, I was thinking about politics and how it relates to the experience of Freedom Bridge on 9/11. It reminded me that although I think my political opponents - liberals, progressives, social democrats, etc. - are totally and completely wrong about policy, they are still Americans. They are not, in any way, shape, or form, similar to the radical Islamic terrorists that perpetrated the attacks on 9/11. And I think that we need reminders of things like that more often, especially as we move into a fierce election season. For all of (what I consider to be) their misguided ideas, liberals are not mass murderers; they're not terrorists; they're not evil. Remembering these seemingly obvious facts lifts a weight off of my shoulders because all of a sudden, I'm not fighting against evil, genocidal, killers; I'm fighting against fellow Americans who have a different idea about the right balance of government vs. free enterprise.

It's good to remember this. I hope that some of the liberals out there had an opportunity for self-reflection today and maybe came to these same conclusions because, honestly, I'm really tired of being called a racist; a bigot; a domestic terrorist wannabe; a cruel person with no heart who wants all poor people to die; a fascist; etc. Can we come to the table and assume the best about each other until facts dictate otherwise? This isn't to say we won't be passionate and that we won't argue. This isn't to say that I won't claim that progressivism is philosophically flawed, or that I believe it leads to great suffering and is inherently unjust - the difference being that I don't believe that people who call themselves progressives are seeking great suffering or injustice. Those are two hugely different concepts. Make sense? (Similarly, this isn't to say that progressives won't throw those same accusations back at me, hopefully with the caveat that they don't actually believe that I want horrible things to happen, even if they think my ideas will lead to bad things.)

It means that I will make an effort to assume that the heart and the character of the people I clash with are basically good. It means that I will not assume they have hate in their heart.

Can the liberals reading this join me in this effort? I hope so, because we need to stand together as one, unified people against radicals who seek to destroy our way of life, and life itself, simply because we don't live like them.

Lastly, I know that I fight for ideas that I believe provide the best framework for individual liberty, prosperity, freedom, hope, and love. I believe that those ideals are timeless human desires that span generations and centuries, and that cannot be snuffed out. There is an eternal fight for freedom, and for the laws and systems that best achieve that freedom. I will tirelessly fight people who hold ideas that I think threaten freedom - it doesn't mean I think those people hate freedom - but I will fight them, goodhearted though they may be, until I cannot fight anymore.

I'm going to repost Doctor Zero's article about the meaning of the American flag. As always, he writes so beautifully about the power of the American flag and how no matter what people do to it, they can never destroy it. Also be sure click on over to Ace of Spades where they've posted tons of video from CNN's coverage of 9/11. Watch it again so that you don't forget what happened. It was really awful. (Understatement of the century.)

In memory of everyone who died on 9/11 and the soldiers who lost their lives in the ensuing battles: May you rest in peace. And to our men and women across the globe who have been injured, or made other sacrifices so that I can sit at home, blogging: my eternal gratitude and love to you all.

By Doctor Zero

An odd little church in Florida touched off a global controversy by threatening to burn a Koran on September 11. They announced the burning had been postponed, but there have already been riots in Indonesia, and injuries in Afghanistan. Naturally, these riots have been accompanied by the burning of American flags. When rage and hatred blaze in the dark corners of the Earth, the symbol of American freedom is usually the first thing to catch fire.

American flags were burned on September 11, 2001 as well. They dissolved into ash while Palestinians danced around them, singing and passing out candy to celebrate the fall of the Twin Towers. They were vaporized in the blasts of superheated jet fuel that ripped through the corridors of those towers, and the Pentagon. They melted on the shoulders of heroic firefighters who ran into a million tons of cascading rubble and never came back.

That grand old American flag has seen her share of abuse. The sight of her riding the winds of dawn, her beauty unspoiled by a night of cannon fire, inspired the poetry which became our national anthem. She was made to march along the Trail of Tears, where brave men died of exhaustion in her shadow. She was carried into battle against her own sons, and drifted sadly over ground soaked with their blood at Shiloh, Antietam, and Gettysburg. She greeted the morning of December 7, 1941 above the decks of eighteen doomed ships, warmed by their last gorgeous Hawaiian sunrise. She was burned and spat upon as an insult to the men who carried her honor into the jungles of Vietnam.

And yet, the American flag has never been desecrated.

She is the symbol of a unique nation: born in the defiance of tyranny, baptized in the destruction of slavery, and coming of age when it rescued the world from genocidal evil. Those who destroy our flag earn nothing but our contempt. They abuse their freedom of speech to level such an insult… but if you embrace the freedom to perform only virtuous deeds, you will soon find that what you’re holding isn’t “freedom” at all, as the arbiters of “virtue” lay their heavy hands upon your shoulder.

Anyone who seeks to desecrate the Stars and Stripes, on either foreign or domestic soil, is a fool. The power of that flag is far beyond their reach. It is a flame that warmed the freezing waters of the Delaware, as George Washington and his force of starving yeomen brought defeat to the invincible British army. It was raised above the bloody rocks of Iwo Jima by men who would have acted no differently if they had known half of them would be dead within a matter of weeks, resting beside seven thousand of their brother Marines. Our flag rose again above the rubble of the World Trade Center, in the hands of firemen who spent the day pulling survivors from the burning dust. They wanted to do something for all the people they couldn’t save… a gesture of enduring love, and defiance of the sickening evil that tore them from their loved ones.

The image of those firemen and their flag passed through the lens of photographer Thomas Franklin, and into eternity. The blood of liberty is made from the remembrance of such moments. Franklin would later say, “This was an important shot. It told more than just death and destruction. It said something to me about the strength of the American people and of these firemen having to battle the unimaginable.”

That’s what America is: a never-ending battle against the unimaginable.

No cretin with a cigarette lighter can touch the compassion and courage woven into the cloth those firemen raised above Ground Zero. Burn that flag and prove you are a savage, or a spoiled brat. Spit upon it and soil yourself. Stamp it beneath your feet, and diminish. You might as well try to extinguish the Sun. Instead of protecting your symbols with promises of destruction and murder, think about what makes the American flag untouchable, and be elevated.

No nation has ever loved the whole of mankind as much as the United States of America. Our fallen soldiers lie in every corner of the Earth as proof. Love is patient, and love is kind. We forgive the world its trespasses. On September 11th, we ask its patience and kindness, as we recall the day unimaginable evil descended upon New York and Washington, and we once more took up the burden of doing battle with it.



11 comments:

  1. With respect:

    http://tinyurl.com/243a7kx

    and

    http://tinyurl.com/25jwmdh

    and

    http://tinyurl.com/24ywf9f


    The real truth will bring it all together for you -

    WA familyman and businessman.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sorry anonymous, truthers=birthers=ridiculous.

    ReplyDelete
  3. LB, I agree whole heartedly with what you wrote. I only ask that your wishes extend to those on the right as well.

    At this time in America, a popular TV show host daily accuses our President of trying to wreck America. Bloggers call the president a "Socialist" despite the fact that he has never supported Socialism (look up the definition of Socialism of you are unclear it the term's definition). Republicans in Congress oppose needed legislation that would implement ideas they have supported in the past, because as the opposition party, the worse off the country and the economy is, the more they have to gain at the next election. Some have even disregarded President Bush's admonishments about "Islam not being the enemy" in an attempt to further divide Americans.

    If we can as you write, "we come to the table and assume the best about each other until facts dictate otherwise" then we have a chance.

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  4. Really anon, a government that can barely function (been to a DMV office lately? tried to mail a package to Afghanistan? ever seen a project come in under budget? ever seen the efficiency of elections?) can somehow blowup three buildings with no one spilling the beans? Delusional...

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  5. Both parties must relearn the lesson of governance. Regardless of which party gains the majority in the next Congressional election, the nation must be governed. That is what we elect them to do. There has been too much name-calling and mindless sloganeering for much too long. Perhaps you've started something, Liberty Belle! I hope that all of your readers and contributors understand what you've said, will start to disseminate it, and will insist on our elected representative doing it.

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  6. Unfortunately, when I try to link to this post in Facebook, it seems to skip what you've written and starts with the second paragraph of your repost of Doctor Zero's article. His article is good, but yours is what I want to link to. Any ideas?

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  7. Again, all due respect Liberty Belle. To you and your audience (which includes me-I was at your first rally way back in Westlake center there), however, it's about the money; all of this RED/BLUE, REPUB/DEM, reg/tax/liberty being taken away...all of this nonsense...is about the money. Follow the money and you'll find the answers that allude you. There's a local man named Jason Vrabel who worked for the bankers...he's now educating folks on how the "system" actually works. Give his work a whirl:

    http://www.silverbearcafe.com/private/05.10/renaissance.html

    Regardless of what you think about birthers/truthers/et cetera; put all of your stereotypes and bigotry aside; forget the 1200 architects and engineers, forget "Loose Change" and all of that...just give yourself 10 minutes with this vid. You will not regret it. If you get through the entire piece, then have a look at some of the macro-political chess pieces being moved around the board, over the last three years. Ask yourself if things look just a little different now. You just may see yourself looking at the big picture a little bit clearer. The added clarity may just help your cause. Of which, I’m with you on.

    If Jason causes you to think a bit differently; please repost here in a couple of days. I'd love your thoughts and have more where this came from.

    Over to you -

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  8. Dr Zero perpetrates with alacrity the already blown myth of "Palestinians dancing around a burning US flag" on hearing of 9/11. Who controls (or works for the controller of) the media can perpetrate any myth they wish, such as that some areas of the world are "dark corners", implying "we" - including the drone pilots sequestered in "dark corners" of that darkest corner in the world - the Pentagon - and bombing the inhabitants of the NW Province of Pakistan - are living in the light. The age old con of portraying "us" against the "others". And yet you people supporting invasions of these peoples lands with the ensuing death, destruction and destabilisation of their way of life are the good ones? Ha!

    Smug, self-satisfied, flag-wavers of the world unite, you have no reasonable world view to lose!

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  9. Stupid Liberal ProfessorSeptember 17, 2010 at 9:34 AM

    Anonymous,
    Did you go to the reunion at Evergreen State College this year?
    They did a fantastic job of brain washing you.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm sorry but I disagree with you that those on the left are not evil. Yes, they may be Americans but that which is evil can only come from evil people. The leaders of the left propose slavery, servitude to them and their ideas. They are guilty of murdering the innocent unborn by the millions. They push and push and promote and defend immorality and the commodification of the human body and of born children. Their lies have served to ruin the lives of men, women and children around the world. When their ideas are put into practice, minds, bodies and souls are destroyed.

    Those on the left are as dangerous and evil as any of the Islamic jihadist's because they pretend they are good and want to do good while they advocate for evil and evil results.

    They may be Americans but they only live in America. They hope to destroy her because America is not their hoped for utopia and her principles, values, rule of law, and Constitution don't serve their ideology nor their purposes.

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  11. Anon - what I'm saying is a little nuanced. I feel that leftist ideology results in "evil" things like serfdom, tyranny, and generational theft. However, I don't think all leftists are "evil." I think many of them are ignorant or misguided. I think there is a difference, though subtle, but important nonetheless.

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I believe in free speech, including offensive speech, and especially political speech. Comments that are left on my blog do not necessarily represent my views nor do I necessarily endorse them. I am not responsible for other people's views or comments. That is how the 1st Amendment works.