In Spite Of Everything I Still Believe
It’s the eighth anniversary of 9/11 and while I think I’m supposed to be remembering all of those who lost their lives that day (and I certainly remember exactly where I was at the time on that day). I find my thoughts going to other places today and while some of those thoughts are quite negative, as Anne Frank said, “In spite of everything, I still believe…” – Don’t Get Me Started!
Should I be ashamed that I didn’t really think about this being the anniversary of the attack the moment I woke up? That it took the morning news to remind me? I don’t think so. There’s something about getting on with life that I think is truly important after tragedy. Now that’s not to say that I think we should forget it, by all means I wouldn’t be a Jew unless somewhere in me I wasn’t programmed to reflect often on the Holocaust, the morons who say it never happened and as most survivors reminded us for years after the war, “Never Forget.” I’ll never forget the holocaust or 9/11 but I also won’t carry it on me like a kids’ backpack that has been overstuffed with a load far too heavy for them to carry either.
When I got to my office, the gentleman who comes once a week was cleaning the office and as we talked about 9/11 he told me about his struggle to become an American citizen, that it had taken twenty years of red tape for him to finally a few weeks ago, be allowed to take the test and become an American citizen (he’s only waiting for the swear in ceremony at this point). He told me that one of the questions on the test was what happened on 9/11? I guess it’s good to make sure that people becoming citizens understand that we as a country have been under attack (by outside forces as well as some internal morons). He also told me that as he talked about the test with his different clients he was a little surprised that new citizens seem to know more about our country than those of us who were born here. I wasn’t surprised. The same thing happened when my best friend of a lifetime converted to Judaism, she was more Jewish than I’ve ever been in my life (and took great delight in constantly reminding me of how much more she knew than me). But it is sad that the people becoming citizens are required to know more than we know. Maybe we as American citizens need to take a test every once in awhile to make sure we know about our own country? Maybe we should care more about that then whether Jon Gosselin was dumped or whether or not Ellen Degeneres will be a good judge on Idol?
And then I started my computer and went to see what news was happening in the world from my Google homepage. I came across a “Breaking Story” about the South African runner who they now say has been tested to find out if she is intersex (having both male and female genitalia) and if she is no one knowing what they’ll “do” with her, then my eye went to a story about a British code breaker in World War II who basically changed the way people break codes, including building a machine that could break codes which eventually became the ground floor of the computer I’m typing on now. In the early 1950’s he was convicted of homosexual activity. He was given the choice of imprisonment or castration. He chose to be castrated and killed himself two years later. What a brilliant mind that was destroyed by hate and lack of people understanding homosexuality. Some self professed computer geeks went about having a petition signed to have the British government offer a public apology posthumously, which they have now done.
So with those who believe the enemy is always outside their countries borders (and in the case of 9/11, I believe they were both inside and outside our borders) or the way backward thinking can destroy one of your own countrymen (as with the story of Alan Turning, the World War II code breaker in England) I have to wonder if we should all take some sort of version of the Hippocratic oath and promise one another to “do no harm.” Let’s face it, I may be disturbed by the fact that as a gay man I’m considered a second class citizen in the eyes of my own country’s laws that continually talks about equality for all men but at the same time, I guess I also need to be thankful that no one is castrating me, that the world has gotten a little smarter. And so as I read all the negative news and things that have happened I’m going to also stop for a moment today and try to renew my enthusiasm for life and the people in it. In spite of everything, I still believe…Don’t Get Me Started!
Read More Scott @ www.somelikeitscott.com