SEPTEMBER ELEVENTH TWO THOUSAND TWELVE
You know many good people lost their lives on September 11, 2001. I think it is important for us to be forever reverent in our remembrance of them. For some, they literally gave their lives. They very consciously sacrificed their lives trying to save others. That's not to discount those who were instantly killed or who died desperately trying to survive the impossible.
I have visited New York twice since that fateful day. I was impressed both times by the emotion in New Yorkers' voices and faces when they talk about that day. They are truly a changed people because of the event. I think they are a gentler people.
So what I have to say in my blog are all reflections. Some may call it playing Monday morning quarterback. But I think when it comes to events like September 11, we all need to play Monday Morning quarterback. Perhaps it is our duty and responsibility.
WHAT WILL IT TAKE FOR US TO BECOME HUMBLE?
Is it still difficult for you to comprehend that a relatively small band, and a not particularly fearsome band of terrorist, were able to reek so much havoc on our country in literally four fell swoops, three successful and one failure?
It certainly is for me. In fact, it is inexplicable, and I have always wanted answers. How were they so successful? I mean, come on, how many banditos were there all together? Certainly not that many, and obviously one plane load of passengers considered it worth their while to take them on.
AND, how did they float so easily through security at the airports? Even back then, as I remember airport security, it was not a lick and a promise. I remember in 1996, when boarding a plane in San Francisco, having to warn a friend that this was no joking matter and not to mess around.
So what happened that fateful September 11?
Well, I googled the question, and it seems that many of the terrorists actually set off alarms, but were subsequently allowed to proceed. Explanation: In those days, whatever it was they were carrying was not considered a serious weapon. So hopefully we have learned. It nevertheless gives me the absolute jitters to know that these guys were actually stopped because of the "weapons" they were carrying, but allowed to continue on to the boarding area. It's just inexplicable.
ARE WE NAIVE?
This was not the first attempt on the World Trade Center. Were we naive in thinking they would not try again? I know, it is definitely Monday morning quarterbacking. But we've got to be asking these questions for the future.
Likewise, will they attempt to breach airport security again? YES. Will we be more thoughtful the next time? Hopefully.
I mean I unknowningly went through the metal detector with a penny stuck to the bottom of my foot some years after September 11, and I thought the screener was going to kill me. The penny was tucked right inside my arch and held in place by my sock. I was never aware that it was there. Must have "picked it up" somehow when I was walking around the bedroom barefoot that morning. I don't know. It was truly weird, and very embarrassing. The screener was so angry that he took the penny and threw it as far as he could throw it across the screening area.
I hope that kind of tight security represents our airports across the country and around the world.
HOW DID WE BECOME TARGETED IN THE FIRST PLACE?
As long as we focus on September 11 as an act of extreme Muslim terrorism, then it is THEM against US, and we don't have to take any responsibility for setting ourselves up to be attacked. Yes, you read correctly. We both taunt terrorists and invite terrorists.
I know this must fly in the face of patriotism for many of you, but we need to practice patriotism in a way that is different from the terrorists! Otherwise, we are ALL terrorists representing different ideologies and hell-bent on our ideology coming out on top, being winners, and everyone else being losers. And since all patriotic folks, terrorists included, tend to see God on their side, patriotic folks tend to justify every and anything they do.
I want to propose to you that, as a nation, we tend to be narcissistic. Narcissistic folks see themselves as perfect, as all powerful, untouchable, and having the right to do whatever they damned well please no matter what feedback they get from the community at large. For a more in-depth discussion of Narcissism as it applies here, check out Narcissism Meets Terrorism.
In that discussion about narcissism and terrorism, it points out that narcissists are not full of themselves as we typically think, but rather EMPTY on the inside and are consequently driven to make sure other people are reflecting back or mirroring for them just how great and how wonderful and how invincible they are. Really? Yes, really!
And, when people or the environment fail them, they become enraged and will do whatever it takes to destroy the people, places, and things that are not good mirrors. It's a sad character disorder to be plagued with. Sad that our country is plagued with this character disorder as a nation.
One remedy to our narcissism is humility. I did not say weakness. I am not suggesting we become isolationist. I am simply suggesting we become humble, and perhaps much quieter in the world community. In martial arts, there is a wonderful principle for us to learn. The most powerful power is unused power, and you could further translate that into unspoken power or silent power.
Some of you will insist that the spread of democracy and freedom rests on our shoulders. If that is true, it is a sad state of affairs and says nothing about the capabilities of ALL the other democratic countries, and again simply makes us out to be narcissists. Democracy and freedom for the world cannot rest on our shoulders. We just are not that great to carry such a burden nor is any other country.
As citizens, we can begin practicing humility by studying our history and learning all the dirty secrets about our country, so we stop living under the illusion that we are this great country which we are, but simultaneously are not. For example, has it ever crossed your mind that perhaps the only war this country has ever won was the Revolutionary war? Think about it.
Do you know, for example, and do you even care, why Japan attacked Pearl Harbor? Google the question and begin learning the oily details. Yes, the quest for oil has plagued all countries, including our own, for way too long.
So the question is, why do we feel empty inside our national soul? Why are we unwise enough to continue to respond with vengeance as if vengeance is necessary? Vengeance and misguided motivation to go to war, to sacrifice our children to the gods of war, has costs us dearly from the very beginning. We like to think, "Well, it is the price of freedom." I would like us to begin thinking. Yes thinking. Is it the price of freedom or is it the price of narcissism? Is it the price of being compelled to think we are untouchable and fooling ourselves into thinking we are untouchable?
It is humbling for us to admit, but every war we have fought, besides the Revolutionary War, has been a Pyrrhic victory. I mean, come on, we did not stop Hitler. He managed to wipe out six million Jews. I think when we can be humble enough to admit that since 1776, freedom is not what has driven us into war, but rather Narcissism, then we might begin to become the world power that we can be and hopefully will be.
Our government may never have the humility to be humble. So it is up to us as citizens as it should be. So, KNOW OUR HISTORY. Know the facts. Know why we have gone to war. Know the price, the costs, we have paid and continue to pay.
There is a "wonderful" line at the end of the movie, Witness. John Book emotionally bellows at his boss, "IT'S OVER, ENOUGH! ENOUGH!
Those words can be ours, and we can begin to support our country as a whole to shift gears, and to stop attracting terrorists' attacks on our soil.
THANKS FOR READING, THANKS FOR THINKING ABOUT IT, AND THANKS FOR COMMENTING.