I stumbled upon something I wrote on September, 11th 2006. This was the fifth anniversary of 9/11 and CNN's Pipeline was re-airing their coverage from that day in real time. A short essay poured out of me literally as I watched hours of the coverage.
The events on the day I wrote the following words, took place just before the 2006 elections. In taking back the House and the Senate, we laid the groundwork to create real change. With a progressive President in the Whitehouse, we can truly move the country and the world in a better direction. This essay expresses concerns that continue in my mind as I watch the ’08 election ensue. I have not edited it.
The frustration I feel watching CNN’s coverage of 9/11 is unmentionable. I listen to reporters and witnesses trying to understand the events as they happen. We were so unaware of what was going on, yet, as little as we knew, everyone was sure whatever effects there were would endure beyond that day. We knew our lives had changed, and we knew it instantly. How I wish we could return to our bubble. A time when we felt safe. Safe, not just from enemies. A time when domestic spying was a memory of the Cold War, civil rights, and the anti-war movements. A time when anti-war movements themselves were aged stories told by baby-boomer parents. A time when metal detectors in airports were not coupled with machine guns. A time when the numbers nine and eleven reminded us more often of our police and not our greatest insecurity.
Less than thirty minutes after the second plane, CNN first states that it might be an act of "terrorism." That term would never have the same meaning. What was once considered an act of a weak and desperate person is now considered the intricate organization of a popular and well-financed movement. It is a "brave new world" for America. We fight an enemy for that which it hates about us; freedom. Our enemy uses our strengths against us. We are big and in clear view, so they stay small and hidden. They blend into our communities, enjoying the freedom we provide. Our education is superior, so they go to our schools and learn to walk and talk like us. In doing so, they attack what we love. They provoke us into letting go of freedom. The attacks of "Aftermath-9-11" (as I call it) are their bombs. Spying, secret prisons, prisoners with no charges, the Patriot Act, presidential powers, classified information, government lying, war.
Five years, and I do not feel safe. Five years, and still no "UBL." Now they try to tell us it would not do much if they caught him. I try to imagine what would have happened had President Bush told us that in his first speech after 9/11, when he wowed the country. ‘We don’t really need to get him.’ He never would have, because he knows it is not true. The stated goal of National Security Strategy is to decrease Al-Qaeda’s connectedness and capabilities. Removing the head would cause chaos and power struggling throughout the entire network. Five years later, and no subsequent attack on US soil. Five years later, and an administration with repeated failing grades from the 9/11 Commission boasts and brags of success. Five years later, and there is no hard evidence that current safety standards would have prevented 9/11. Five years later, and American’s die daily at the hands of a vastly expanded Al-Qaeda. Five years later, and it is time for a change.
This letter is in itself a petition, rather a calling demand. Our war on terror requires revisiting from a blank slate. It is corrupt and serves priorities in which the protection of freedom is not the highest. For it is that sole mission, in of itself, that will keep us safe. If we are to trust people to our safety, why not your neighbor? Five years later, and we remember. We remember that one plane failed to reach its target on that day. And it failed, because free citizens decided that their nation’s last and greatest defense is us. The big "U," "S," that has not only protected and blindly served our interest since our birth, but is the sole party responsible for our Constitution. Today we thank those proved to the world; Americans would gladly die before being part of the destruction of freedom. Five years later, we pledge to never cease in the struggle for freedom.