"We have to sit through the video again."
This will be the 8th time he has had to. He has never lived in a world that he can remember, let alone been in school before 9/11. He was 2 when it happened.
"Is it the same one every year, Jake?"
"I think so. I'm not sure if they'll show a different one or not now that we're older. I was already warned by the other kids, that the teacher's aide cries her eyes out the entire time."
My 13 year old and I talked for a while about it. He was full of dread.
"I would suggest not being confrontational if she's that emotional about it. She may have lost someone dear to her."
"Mom, we all know all about it. Why the hell can't we just have a moment of silence or something, instead of watching them fall over and over and over and over?"
But as we talked more, it wasn't just seeing the towers get hit that bothered him. He said it was the RESULT of seeing it on his classmates. The frenzy they ended up in. The tears, the anger, the absolute hatred.
They get all worked up he said, "flag-wavey" and start talking about kicking asses. Hating Arabs. Kicking al-qaeda's ass. Whispering "fuck Bin Laden" quietly enough that the teacher can't hear, and sometimes loudly enough that the teachers can. And no one stops them.
He says it works them up into undiluted hatred. And USA-is-perfect-ism. I told him that is called hyper-nationalism.
All across America - or I should say the US - another point in case of our exceptionalism, the America's are continents, why should we claim ownership of that word? All across the United States, every classroom K-12 will be filled with children being indoctrinated the very same way, being induced to hyper-nationalism, having this horror-porn being shoved into their brains, to a backdrop of flag waving, and "Patriotism" and being emotionally manipulated to tribalistic hatred.
Last year, after the show, their assignment was to write a short speech and give it in front of the class. "What is different because of 9/11 to You."
My kid was the ONLY one that got up and spoke of our Freedom being taken from us for crimes we did not commit. He talked about spying. He talked about surveillance. He talked about airport searches. It actually resonated with a lot of kids in the class.
He then said that millions of people were being killed all over the planet that had nothing to do with it either. There were a few outbursts against him then. "They're all bad guys!" "They hate us!" But Jake went on, and explained it was mostly Saudi criminals who did it, and that they should have been tried - and that everyone now knows Iraq had nothing to do with it. He said "We bombed schools full of kids like us, for something they had nothing to do with. How would you feel, your family feel if someone did that to us?"
He got an A, and his 7th grade teacher told him he was very perceptive. He got really lucky that time. I'm actually surprised he didn't get his ass kicked later by bullies. But 7th grader boys have short attention spans, and really don't give a shit about Politics.
Year after year. There are 55 million children enrolled in K-12 in the US, and they are all being emotionally whipped up every year to hyper-nationalism and to hate the Middle East without question.
Could Goebbel be any more proud, as my friend MA Kerryblue suggested?
In comparison to the millions of people we have killed in "retaliation" (which is a lie) our 9/11 is nothing. I'm sorry. It is.
It was tragic, yes. Our lives are not any more sacred than any other lives.
My son feels bad about the lives lost in the Towers that day, but he also feels bad for Iraqis, Pakistanis, Afghanis and Yemenese that are being drone bombed and gunned down in our name as a result of 9/11 and the Military Industrial Complex having used it to try and take over the World for our 1%.
He GETS that he is being emotionally manipulated, and brought it up without prompting from his own observations.
It is NOT disrespect to the dead to not to want to kill the innocent or create hate in their name.
My 13 year old figured this out. Please, stop the emotional manipulation.
If a Nobel Prize can be for promoting Peace, what we are doing is worthy of Goebbel's Prize for promoting War.
Teach your children better than this!