On this day I'm constantly reminded of the worst of this giant, amazing country I live in. The best example of the worst that I can give is this essay published on the inside back cover of the Time Magazine special issue on the attacks of 9/11. Part of me doesn't want anyone to read it. Part of me wants everyone to forget how horrible we really became immediately after that day. But another part of me has had the slogan 'Never Forget" so thoroughly scarred into my psyche that I have to bring this up. And I know people don't want this brought up, because most of you reading this likely agreed with the sentiment expressed in the linked essay.
And if I'm honest, I half agree. I agree with rage. There's no way I can be honest with myself and not agree with rage. Not just because it's something that we all feel at some point, but because it's something that I feel a lot. Like way too much. I look at where this country is at and I can't help but feel rage. I look at the future, at the coming climate holocaust, and my only choice other than rage is despair, and I will not give in to despair.
At the same time I fully reject retribution. Retribution has done exactly nothing for the world. Retribution is the exact opposite of justice. I kind of hate to do it because it always comes off as a bit hokey, but I'll quote Gandhi: "An eye for an eye leaves the world blind." And it's true. If we repay every slight in kind then we're doomed to a world of violence. And I don't want that world.
Unfortunately, we're still in that spiral of violence. We're still killing people in Afghanistan. Many of whom weren't even alive when the US was attacked. But we have to "be strong." We have to show them the business, even if it means the destruction of our country. The question then is what the alternative is. Sure, it's easy to say we shouldn't do what we're doing, but supposedly it's harder to offer an alternative.
But it isn't. It really isn't. The alternative is incredibly simple. The alternative is to help instead of hurt. The alternative would have been to go into Afghanistan and build schools and build alternative energy and spend all the money we spent on killing them on helping them instead. And sure, there would have been Americans that died in the process. And there would have been Afghans that died in the process. But they would have died for something other than hate. They would have died for cooperation. They would have died to make the world a better place. They would have died for non-violence.
And while I hate to bring this up I have to. I see so many people here who unconditionally condemn people at protests who break windows, and yet they support drone attacks. And let me be clear that I'm not making a blanket statement, there are definitely people who condemn both. But there are far too many that talk about the black bloc boogey man and then not too long after talk about how we have to kill people with drones.
So, let me say it again. I don't want retribution. I want justice. I want a fair world. And I know that's stupidly idealistically of me, but the second I give up my idealism is the second that I give up completely. What I want is a world where I can go to Afghanistan and not have any American troops or mercenaries there. Where I can go to Afghanistan and talk to the people there without them telling me that the protesters in the US who are "just" breaking windows aren't doing enough.
What I want is a world with rage and without retribution. And I know that's idealistic, but I still have hope.