Saturday, September 12, 2009

9/11 and frustration with mammals of the human variety

Global warming, my ass!! September 11 2009 was a drizzly dreary wet rag that soaked me down to my socks. I almost thought I was back in Oregon. Blech! It was nothing like the crystal clear blue terrorist skies of 2001.

This sounds hideously selfish to say, but that was an incredible day to be in New York City. It can never happen again like that. People just went about their business. I was making breakfast in the Lower East Side when I heard the first *CRASH*. It was so loud, I looked out my window and saw nothing but....clear blue skies. So between the time I hear that crash and the time the first tower fell let me tell you all I did: it was voting day, I went and voted. I saw the tower on fire and I went to the roof of my building and I took photos. I got ready for work and got on the subway. It was running! Then I got out of the subway, and the first one fell. Humans are so funny, aren't they? Just going about their inertia when everything is changing.

People around the world watching tv knew more than we did here. It was like we were trapped animals, on this island, not knowing where to go...was central park the next target? Times Square? Cell phones were not working and the spirit of solidarity was truly heartening. But within a couple of days the flags sprouted. Star spangled banners blooming out of fire escapes, over streets, in windows. I'm not the only one who was creeped out by their presence, as if they were presaging some new sort of fascist evil. Something like, I don't know...the IRAQ war?...that soon the rest of this country (it was not NYC!) would frightfully be sold. I hope for and await the day we can feel that same sort of solidarity, and wave a flag of humanity. A time when there are no nations, when there is no comprehension of a thing such as RACE. A day without religion.

I am so disillusioned with homo sapiens today! How absolutely insane is the Republican party? How do you spell WHITE PANIC?! And classless! Joe ("You Lie!") Wilson? I love the Huff Post headline "A Muzzle for Old Yeller". Now he's raised over $750,000 and is being hailed as a "hero" by his party for...heckling? I'm surprised he didn't jump up and bite Obama's finger off, like his fellow crackers do in those special-interest sponsored health care Town Hall meetings. What is so mortally wrong with another health care OPTION? So concerned about illegal aliens, Joe? Wasn't it this racist who also wanted to fly the Confederate flag in South Carolina? In 2009? Did you know that in Arizona, during the worst economic depression since the 1930's, legislators are right this very minute spending time and tax money on trying to pass a law that will allow you to bring your guns into...bars? Oh yeah, humans! Smart! Who else can't wait for our species to splinter off and for evolution to favor another, better, species? A species that creates and exists in a world where the pen actually IS mightier than the sword?

On the 8th anniversary, yesterday, I somehow received a pamphlet from a guy in the street about the 9/11 conspiracy. This made me laugh, and although I've never considered myself liberal enough to buy into any of it....was it an inside job? I don't know! Even then, on that very day, I thought it strangely odd that our military couldn't rustle up a single fighter jet into action to stop that second plane. We have the best military in the world? Ha! How long was it between the first and second strike? Okay, and where is video evidence of the Pentagon hit? Why did the towers both fall to the ground, like they detonated?

And more importantly, what are we doing in Afghanistan? Do we have some kind of actual goal there? Because if that's the case, where's next? Iran? North Korea? Indonesia? I seem to recall Obama ("You lie!") campaigning on a promise of CHANGE? So now he's escalating the troops? Osama Bin Laden (it wasn't Saddam?) once said he'd drag our military around the world and weaken us to the point of vulnerable and does anyone else see that's exactly what's happening?

Friends took me to the Moth Story Slam at Cooper Union two nights ago. Cooper Union has had so many famous speakers, and its only blocks from my house and I'm sorry to report it was only my first visit! The Moth is an organization that puts on excellent storytelling sessions. I've been to some before, here in the Lower East Side, and random people get up and tell a story based on the theme for that night. Who knew it would grow so big? The moth had their season opener at Cooper Union and its no longer just anonymous anybodies who are speaking! The theme was "Broken: Stories of Disobedience" which of course is right up my alley.

The performers? Lt. Daniel Choi. He is an Arab linguist who served in Iraq, and now discharged under Obama's (I vote for change! Yes we can't!) "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. He told a story about how "love was worth it" and how he learned at West Point that the number one rule in the honor code was "Don't Lie" and that he upheld it. He had appeared and outed himself on Rachel Maddow's show earlier this year and Lt. Choi seemed strangely proud of his service in Iraq, which kind of makes me want to direct him back to Rachel Maddow's show, and the episode where she hands Tom Ridge his ass on a platter with regards to our engagement in Iraq. The "democratic govt" and "end of conflict" that Ridge and our government now speaks of since our occupation of that once sovereign nation must be a bitter pill to swallow for gays there who (if they are still alive) are now more than ever being targeted and brutally murdered by Iraqi kill-squads. And you thought it was only women in Islam who were forced to conform to gender roles!

Also at the slam was Philip Caputo, a journalist who served in Vietnam. He told a poignant story about human compassion that he learned after being shot in the Lebanese conflict (the 70's one, not the current or future conflict). Then there was Dr. Terrence Roberts, one of the "Little Rock 9" schoolchildren who bravely integrated the Arkansas school system in the 1950's. Holy hell, this man is still alive! Translation: it wasn't so long ago! Black people couldn't go to school with white people!!! All of this took place in the very same Great Hall where Abraham Lincoln gave his historic anti-slavery speech. The one where he uttered the words: "Let us have faith that right makes might."

Today, a century and a half later, who can't help but wish: IF ONLY!


Don said...

KUDOS Jesse. So well written and one can see your soul behind the words. Thanks from all of us. Things just seem to get more crazy all the time.


Tony said...

Hey Jesse -

Loved your hearfelt post. Maybe all we can do is believe in love, justice and peace, and do our best to live our own lives accordingly.

youyong28 said...

Hi Jesse,
I don't understand this Conservative philosophy of "pulling yourself up by your bootstraps". What's wrong with Socialist medicine? What's wrong with ensuring that all people have access to adequate health care? So what if a person is undocumented? Is his or her suffering any less painful? I for one wouldn't mind paying more in taxes if I knew that everyone could have adequate medical treatment.
I'm not happy with the pace that the Obama administration is moving to bring equality to us gay Americans. However, politics is a strange business, so I'm willing to wait and see a little longer.