Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A few brief thoughts

It's late, so I'll keep it short. Others have covered the "remembrance" aspect of 9/11 far better than I hope to, and at far greater depth...thus, another path.

I remember the wonder as a child of going with my father to the airport to wave goodbye as he departed for, and returned from, his many business trips. He always brought Planters Peanuts for my brother and I from the flight on the trips home, and every visit to the airport was precious watching the miracle of those great big planes taking off and landing. For years, whenever I traveled, a bit of that wonder remained with me every time I flew or picked up friends at the airport.

I remember privacy, the aftermath of the freedom of speech movement (that miraculous time when it seemed one could say anything without fear of a federal agent turning up to chat), a time when our national pride was in resurgence.

I remember the day when it began to crumble, when out of fear and a need to appear to be doing something our leaders gladly passed the abomination of the Patriot Acts.

I miss flying and being met by friends and family at the gate. I miss not having to carry ID and the spontaneity of ticket counter sales. I miss the checks and balances of competing agency interests prior to the mutant stepchild of Homeland Security. I miss bookstores and libraries who didn't have to worry about getting "National Security Letters" to cough up your reading habits because someone needed to look busy.

I am a firm believer in "you break it, you bought it" - we clearly needed to have a little chat with Afghanistan after 9/11. I am less sure of the need for our chat with Iraq, beyond the eternal truth that it is better to squash the villains whilst they are small and have not yet precipitated multi-continental conflicts. I am sure, in both instances, we went in (necessarily or not, an argument for another day) and stomped some rather bad folk, and in the process busted up the allegorical bar.

Honor requires we pay the barkeep. We need to commit the troops and treasure to restore both nations to a condition where they are at least vaguely self-sufficient, and not terribly much worse off than prior to our arrival, sans a few missing villains who will likely be replaced by eager volunteers.

We lost lives on 9/11 in as big a peacetime tragedy as I believe we've seen in the U.S. - but then we got busy about it, and threw a lot of what makes life worth living as an American away. "May I see your papers please? Do you have a permit to chance your residence or travel?"

Thompson for President. Perhaps he can slow the slippery slide to perdition.

2 comments:

Queen of Dysfunction said...

I could never have said it better myself. You are truly a man after my own heart. Well, blog-speaking.

Lena said...

The world has changed vastly in just these past 10 years, and loss of the soul is difficulty to live with. Never before has travel faced such scrutiny.