America, this tragedy can do this for us all, if we can pass through the stage of hate/rage. It can sensitize us, causing us to rethink some facts that may have seemed unimportant to us before. Sometimes our foreign policy can seem so "over there" that it doesn't seem that important. Often those issues are relegated to back pages of the paper, while domestic issues like "lotto winners" and "school bonds" take the front pages. We can lose touch with the far-reaching ramifications of US policy elsewhere. Such as the fact that the United States is the largest exporter of weapons in the entire world, and one of the only countries standing against the abolition of land mines, as well as now unilaterally violating the anti-ballistic missile treaty. This means that the odds are that when a bomb lands on people in the world, or a landmine blows off a child's arm -- it was made in the United States. Today we will be conducting massive investigations to find out where the weapons were made that enabled the hijackings to occur, and we will hold that source responsible. Other humans are no different.
Environmentally and economically, we Americans are only 5% of the world's population, yet we consume 25% of the earth's resources, with government programs subsidizing our fuel -- thereby enabling American's to be quite thoughtless and wasteful as we are the only industrial nation on earth increasing our carbon dioxide (greenhouse gas) output. When the global temperature continues to rise, and the world experiences higher costs for fuel, fuel shortages, and less resources because Americans are wastefully and thoughtlessly creating larger and larger fuel guzzling vehicles, and our government stands as the only government that refuses to sign the Kyoto Treaty to reduce fossil fuel consumption, the world sees the United States
in a different light than we may have seen ourselves. Because the "lotto winners" are on the front pages, these thoughts are buried.
When the earth's resources are increasingly plundered to satisfy the endless desire for consumer products in the U.S., those who are left with little or nothing because of a global multi-national corporate economy suffer. Remember that this global corporate economy is designed by the lawyers of those who the majority of poverty stricken world citizens will never meet or know, yet suffer everyday from their decisions and legal briefs.
The rage we feel today at our suffering and the suffering of our countrymen/women/children, and the fact that we do not know quite where to place the anger-- but only knowing that we rage against the injustice of it all -- is felt by people worldwide when a bomb or landmine takes the lives of their neighbors, their children, or when a world economy run by people beyond their control or awareness leaves their families scrapping and starving through no fault of their own.
You see, our own tragedy can now enable us to "feel" what desolate rage at a force we don't even really know or understand feels like. It can awaken us to be more cognizant of what our nation's policies are so that we do not allow our nation's policies to add to this suffering -- as human children we do not want to add to suffering anymore, the world has enough of it without contributing to it in anyway.
To make our government's policies healing, we must become vigilant to them, and be educated of their effects. As citizens of the world's most powerful nation, we have responsibilities. Consider this, if we attack a nation where the terrorists were supported, the innocent human "collateral damage" of our attack will be people who very likely only committed the crime of "not caring," being "ignorant of," or feeling "powerless to change" what their government was doing.
The world is at a crossroads. We can use this horrible event as a catalyst to see ourselves in the fragility and suffering of others worldwide, to steer our world down the road of compassion, creating a world we can ALL love living in. Or, we can use it as a reason to build yet more weapons, to militarize our nation and world more, and to callous our hearts and deafen our ears to the suffering of others worldwide. I found my life when I allowed tragedy to break my heart, rather than thicken it. I honor my son by opening my heart endlessly.
I pray America will find the miracle in this tragedy, and thereby honor those who have passed.
By William E. Douglas, Jr., who is author of "The Amateur Parent - A Book on Life, Death, War & Peace, and Everything Else in the Universe." Bill has been a guest columnist for the Kansas City Star, The Business Journal, and other media worldwide. His past essays include, "Exposing the 9/11 Conspiracy Wingnuts," "The Explosion of the 9-11 Truth Movement -- US Media's Dirty Little Secret," "Good Night, and Good Luck - WMD, NIST, Popular Mechanics, 9/11 and Media Crimes," "Living in the Land of Oz," and also "Why the Jewish Community Should Demand 9/11 Truth."
You may contact Mr. Douglas at firstname.lastname@example.org
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