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As the United States commemorates, and memorializes, the eighteenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks on U.S. soil, I am compelled, as are many, to revisit that place and time. I was a single parent of a (then) toddler whom was seated in her high-chair eating breakfast. It was early in the morning here on the West Coast; any single parent can tell you that the day starts before dawn.
In the living room was a large (large for that time) 40" television set. Confident that my child was secure in her high-chair and content at least for a few moments, I ran upstairs to grab a tie. When you are a single parent of a young child you rapidly learn to maximize such interludes. With cat-like quickness, I grabbed the tie, put it on, started the knot and headed downstairs. CNN was my drug of choice in the morning; although it makes me bilious now.
Midway down the stairs, the living room and, thusly, the television came into view. I was moving so quickly it was, literally, a fraction of a second before I hit the bottom landing. Instinctively, I looked over at my child and she was transfixed by the television. She, like her father, does not care much for television; even then it was not on more than a couple of hours a day and may not come on for several days. Therefore, I knew that it must have been interesting, so I turned to the television and there was Aaron Brown. This all took place in mere seconds, but when I look back on it, in my mind's eye, it was slow motion, surreal. I kept staring at both the television and my child. It was akin to what one's head and eyes do when watching a tennis match. Brown was reporting that a jet had hit the first tower, which was behind him in the shot. No sooner than I started to digest this, the other tower was hit. Aaron did not realize it because he was facing the camera and the towers were behind him.
In a speak that only can be executed by a toddler, my baby girl kept saying: "Daddy, what happen to da bewding?"
My phone went berserk. Two calls that were most notable for me was one from an attorney I knew and know. Upon my answering, she exclaimed: "Oh my god! Do you see this? What is happening!" She, then, started to cry. I was startled at her emotion for reasons that will become quite apparent momentarily. The other notable call was from my estranged mother, an expert in melodrama, panic and overall chaos. As was with the attorney, I was startled at her unbridled emotion; particularly with both women being black. In either case, in all cases, my response was a very matter-of-fact, monotone: "I wonder what took so long". I was neither joyous nor mortified; and certainly not surprised. In fact, I was most concerned with the impact on my toddler; wishing she had not seen that.
And so it went.
The U.S. public will be bombarded by a litany of programs, through whatever medium, and "specials". There will be the perfunctory "what have we learned in the 18 years since 9/11" genre (apparently the United States has learned nothing, but that is another article). And, my personal favorite, "9/11 A Day That Changed the World" or some such variation on a theme. That statement, how "9/11 has changed the world" was repeated over and over exponentially by every "patriot", politician, policeman, pundit, and punk in America (excuse my redundancy in terminology).
2,996 people lost their lives on 9/11, including the alleged hijackers. The mug shots of the hijackers show that they were all men "of color" (Melanicmen). Since that time, the United States has murdered hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of men, women and children in its vengeance for 9/11. With bullets, bombs, missiles and drones; all of them Melanic people. It has tortured and humiliated countless numbers of people. When will the United States bloodlust be satiated? How many deaths will be sufficient compensation?
In the aftermath of 9/11, all "first responders" became "heroes". After all, they are "keeping us safe". Unless you are twelve year old Tamir Rice, or anyone that looks like him, a Melanicperson. In fact, virtually every individual in a uniform is now a hero, even if it is a Starbuck's uniform. The "flag" became a symbol of unadulterated racism, white supremacy (that's why police love it) and was co-opted by the right wing. Although, in all fairness, that flag has symbolized white supremacy and racism to a lot of us for centuries.
9/11 "changed the world forever" a breathtaking revelation. The world is constantly changing. I mean, do you look, today, like you did when you were an eight year old? Does that tree your dad planted in the back yard when you were eight look the same today as it did then? Still got that rotary dial phone? Yet, the more things change, the more they stay the same. The "War on Terror" has, long ago, extended itself to domestication.
If You See Something, Say Something: Taking America Back!
For almost two decades, the United States has launched a campaign that amounts to a quasi-formal policy called "If you see something, say something". In light of "terror" attacks ("terror" attack meaning any violent act alleged to be committed by a non-white person that is Muslim), this campaign/mantra has become more and more prevalent. Coincidently, if not correspondingly, both political parties and their respective presidential candidates have repeatedly vowed to "take America back", or make it "great again" which explicitly infers going "back" to something.
Back to what?"