Tuesday, December 11, 2001

.......I need to get ready for work, but I had a troubling conversation with a very good friend last night. Without going into details, it was rather upsetting to me, because, after the fact, I realized I did what I had feared I might do regarding the 9/11 attacks - seeing any related stories in that cynical, jaded, over-it point of view which we all seem to do after seemingly too much exposure to anything.

Here it was about a tax-break one of the victims wives was advocating, and while I still have trouble with the particulars of that plan, my comments were more about her, and we got into a whole, awful argument about deserving, nondeserving, comparison of pain and loss, etc. What troubles me is that I went in the direction of thinking of her as just another political animal, like the big airlines that were ready with their hands out only hours after the attacks. Clearly, that is wrong-headed on my part. And while we all make mistakes, and beating myself up doesn't necessarily do much good, what really bothers me are the implications of this. If only 3 months after the attacks, someone who lives right here in NYC, who pledged to be "better" and "different" and more caring and all that crap, can't sustain that feeling, what is happening in the rest of the country, the world?

And I think that the way we express ourselves is very important, that we need to make distinctions between differences of opinions on ideas, and getting personal and second-guessing agendas and motivations. While I still feel it's reasonable to scream and name-call Saudi Arabia, American Airlines, this current government and the past few administrations, baggage-check companies, etc etc etc - that's a no-brainer - these folks didn't do what they should have done BEFORE these attacks, and in some way (and we can argue how much, but certainly there is blame here) their deriliction of duty made it easier for the "evil ones" to stage, and succeed, in this attack. And some of the victims are being used by these folks, and others, for their own agendas (i.e estate tax breaks up to $8.5 million seems excessive, but you know which political party wants to open the door here, and then expand it..), but we (I) need to be careful about name-calling the folks who took an unbearable loss, and are struggling with how to go on, how to "give meaning" to this, or honor thier loved ones, etc. It's easy to see a middle/ upper-middle class woman hobnob with Senators trying to get a tax break and then sneer, but how do we know that her intentions aren't more than self-aimed, that she may be aware of the inequities, and sees that while people ARE still paying attention, she needs to be out their, advocating for something that may well help others like her who can't be out there, or god-forbid, future victims of this "war" that takes only a few military casualties, and thousands of civilian ones.