The fear of vulnerability sat heavy in the pit of my stomach six years ago when I, along with the rest of my high school, watched the World Trade Center towers fall as it was broadcast live on the cafeteria television.
My bubble of fantasized security burst as the towers fell, and the only truth I could take away was the enormity of the lies of the world.
But if fear is a marketable commodity, then Sept. 11 is the mother of all cash cows.
We honor those who died by allowing their memories to be exploited in cheaply made, inaccurate and sensationalized movies, referenced in Top 40 songs and abused as a campaign buzzword.
If I wasn’t so desensitized to the tiny sting in my stomach any reference to Sept. 11 used to elicit, I would be horrified and disgusted beyond belief at how many of our elected leaders attempt to attach themselves as closely as they can to this tragedy.
Though President George Bush swore to never use Sept. 11 to further his political career in 2002, his re-election ads, which ran on national television for three week in 2004, showed nothing but still images of ground zero.
The real heroes of 9/11, the emergency responders of New York City, don’t want former Mayor Rudy Giuliani at this year’s memorial observance because it is nothing more than a campaign stop in his bid to become the 2008 republican presidential candidate.
“Sept. 11” should never be the punch-line of a joke on the “Family Guy,” but we let it happen.
We were so anxious to regain some semblance of supremacy and normalcy after that day that we resigned everything that gives the voice of the American people its power to the very people we were charged with protecting it from.
And sure, I’m back to my normal life. I can buy my music on iTunes, head to the mall to waste money on things I don’t need and I’m a good little American because I am so concerned with myself that I can’t be bothered with global affairs.
Thank you Mr. Giuliani, for suggesting that Americans shop and go to baseball games to show the terrorists that this country unites in the face of catastrophe.
But is this what we’ve been reduced to: shopping like nothing ever happened, while our leaders run unchecked because they know any reference to Sept. 11 excites our fear and exacts our unflinching obedience?
I think we all would like to get back to the days before Sept. 11, or at least fool ourselves into believing that it was all just a bad dream or a poorly-made movie, but it is that collective ignorance that has led to the dangerous state of world affairs we find ourselves in today.
We turned over our dignity to our leaders for safety, but the man who claimed responsibility for Sept. 11 has yet to be caught, and our actions in the Middle East have swelled anti-American sentiment throughout the world to a level never dreamed of before 2001.
Does anyone even remember that Iran, which we are now facing almost-imminent war with, held an unprecedented moment of silence in Tehran’s soccer stadium following Sept. 11, and the attacks were strongly condemned by the “terrorist organization” Hamas?
So no, it is not our responsibility to shop in solidarity but to act as the American citizens we were meant to be, and work to change our country and the world for the better because there are more than 3,000 Americans who no longer have that privilege and duty.