Monday, September 14, 2009

What the hell, Erin?

The astute among you no doubt noticed that I failed to deliver my 9/11 memorial post. I was sick pretty much the entire weekend, and I consider it a miracle I was able to feed and wash myself.

So now that the day has passed, and I find myself at an uncomfortable decision: do I struggle to write an appropriate post after the fact, when I really don't have the energy to put myself through that kind of emotional wringer so soon after feeling so lousy? Or do I just admit that I missed my window and get on with my life?

This may not seem like a big deal to you, but it's important to me. I've been dragging my feet all day with this post, and I think that in itself is notable. My subconscious might as well be telling me, "You don't really want to write this post, now do you?"

And the answer is no, of course not. I don't like feeling angry, which is how I'll feel if I write about 9/11. But yet if I don't, I feel like I'm somehow not doing right by my country, or properly honoring those who died.

Patriotic ennui -- I has it.

And so do a lot of other Americans, I'm sure. There comes a point in everyone's life where it's just too fucking exhausting to be furious any more, no matter how righteous the indignation. Anger takes a lot out of a body.

It's been eight years now. If we liken 9/11 to Pearl Harbor, then we (or at least I) have been angry at Bin Laden for twice as long as 1940s America was furious with Imperial Japan, seeing as how, by August 1945, Japan had pretty effectively ceased to be an Empire.

Of course, many, many people continued to be angry at the Japanese themselves for quite a long time after that. It's not my place to judge how justified that anger may have been. What I do know is that both the Bible and psychologists say it's not healthy to hang on to anger after it's ceased to be productive.

And for me at least, 9/11 rage stopped being productive a long time ago. It hasn't spurred me onward to make changes in my life or seek justice for others. Mostly, it's an excuse to scream profanities at the television when things I don't like happen in the Middle East.

So today, with a simultaneous sense of failure and relief, I announce that It's okay to stop being angry about September 11, 2001.

If you're still angry about it, I won't judge you. We all grieve in our own way, and at our own rate. I was lucky that no one I know was killed that day; others were not so fortunate, and so must live with that loss for the rest of their lives. If they want to rage to the sky over this injustice for the rest of their lives, so be it and more power to them.

For the rest of us, though, I posit that maybe, just maybe, it's time to relax a bit. It doesn't make you any less of an American. It doesn't mean you suddenly think that what happened eight years ago is somehow forgivable, or that you don't want to see Bin Laden brought to justice. It just means that you're tired of being angry and want to move on to feeling more positive emotions.

If it helps, think of this way: We are temporarily benching our emotion for the next two years, so that when the 10 year anniversary arrives in 2011, we will be able to properly observe and honor the event as it deserves

It is my sincere hope that when that day comes, we will be able to celebrate by drinking a beer from our festive replica Bin Laden skull cups.

Too soon?


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