Thoughts on the Anniversary of 9.11
12 September 2002

Well, I'm starting to feel almost human today. What follows are many, rambling, incoherent thoughts.

Yesterday was an emotional roller coaster. The media was full of crass idiocy, as the media often is on anniversaries of major events, and normally I take it and dismiss it, but the emotions for this particular anniversary were too raw.

Since I spent 11 September 2001 sitting alone in my apartment feeling helpless, that was the last thing I wanted to do one year later, so I left the apartment early. I took Gordon Bear with me (those of you who were at Con José will remember him as the teddy bear that rode in Terri's backpack for much of the con). Sometimes you just need a teddy bear.

The streets were emptier than usual (big surprise). There also seemed to be a lot of active construction going on -- more even than usual in this constantly-being-rebuilt city. I'm guessing that, too, was deliberate.

There were too many flags and ribbons. I'm sick unto death of flags and ribbons.

One year ago, New Yorkers came together in a time of crisis and showed what the people of this country are capable of, while the not-so-duly elected leader was nowhere to be seen. He gave a good speech eventually, of course, and then proceeded to piss it all away. Osama bin Laden has gone from Public Enemy #1 whose capture and/or death was our primary goal to a low priority. We're perfectly happy to bomb the shit out of Afghanistan but not actually do anything to help the Afghani people. Civil liberties are being curtailed in the name of security. We're bombing Iraq for no compellingly good reason (yeah, Saddam Hussein's dangerous -- that's been true for ages, why is it so imperative to stop him now?), and I'm willing to bet real money that it has about as much long-term impact as Bush-the-Elder's war on Iraq did ten years ago.

And isn't it fascinating that the oh-so-nebulous War on Terror keeps getting ramped up and/or we get a new security threat every time new news breaks about corporate scandals?

Despite all that, I actually feel better today than I have in a while. Maybe it's because I've been more of an emotional wreck this last week than I even was a year ago. Maybe it's because I spent the day with good friends and doing work. Maybe it's because I spent the evening with the love of my life and two goofy cats. Maybe it's just because I lived through the day again. Maybe it's because the Yankees won in dramatic fashion in the 11th inning on a base hit by Nick Johnson, one of my favorite players on the team.

Of course, I couldn't watch the game thanks to ESPN being blacked out in local markets. I won't go into just how despicable that is generally, magnified by the day, but instead I watched TNN's Star Trek: The Next Generation marathon. With no fanfare, TNN did a nice batch of episodes that dealt with people overcoming tragedy and/or adversity: "The Survivors," where an alien race wiped out an entire colony, except, apparently, for two elderly humans; "Loud as a Whisper," when a deaf mediator loses his interpreters and finds himself helpless to do his job; "The Measure of a Man," when Data is declared Starfleet property and his rights must be defended; and "Family," when Picard tries to recover from his horrid experiences with the Borg.

It was fitting.

On the N train I took up from the Flatiron Building to Rockefeller Center yesterday, the conductor said at 34th Street, after saying all the transfer points, "Enjoy New York and have a good day." Yesterday, I sorta kinda did that.

[First posted on sff.people.krad at on 12 September 2002.]


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