Links for 9/11
There are a lot of good 9/11-related posts in the J-blogosphere, with something to learn from each. Here's a brief thought of my own, based on last of the seven "Divine Queries" I asked in my recent post by that name:
What would you ask God if you could ask for one communal wish? Unity without uniformity. That is, not to change who we are, but to change how we relate to one another...It occurred to me that this approach is needed not just for our fractious and fragmented Jewish community, but for our troubled nation as well. One of the main reasons we've had so much trouble properly fighting the war that was declared on us five years ago today, is that we've been unable to articulate, in a consensus-building manner, what and who we are at war with. The very first thing our leaders - from both sides of the party divide - should have done after this attack is to define, and then jointly declare, our foe's identity, in terms that the vast majority of Americans, with all our diverse views and beliefs, could agree on. Labeling the enemy as simply "Al-Qaeda" was their first mistake. It was factually correct, but far too narrow and, ultimately, obfuscating.
So what is this magical rallying definition? Behind the many names that politicians and pundits have created - Islamo-fascists, Islamicists, Islamic terrorists, etc. - is one basic concept: These are people who hate not just our army or our president or our allies. They hate what we stand for as a country. They hate the fundamental principles on which our nation is based: freedom of religion, fair trials, gender equality (well, at least for the last couple of generations!), diversity. Choice. If the leadership of both major parties - and every political nuance in-between - would just be able to get together on emphasizing this core point, I think as a people we could stop wasting our time with in-fighting, and join forces against those who long for our destruction... before it's too late.
There have been two big impediments to such a nationwide consensus. One is self-serving politics, of which both parties are as guilty as ever. But the other is the ridiculous and twisted hypocrisy of those self-hating Americans - not least of whose perversions has been of the once-honorable designation "Liberal" - who support our enemies' cause just because they are our enemies, without giving any thought to how that support compromises their very own values. It never ceases to amaze and disgust me, that the very ideological groups who champion women's and minority rights with the greatest fervor, somehow see no contradiction in lining up behind people who treat women like slaves and who persecute anyone whose religion differs from theirs. It's just surreal - but also sad, and extremely frightening.
So my hope for this somber anniversary is that we Americans find it within ourselves to remember not just the lost, but also the evil values that they were killed for. And I fervently pray - though I often fear otherwise - that it doesn't take yet another mass atrocity like the 9/11 attacks to bring us together again. Not just for an day or a week, but - as the saying went during our last serious war - for the duration.