Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The Day Is Ours

9/11 is a part of every American. 9/11 is both conservative and liberal. It belongs to us and also to Kerry, Nader, and Bush. 9/11 doesn’t belong to any one person, nor does the positive or negative feedback. 9/11 is America’s tragedy, thus belonging to the emotional psyche of us all. It does not belong to one leader or his administration. In every circumstance a leader rises. A leader brings us through the challenging confusion. One leader.

The leader happened to be President George W. Bush. Out of controversy he rose to the occasion, the leader, the winner in 2000, and the honorable president of this great nation. It could have been another man. It could have been a different outcome. It just so happened that the leaders most equipped to deal with the disaster that fateful day in September subscribed to the Republican party. But despite our leadership, 9/11 happened, and it isn’t going away. 9/11 will always define us, as did Pearl Harbor. 9/11 will forever be etched in our minds, as students, as parents, as politicians, as members of the free world under attack. It irritates me to no end that 9/11 is being commercialized and perceived as Bush’s war. As Bush’s greatest moment in office. As a personal endeavor that only Bush carried. We were all affected by 9/11. We each as a product of 9/11 question our homeland security. We take less for granted and appreciate so much more. We unite. Again, 9/11 is both conservative and liberal. We are one always, not just in the face of tragedy. Not just as our congressmen stand together on the steps of our nation's capitol, singing "God Bless America."

We each individually have our own story of what happened that day. A very personal memory. We can't be denied that. I remember for the first day in many years not watching CNN before school and hearing of the events at the bus stop. I remember watching the towers fall in my morning art class. I remember thinking about the end of the world for the very first time in my life. Listening to Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the U.S.A." changed my life that day. 9/11 is just as much mine and yours as it is those people at Madison Square Garden participating in the RNC.

This is not about 9/11. This isn't about the 2000 election or Kerry's war record. This is now about the issues. May we always remember 9/11 as a defining moment in American history, but never use it to win votes or sway voters. 9/11 isn’t the question this November. This November it is about our troops, our economy, education and the man we choose who will best lead us, who will be effective, and who will do the best job. And this isn’t about Michael Moore, despite the inclinations of Senator McCain. This is about the future.

Tonight as the prayers and silence fell over Madison Square Garden, I felt as if I had been deprived of something so essential to who I am. Though it isn’t a surprise to anyone, I am liberal. And I felt like the RNC claimed 9/11 for themselves. A conservative plight. A memory of their own, a tragedy of their own, a defeat, a horrific day, a conservative day. It wasn’t. 9/11 remains the worst attack of OUR history and it is exactly that OURS. Ours as Republicans, Independents, and Democrats.

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