I’ve taken to writing this blog first thing in the morning.
It’s something I really enjoy doing. It’s a bit cathartic. I also love writing on my own blog (as apposed to other places I write) because I can write about whatever the hell I want to write about.
It’s a pleasant experience.
It’s not lost on me that it’s 9/11. I can’t remember how many years ago the attack was. The brand is “9/11″. 11 years? I’m not sure.
I thought about ignoring the day altogether. In my mind I’m in the midst of picking on secondary education and how they are an outdated structure for the post-industrial era.
I’m also in Chicago staying at the Hi Chicago Hostel for the International Manufacturing Technology Show. Hostels in America are fun. Americans don’t come to them. It’s just Europeans and Asians. There is endless content in that observation. Americans falling behind in a global culture. Other cultures being strange and quirky from my perspective (Why does the otherwise very respectable Asian guy sitting next to me have a 6 inch long piece of white string caught in his hair? I want to go over and take it out so bad.)
But I want to write about 9/11.
I like 9/11 (Don’t misunderstand the word “like” as something I wanted to happen.) because of how it is a moment in time that the entire globe remembers. And I, as an American, own it. It’s my tragedy.
It’s like going to church. It’s a connection the extends back in time with millions of people. It’s an underlying resonance within us. I’d rather be in New York today. But being in Chicago is OK too. Being in an American big city on 9/11 makes the connection feel deeper.
I also like how 9/11 changes in my perspective over time.
I was going to get a 9/11 tattoo. I started having panic attacks driving on the highway or across bridges.
But today it’s a sweet sorrow. I look out my second floor window here at Wabash and Congress and feel closer to everyone walking along the street. 9/11 gave me a deeper connection with the rest of Americans. “We’ll always have 9/11.”
I’m also so wowed by the vision, audacity and deployment of the 9/11 attacks. Reality is stranger than fiction. Hollywood would have never made that movie because it was too ridiculous. “How could that ever really happen?”
And I’m really pleased to finally see Ground Zero being built. I would walk by Ground Zero for years after the attacks, peak through the boards of the site and just see an empty hole in the ground. “The terrorists have won,” I would say to myself as people would bicker over what should go in that empty hole.
But where do we go from here? What do we do with 9/11 now? We’ve killed our Arabs. We seem to be tired of thrashing our sword on the battle field.
What do we do now? Do we go back home and carry on like nothing happened?
Ideally it would be nice if we would walk into the Arab Peninsula and say, “Look. Don’t ever do that shit again. But I get what you were trying to say. So let’s see what we can do to make things better.”
But that won’t happen. We still officially declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel. And even worse: We are American. We are gay loving, women empowering people with a big stick. The Arab world is always going to hate us. I get it.
So, what to do?
I guess nothing. There’s nothing to do. I guess just look our your window on 9/11 and appreciate the scar that is all ours. Our great American scar.