Now that the silence is dissipating, and everyone is trying hard as hell to get back to ‘normal’ I have to honestly wonder what, if anything, has changed? Able-bodied people still park in handicap spaces. Drivers still cut people off and fail to use turn signals. Red-blooded patriots still practice racism. Bills are still due and life goes on.
Have we magically awaken from our collective sleep and become one America? Did Tuesday’s attack sober alcoholics and drug addicts? Have waning family bonds suddenly become tighter? Has Generation-X been introduced to ‘real evil’, or are we all so shocked, grief-stricken, and pissed off that we think we’re all on the same page?
It all still seems pretty unreal. I’m 26 and I know better than to think it fantasy, but I can’t help but ask myself “Did I just see what I thought I saw?” and “Is this really happening?” With the answer being ‘yes’, the next logical question is “Well, what next?”.
People to my left and people to my right are screaming retaliation. And as the evidence mounts, and the fingers point it seems inevitable. Otherwise non-aggressive folks now want blood and hate blinded masses vengeance.
With the arrest of purported assistants to the terrorists and the subsequent death of said terrorists, what will waging a war prove? What will it solve? Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about self-defense and preservation, but war? War with an enemy that’s akin to a ghost and moves like a thief in the night? War with an enemy that plays in a region described by many as impossible to navigate and twice as impossible find people in? War with a man that we helped to create? God knows that the innocent needs justice and the dead needs mourning, but how does waging war on an already war-ravaged country and a pitifully oppressed people compensate the dead? How does it compensate the family and friends of the dead? How does war rid the world of terrorism?
Sure, we get to beat our collective chest with Neanderthal-ish satisfaction after the deed is done, but what would we have accomplished? Expert after expert, and every rational person, says that there is no way to eradicate terrorism, just the terrorists. So what will we gain? What, indeed.
Battlefields will be strewn with more dead: countrymen, allies, and those in the way. But this has to be the right thing to do, because the people want it. Hell, the world wants it. Within 24 hours, America switched from a country at dire odds with itself to a country with one common goal: the death of one man and his compatriots. This man -this ghost-that is so intangible, much like the tenants that he espouses, supposedly has an entire world both mad and afraid.
One day we’ll wake, and we’ll walk past the place where many died. And we’ll surely be different, as many noted on 09/11/01. And at least one of us will have to ask “What does it all mean?” “What’s it all for?” Or maybe we’ll all ask those questions before it’s too late.
God bless the dead and those that mourn them
-- Drék Davis is a writer, mixed media artist, and Professor of Art at Grambling University in Louisiana.
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