Rant

I am SO TIRED of seeing memes and comments on Facebook trying to link a lack of religious faith to the shootings.

First, everyone needs to stop pushing their own religious agendas in the wake of a tragedy.  Religion or lack of one had NOTHING TO DO with this crime.  We need to blame the shooter for what happened, not the fact that “religion isn’t allowed in school.”  Guess what?  Students ARE allowed to pray in schools, and they ARE allowed to join religious-themed extracurricular clubs. I remember Bible Clubs in the schools I attended.  What isn’t allowed are government-sanctioned religious activities or prayers.  So don’t tell me that this horrible tragedy happened because of “God wasn’t allowed in schools.”

I was going to keep quiet about how I felt about this issue, but I don’t think I can take another meme saying that if I don’t believe in God, I sure will when there’s a gun pointed at my face.  Please.  These memes are ridiculous and disrespectful to the victims.  Let’s try to put our religious and political differences aside and just focus on actually achieving some positive change, shall we?

Islam in a Post 9/11 World

You want to get my blood boiling?  A good way to is to say racist, ignorant things about Muslims.

Someone on my Facebook friends list posted an (incorrect) factoid that Muslim Family Day was held at Fiesta Texas yesterday on September 11, and isn’t this a slap in the face to Americans?  Highly suspecting that said person was misinformed, a simple Google search told me that the family day was actually held on September 4.  Trying to withhold any comments, I simply pasted the link on his status update.

Here are the comments from that thread:

“Wonder if they have Christian Family Day??? OR is that too controversial?? Why would they have any day like that. It is beyond me.”

“Being a week apart still sucks. Bad judgement on their part.”

Of course, I decided to jump in on the discussion, even though I knew that trying to change ignorance is a thankless task that usually fails.

“Jennifer your such a sweet heart but you need to understand….they don’t want to be American they want us to be them. Just look at every other Muslim run country. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-864522917532871834.”

I clicked on the video. Even the opening credits announce it as a video about the Radical Islam movement.  I responded with a simple, “Radical Islam =/ Islam.”

The only way to respond to such logic is fear.  “Their plan is to take over the world with their babies….and they are doing it.”

Since my previous comments denounced judging the Islam faith by what the radical extremists believed, I felt like I was rendered mute throughout this discussion, or that everyone else lacked reading comprehension skills.

In 2002, I was a freshman in college.  My roommate was named Rabia, and she just happened to be Muslim.  I wasn’t worried about the fact that she was Muslim before rooming with her.  Luckily for me, my parents were not judgmental of other people’s religious faiths.  I never, ever remember hearing one of my parents condemning Muslims for the attacks of 9/11, not even once.  They knew it was the work of radical extremists, and not of the faith itself.

Why is this concept so difficult for people to grasp?

In the two years I lived with Rabia, I was able to see what a peaceful, loving religion Islam is.   She told me stories of how people were prejudiced against her and her family after the attacks.  It made me sad.   Her religion was never, ever an issue with me, and I respected it.  Not everyone at my extremely conservative college felt the way I did, though.   Once, I asked a high school friend of hers where my roommate was.  “Oh, I don’t know,” the girl said dismissively.  “Some stupid Muslim thing.”  My roommate was so respectful of the Christian faith that she even attended Christian religious services with her friends.  Why can she not be offered the same respect in return?

Muslims condemn the 9/11 attacks.  Muslims have to defend themselves against this ignorance every single year.

Educate yourselves a little.  It’s been ten years now; we’ve had more than enough time to acquire the facts and knowledge we need to move forward as a nation.  If 9/11 should have taught us anything, it’s that we need to be tolerant and loving towards people of different cultures and faiths, and to condemn hatred; we need to stop perpetuating it.

September 11, 2001

9/11 is one of those terrible days where you remember nearly every detail of what you were doing, what you wearing, at the time you heard the news.  It was after 8 o’clock, and I had just pulled up to the front of the school.  I was 17 and had just received my driver’s license a month earlier; my mom would hop into the passenger’s seat and let me drive to school to give me driving experience.  As I got out of the car, my dad called my mom on her cell.  When she hung up, she looked up at me with a confused expression.  “Dad said that two planes flew into the Twin Towers,” she said.  “Wow, really?”  I replied, surprised. And then, “What kind of pilots would fly into the World Trade Center? I hope everyone is okay.”

I know I’m not the only person who thought it was some terrible accident upon hearing the news; that just shows how naive we were as a country.  Now, terrorism would be the first conclusion we’d jump to.  Back then, terrorism was something that happened to other countries, not ours.

I said goodbye to my mom and walked inside the school.  I stopped the first person I knew and said, “Did you hear about the World Trade Center?” “Yeah,” she said. “It’s terrorism.”  I felt a shiver go down my back.  “No way, really?” “Of course,” she replied.  “There’s no way that’s an accident.”  I immediately went to the computer lab to look up what had happened on the trusty internet, but that proved to be a useless task.  The net was so jammed with other people getting online to look up what had happened that I couldn’t load any pages.  The only thing that would load was a picture of the burning towers.

I went to my Academic Decathlon class, where my teacher had the news on.  For first period, we all watched, riveted with horror.  We watched the towers burn.  Someone cried as they fell, but all I could feel was shock and sadness, as I knew that we were witnessing so many deaths.  I felt fear as Peter Jennings talked about how the crashed Flight 93 was likely headed to the White House or Capitol.  What the hell is happening to us? I thought.

As we watched the news, one of the teachers compared this to Pearl Harbor.  “Really?” I asked, surprised.  I had grown up hearing what a big deal Pearl Harbor was; it seemed strange to think I was living through something that historically significant too.  “You wait, kid,” the teacher promised.  “This is huge.”

I remember the sadness and paranoia that enveloped the country after the attacks.  Immediately following the attacks, I remember feeling frustrated that I wasn’t there, that I couldn’t do anything, that I was just experiencing everything from the television.  I had never visited the Trade Center.  I visited Manhattan for the first time last year, and when we drove by Ground Zero, there was still a lot of construction going on around it.  But I’d visited Staten Island when I was seven, and as we stood on a pier, I remember seeing the towers in the skyline.  I pointed them out to my father.  We still have those images on tape, for which I am grateful.

It’s undeniable that 9/11 affected New Yorkers the hardest.  While we watched the terrible images on television, New Yorkers saw the towers fall with their own eyes, smelled the acrid air of the remains of the Towers, dealt with losing fathers and daughters and sisters and brothers and friends in the Towers as they fell and burned.  While we all had to heal as a nation, our thoughts never left the strong and resilient New Yorkers as they started picking up the pieces.  As I walked the streets of Manhattan last year, I immediately fell in the love with the fabled city I had grown up hearing about so much from my father, who had lived there in the 70s.  I could not imagine being a resident there ten years ago and seeing everything first-hand, having my heart torn out by the attacks.

But there’s an insinuation by some that 9/11 shouldn’t be a big deal to those who weren’t directly affected, and that’s extremely ignorant.  As an American, and as a human being, it’s impossible not to feel empathy, sadness, and reflection on every anniversary.  It changed all of us.  I get chills every time I think about 9/11 or see the images in print or on television.  Later generations may go through this day without remembering its significance, just like how my generation never discusses the significance of December 7 each year that passes. But everyone who was alive on September 11, 2001, everyone who could remember exactly what they were doing and what they were wearing when they heard the terrible news could never let the anniversary pass without thinking of its significance, without pausing in remembrance.

I leave you with a lovely video that one of my blogging friends posted last night.  A group of children visited a firehouse that had lost many men during the attacks, and sang “Empire State of Mind” to them as a tribute.  It’s hard to watch without getting choked up.

I can’t believe it’s been ten years already.

To all the men and women who died that day – we will never, ever forget you.  May you rest in peace.

The News Has Been Bumming Me Out Lately

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We lost 30 American service members, as well as 8 Afghani allies, in an attack by the Taliban.  22 of those dead were Navy Seals.

S.&P. downgraded the United State’s sovereign debt rating for the first time in history, despite the fact that the calculations used in their report overestimated the amount of our debt by two trillion dollars.

The debt crisis in Europe is basically going nuts.

Where’s the good news?

 

 

 

 

 

A Commentary on Politics from Two Twenty-Somethings

My brother and I, watching Obama’s speech about the debt crisis:

Me:  Uh, it’s pretty bad when the president has to go on TV and be all, “Oh hey guys, WE MAY NOT BE ABLE TO PAY OUR BILLS NEXT WEEK.”

Pat:  Seriously.  I feel like this country has been in decline for awhile.

Me:  I mean, I don’t think they’ll let us go into default, you know?  There has to be some sort of eleventh-hour agreement where they get it all worked out.

Pat:  I hope so.

Me:  …what’s up with Obama’s hair?

Pat:  I know. It looks like he colored it.

Me:  And it looks like he got hair plugs on the side.

 

Newsweek Must Be Really Desperate for Readers

I know Newsweek has been floundering with their readership and relevancy for awhile but…really?  I mean, honestly.

“Hey! It’ll be a great idea to photoshop a beloved public figure who’s been dead for over a decade and put her next to the daughter-in-law she never had the chance to meet.  THERE IS NOTHING CREEPY OR WEIRD ABOUT THIS AT ALL.”

Why would we want to know what Princess Diana would be like at 50? She’s dead. This ploy is so crass and desperate that I’m glad I canceled my Newsweek subscription a year ago.

And seriously, is that the best Photoshop they could do?  I’ve seen eighth graders with more skill.