Letters for September 20, 2001
A cold stare
A warm gaze
A bad day
A world gone crazy
We thought we knew
How things would be
In red, white and blue
But now we’ve seen
A glimpse of Apocalypse
The enemy won
Without even using
A gun or a bomb
He just rammed a plane
Into the heart of our city
We know who to blame
For the rage and the pity
Can anyone say
I forgive and forget
Not on this day
Not in this world, not yet.
War is hell
This is widely known
The corpses will pile
As we reap what we’ve sown
How can we stop
All these terrible scenes?
With love and with light
Do you know what I mean?
A new day has dawned
As we gather our strength
But we can never go back
To September the tenth.
I’m not feeling very funny this week, and I imagine you aren’t either. Right now, my thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the many who lost their lives in this week’s unimaginable tragedy, and with all the heroic individuals who have tirelessly devoted themselves to the unbelievably daunting relief, rescue and support efforts.
No one could have foreseen these events, but even still I am deeply troubled about the “Red Meat” strip that ran in your paper last week. I wrote the strip in late August, in an attempt to be topical by referencing the recent movie version of Pearl Harbor. However, in light of the events of this week, the strip’s intended meaning may have been transformed by tragic circumstance to one of a possibly offensive or emotionally painful nature. This was certainly not my intent when I wrote the strip.
I try very hard every week to bring laughter by lampooning some of the darker, harsher realities of our lives. Like every artist, I occasionally fail to achieve my intended result, either through my own limited abilities or by coincidental, yet unfortunate, similarities to painful real-life occurrences in the local, national or global community.
To anyone I may have offended, please accept my deepest apologies.
author of RED MEAT
The motto of many progressive movements is “Sow justice, harvest peace.” The corollary not mentioned in the endless coverage of the World Trade Center attacks is “Sow injustice, reap violence.”
While never condoning it, we can better understand the perpetrators’ rage when we remember the tens of thousands of civilian deaths resulting from American foreign policy. Let’s not allow righteous indignation and patriotism to blind us, as once we were blind to our injustice toward America’s original inhabitants, imported slaves, the Irish, the Chinese.
Through amazing grace, we now see. No longer do the pulpits ring with justification of such atrocities. When scales drop from eyes, the next steps are to (1) admit the wrong, (2) make amends, and then (3) help others overcome their blindness.
The televised righteous indignation has overtones of hypocrisy. When I break up a school yard fight, I not only want to know who got in the last punch, but who got in the first. Now, more than ever, I oppose my credit union’s support of Henry Kissinger’s starring role in Perspectives 2001. Golden 1 should not lend our good name to rehabilitate the heartless reputation of a chief architect of America’s violence abroad.
SN&R’s bad taste
In light of the events that transpired on Tuesday, September 11, I must express my utter disbelief at the immeasurable bad taste displayed by your newspaper in running Tom Tomorrow’s “This Modern World” editorial cartoon that satirizes President George Bush. At a time when our nation needs to unite and act as one, it serves absolutely no useful purpose to criticize our nation’s leader, regardless of whether it is done for comic reasons or to make a statement.
One only has to look at the rest of the media to see the impact this terrible tragedy has had on our country: late-night talk shows, generally the biggest launch pad for satirizations and jibes at the presidency, have been pre-empted in order to show coverage of the attacks on American soil and the resulting rescue efforts. I would hazard a guess that when these shows resume, the hosts will be much less apt to fill their monologues with comedic material using the president as fodder.
Normally, I would not even take the time to write a letter such as this, but your disregard for the severity of these times warrants it. If you had the time to include the Kloss cartoon depicting the tragedy and President Bush’s statement, you certainly had time to refrain from running the Tomorrow cartoon in this issue.
This is a time when all Americans must unite in support of our leaders. To be perfectly frank, I did not even vote for President Bush, but I fully support him and all members of Congress in this time of crisis in America.
Aviation bureaucrats are floating the proposal of prohibition of all carry-on luggage, ostensibly to have some impact on terrorists’ ability to take over cockpit control. Knives were used in the N.Y. and D.C. attacks. Many effective knives today are made of non-metal materials such as ceramics. People in my profession and those who work with us are very aware of how easily a criminal can sneak a lethal, non-metal weapon past high-security check points and personal searches.
I, and millions of other citizens, must travel long distances and spend time in layovers as part of my work. Our luggage doesn’t always end up at our destinations. It may show up in a day or two or never. The expectation of my clients and the employers of other business travelers is that one is capable of accomplishing more during the lengthy and expensive travel than just getting from here to there. If you multiply the lost work hours of any individual business traveler by millions every day, and consider the expense of delayed or lost computers and work product, there will be a profound personal impact and very significant national economic impact.
The problem: One or several men threatening or killing pilots to take control of the cockpit. Proposed solution: An onerous, expensive and completely impotent gesture that would have virtually no result other than an empty gesture by bureaucrats to show just how hard they are trying. The real solution: Security doors to the cockpit and a trained, armed air marshal. The door makes the cockpit impenetrable to any force less than an explosion that would cripple the plane itself. The armed, plainclothes officer(s) protect everyone aboard.
Bruce Welch, M.D,
The terrorist act that devastated the area around the World Trade Center is not the first act of war in the New Century; it is the last act of the Old Century. The Warmakers have had their Century, made their money, killed millions. It is time for them to step back and to support the efforts that will shape our New Century.
It is now our time: the Century of the Peacemakers. We must step forward bravely and convince our leaders to look to the future and ask what is required of them. First, they have a duty to protect and defend our people and our values. Under the rule of law, our leaders will mete out justice to the evildoers. They must also lead us to comfort and bind the wounds of those who have been harmed by evil and events beyond their control.
The world looks to America not just for its power and wealth but its example. America has drawn people from all countries of the world to make a new life for their children. We have seen their faces on the streets of Manhattan among the office workers, the building maintenance people, the survivors, families seeking loved ones, the firemen, police, rescuers, construction workers, and witnesses to the horror. We and the world have seen the faces of America and they are good people. Good must prevail.
We are grieving our great and painful losses. We must be determined against sinking into hatred. Instead, we must rise up to create a future for the children of America and the world. We must use our talents, our blessings and our power to eradicate the poverty and powerlessness that breed terrorism and despair.
We can’t use our country’s wealth for weaponry and warfare at this time. We can challenge the leaders of all countries to root out terrorists and the hatred they promote. All leaders can be challenged to build healthy societies and balanced economies for their people. Americans have the abilities to help with this process. How incredible it is to supply weapons to countries with hungry, uneducated people who have been given only hatred to chew on. In our Century, the Peacemakers must begin.
Lastly, we Americans have been blessed. We sing “America, America, God shed His Grace on thee; and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea.” This week we know we are a brotherhood.
Joan Woodbury Field