Jewish World Review Sept. 24 2001 / 7 Tishrei, 5762
Lessons learned --- or, ones that should be
Since that horribly ill-fated day of September 11, 2001, much has happened that we have never witnessed before. From the time of the attack, we as a country have been sailing, however tentatively, in the rather turbulent seas of truly uncharted waters. So far here are just some of the things that we have learned that we may not have realized before the day that changed America forever.
- That many New York City firefighters and police officers do not appear to suffer from many of the same human frailties that afflict the rest of us.
- That this well planned attack was much easier to pull off than we ever could have imagined and actually could have been much worse.
- That it may be impossible for us to understand the motivations of these terrorists (how does it make any sense for a Muslim with a family to be getting drunk at a strip club the night before he thinks he is going to meet Allah and be rewarded for having killed thousands of innocent people?).
- That it is still possible for the United States to actually be virtually united about something.
- That it is still possible to shake us from our apathy (now we know that what it takes to do so is somewhere between having a military ship blown up by terrorists, and having two national landmarks destroyed and thousands of people killed by the same group).
- That Americans will almost universally believe (for better or worse) that someone they don't like is guilty of a heinous crime, even without evidence, as long as the government and news media tell them that it is so.
- That many of those same Americans will not believe that airline travel is safe, no matter what the government, news media, and basic logic tells them.
- That some NFL players and Ryder Cup golfers are apparently afraid to fly chartered jets and that the players of both organizations are now much more powerful than those who allegedly run them.
- That it is not acceptable to play professional sports five days after a national tragedy, but perfectly fine to resume six days later.
- That America can do without September baseball for six days and hardly even notice.
- That David Letterman and Jay Leno may be better at putting a tragedy into perspective than any news commentators.
- That sportscasters suddenly turned news commentators are usually better than those who do that regularly for a living.
- That the major network anchormen (especially Brian Williams) are more talented than most people realize.
- That it is possible for a conservative to agree with something that Joe Biden, Tom Daschle, Dick Gephardt, Charles Schumer, and even Hillary Clinton, says, and vice versa.
- That we now understand why we elected George W. Bush and not Al Gore.
- That many of our elected officials are lot better people than we presumed.
- That it is possible for the news media to say nice things about Republicans when the tragedy is large enough, the national interest is at stake, they have done a good job, and have cried on television.
- That it is admirable for a victim to praise G-d for having helped them during a major catastrophe and have the President imply G-d is on our side in battle, but it is completely unacceptable for a respected reverend (Jerry Falwell) to suggest that G-d may have allowed the bad parts to happen as well.
- That no matter how large the tragedy, someone (probably Howard Stern) will say something inappropriate/stupid in the aftermath. However, it is now clear that, unlike several others already punished, nothing Howard Stern says will ever get him in any real trouble.
- That it is "better" (at least less damaging) to be the only congressperson (Barbara Lee) to vote against the President in a time of crisis, than it is to be a "man of G-d" who expresses his unpopular religious conviction about what happened.
- That even in the absolute worst of times, political correctness is still able to fester to the point where even displaying the American flag, a patriotic slogan, or even creating a military operation's name can be deemed by some to be potentially offensive and therefore inappropriate.
- That the ethnic profiling of crime suspects doesn't seem like such a bad idea after all.
- That it is actually possible for the news media to handle a big story in a somewhat responsible and productive manner (we'll see if that lasts for long, though).
- That when it comes to hoping for survivors, people will believe almost any scenario, even those that contradict basic laws of physics like the guy who supposedly "rode" one of the twin towers down to the ground before only breaking a leg.
- That a cell phone is a darn good thing to own.
- That we have the best-looking flag in the world.
- That it is still physically possible for short-attention spanned Americans to maintain its focus on just one story for more than a week without getting tired or bored.
- That no matter what horrible wrong is done to us; there will ALWAYS be people who are afraid to retaliate and countries that will hang us out to dry.
- That the powerbrokers on Wall Street talk a good game, but when it comes right down to it, protecting their pocketbooks will always be much more important than promoting patriotism.
- That the "Average American" seems to be much more charitable, patriotic, courageous, and willing to actually take action than those to whom this country has been so good that they fear losing it all.
- That no matter how many times you see a plane flying into the side of a huge building, or that edifice crashing to the ground, it never seems sane, real, or any less jarring.
- That it may not be possible for any of us to ever be shocked by anything we ever see again.
- That we still live in the best country ever
Send your comments to JWR contributor John Ziegler by clicking here.
09/17/01: The silver lining in our darkest cloud
09/04/01: "BREAKING NEWS" Not What It Used To Be
08/27/01: Some guys have it --- and some just don't
08/20/01:"Hollywood in Crisis" --- Please no Sequel!
08/13/0: Misplaced media fan-aticism about football tragedies
The Rules of the 'N-Word'
© 2001, John Ziegler