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Anniversaries September 13, 2006

Posted by Matt Hurst in Philsophy, Politics.
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With only a weeks time to rest between historical markers, the American people remembered twin tragedies against its greatest hopes. As summer drew to a close Americans reflected on the progress, or more specifically the lack thereof, made in recovery in the year since Hurricane Katrina impacted the Gulf coast. In little more than a week later all eyes turned back into their sockets in blind observance of the fifth anniversary of the attacks of September 11th, 2001. A third and centennial anniversary (of which we’ll measure these anniversaries by) went by unnoticed that same day, swept aside by nostalgia and commiseration of a people growing uneasy about the direction they were in being driven into the ground and left to fend for themselves.
Although it can only be made into argument, it can be useful to compare the two new popular anniversaries of a great morbid fascination and shame to its people. The latest in grieving sheik, Katrina’s one year anniversary was mourn-abrated in a once great city destroyed by the explosive forces of abuse; and has left in disrepair since it’s attack. The same could be said for another great city with a gaping hole in the ground where monuments to man’s ignorance to the impact of their actions was ignored. New Orleans does not stand up, and neither do the towers of New York; but of course the Pentagon has risen it’s heights as never before and never again.
I must concede that I agree with the great dictator that we must never forget the lessons learned from either of these senseless tragedies. Although I should mention we differ radically on what those lessons are.

Both tragedies occurred as a product of the same economic means, though through differing ends being political and environmental in process. Hurricane Katrina, arguably the first super storm to ravage a metropolitan area since the onset of global climate change, broke apart our preconceptions that global warming only meant a warmer summer. As those who could afford to flee the impact area in any matter of combustion engines left behind their trails by the tailpipe, those left behind faced the product of carbon emissions heating the surface of earth’s oceans – the same warming water that creates hurricanes that feed off the heated seas. In another attack from a man made conflict, those on American buildings of symbolic importance, September 11th is still best framed by ignorance and perversion (but not necessarily just by those that did harm to innocents). In the same high octane fossil fuels exploding into their targets was carried to burning resentment and hostility of a people disenfranchised by the markets of energy from their right to self-governance, rising up against a perceived empire (now justified in their assessment) as the innocence of a people collapsed with the towers. And like our inability to promote sustainable energy consumption through economic regulation, the governing mechanisms that were created to protect us simply passed to responsibility for its consequences off to each other without ever providing the solutions to the problem.
In addition, both tragedies were ultimately preventable if the agencies responsible had acted on the information already available to them. It has been well established in the past five years that many government agencies anticipated the threat of Al-Queda, and a few even had credible intelligence of such a planned attack. I need not repeat what is a matter of public record, only to offer that the means to prevent the atrocities of that day were possible under the existing apparatuses and laws of that day. Likewise Katrina’s greatest impact on New Orleans, the failure of the city’s levee system, was a well known problem predicted not just on the storm’s eve but 40 years since it’s creation. IT is only the failure of a the governed to protect and care for those who give it consent to rule them that we remember today.
I will not address the President’s address last night – it is filled with the same recycled speaking points he has made time and again, and can be easily torn apart as a an argument (if only for the evidence contrary found as the consequences of his own actions). Now with the new flavor of “Islamo-fascism”, we can all rest safely with the knowledge that no such tyrants who wish to take away our freedoms can harm us as long as we stand together. No one, no matter how determined, can take away American’s freedoms (just our civil liberties instead) to spend ourselves into slavery.

In times where people stand and suffer, it was another anniversary this September 11th that may offer us something of hope – the 100th anniversary of Gandhi’s non-violent, civil disobedience movement. On that date in 1906, Gandhi stood before the most powerful empire of the world and began to break down the economic system that was the instrument of its power by standing up to the Salt tax that served to punish the great masses and enrich the pockets of those within their means. In time this tactic that neither harms oppressor nor the oppressed gave birth to his people’s independence, and also to the people of our own Civil Rights movements. He showed us that it is possible to stand up to those that wish to do us harm or those institutions that thrive on our ignorance and suffering not by the strike of the hand but by winning the hearts of our enemies. In the end he proves that the best (and perhaps only) means of solving differences of political, social, economic, and religious differences not by holding each other back but by bringing us up together. It forces us to examine our interdependence and recognize the humanity in each other, rather than tearing each other apart and only making our animosity towards each other grow in every action. His passive resistance has not been in word or deed in the last five years, but its need has grown in every passing say if we are to rebuild a world we want to live in.