NORMAN, OK — As fate would have it, I was one of the estimated 1.5 million people who travel from city-to-city in America each day on the tenth anniversary of the now infamous demolition of the World Trade Center complex in New York City on September 11, 2001. While some drama was noted on a few flights, my flight went as smoothly as a warm knife through butter.
Even though I carried gear up the proverbial wazoo — laptop in the backpack and bag with video camera, microphones, and more — I passed through security with no undo delay. Extra steps were being taken. On certain flights people were randomly stopped by TSA agents and asked to present ID cards and boarding passes before boarding the plane.
While I hadn’t forgotten about the 9/11 event, the extra precautionary steps then made sense.
The world does certainly remember 9/11. The government and media have seen to that. To varying degrees they’ve been molding the public perception of the events that led up to, and have transpired since that sorrowful tragedy where 3,000 people’s lives ended. From the U.S. Open Tennis championships, to the NFL, 9/11 became a context point around which to make meaningless activity sound meaningful, and make unconscionable actions on our parts sound justifiable. Don’t get me wrong; I love tennis, and like football, but in the scheme of things, neither is likely to foster the kind and depths of introspection that would assist in one’s spiritual liberation.
The statement, “War is unconscionable. There are no winners,” can contribute toward spiritual liberation. It happens as we take stock of what is, and is not working beneficially in our life, and make changes.
I can’t tell you what have we “won” through war in the 10 years since 9/11, but I can tell you a few things that we’ve lost.
Freedom is one. While the shock of the event itself was still making itself through the public consciousness, the Patriot Act was signed into law by George W. Bush on October 26, 2001. The provision broadened the government’s power to execute wire taps, searches, and seizures. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) also grew out of this event. They added an entirely new set of hoops — scans, restrictions for carry-on liquids, searches, etc. — for travelers to jump through.
There are many who can detail the legislative and social changes far better than me. I simply ask the question, do you think we are safer now? Are we happier now? Or freer now? If your answer is no, don’t blame the Democrats or the Republics, as the “muffage” (i.e., mishandling) has gone on while both were in power. The ones who gave them power are you and me. Look in the mirror, not to blame yourself for what has gone wrong over the past 10 years, but to realize who can change things from this point on.
Over the past 10 years we’ve been led to believe that the freedom to seek vengeance was ours alone. Tens of thousands of additional lives have been lost, and countless more maimed in the ensuing years.
The photos below of a wounded Marine, being given the hero treatment by Washington bureaucrats, is telling. He is lauded for his bravery and sacrifice. Do you think he really cares about their accolades?
Instead of reducing the military death and debt toll, the lawmakers continue the acrimonious policies and relations that feed hostilities. Is that what the Marine wants?
I imagine that he would gladly trade his “hero” status for the eye he gave up, or his arm.
Or the natural restoration of his innocent face.
Science has grown quite adept at destroying things, both in matters of war, as well as in matters of medical practice. Thousands of people are dying each day from the effect of medical treatments that decimate the human organism while the generals in white coats wage “war” against a myriad of diseases. When a life is lost, and there have been millions since 9/11, their families mourn just as deeply, and with equal sincerity, as those who were memorialized at Ground Zero.
But while we wear ribbons, and do marathons and walk-a-thons, medical practices haven’t changed and the death toll rises.
What about the foreign casualties of war? The civilians of Iraq and Afghanistan, two nations that we have occupied, not with a peace-abiding coalition, but with a military one? One could argue that “they” are intent on killing us on our soil. However, we have armed forces in their midst that are killing them, or are an immediate threat to do so, far in excess of guidelines that might be suggested by the “Eye for an Eye” School of Revenge Management.
Yet we keep giving ourselves congratulatory pats on the back for how we’re handling things. Documentaries on how we killed bin Laden run on the Discovery Channel, as history is “spinned” in one direction and away from another, such as how the towers came down with such precision, or what accounted for Building 7’s fall.
War is not the answer to conflict. Neither are lies to the public. It just adds to enmity and heartache, depression and misery.
Peace isn’t an option that you “try to find a way to.” It’s one that is chosen because it is the solution itself. Just as war can be engaged unilaterally, so can peace. We can commit to being peaceful, not harm causing, as we redress our differences, and no longer be a military threat to another country.
I know that the old “enemy” paradigm dies hard, but we are bankrupting ourselves by trying to become the police force of the world. We’re not that, nor can we ever hope to be. If 9/11 has shown us anything, it’s that we’ve not gone in the positive direction. We’ve continued on a slippery slope into fear.
Instead of trying to be the baddest dudes on the planet, able to force our will and ways on others, we might consider taking the lead in solving our problems, doing what we say we want to accomplish:
- lessen our dependence on oil
- lessen our carbon and “greenhouse” emissions
- restore the balance of our ecosystems
- restore the nutritional quality of our foods
- respect the life-giving bounty that Mother Nature provides naturally
- protect ourselves through peaceful balance and coherence
- heal ourselves from chronic and degenerative diseases
All of these and more are achievable now, and have been for decades, but no one is mourning the American mavericks and inventors that have lost their lives, or came close to losing them, because their product would correct a known problem. Stanley Meyers lost his life promoting a way to dramatically extend the fuel economy of an internal combustion engine.
Paul Pantone (www.geetinternational.com), who likewise has developed such technology, was committed to a hospital in Utah, ostensibly because he was declared “incompetent.” However, the patents that he held on fuel saving technologies were considered competent; competent enough that authorities attempted to have him sign over his rights.
Where would we be if we gave into fear?
We’ve be with a fearful government, abusing the power we’ve given it because its truth is suspect.
It’s time for a change; a change within each of us. It’s not enough to want to be different. We’ve got to be different starting on the inside, in our heart.
Let me end this by suggesting a scenario.
Imagine that forces from a foreign country came into the United States and openly threatened the lives of our citizens. There would be a call to arms and every effort would be taken to resist and repel the threat.
If such a response by Americans is easy to understand, why is it that we don’t seem to understand the umbrage that people in other nations have against our doing such things — destroying property and killing innocent people — on their soil?
The bureaucrats are supposed to be wise. They are supposed to protect the safety of all Americans. They are supposed to demonstrate to the world what America truly stands for. Well in the last 10 years, “America” has stood for vengeance, intimidation, and forceful acquisition, including on American citizens. Truth has been on a “need to know” basis.
We can do better than we have, but it begins by knowing that we do not and cannot honor life by killing.