I wrote this awhile ago. It's no longer current, and it's not always exactly what I think today. But I want to share it here anyway. Mostly so I don't have to crawl through 3 years of old posts on Maidenfans again.
Edit: also read last year's thoughts.
It is hard for me to find things to say on this day. Half of me sits here and ponders that it is the day the world changed (indeed, for the worst), and that like so many others, I cannot forget exactly where I was when Al-Qaida struck down two of the world's mightiest buildings with the fire of their hatred. I remember the quiet aftermath of a terrorist strike deep into the body of a great nation, and I remember watching the great Union prepare to rise up and, as always, shake off the damage of an aggressor and prepare to move forward. Was it any different when the Confederates fired on Fort Sumter, people asked. Was it any different when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor? Many people, many Canadians, have a lot of derision for the United States - I have a great respect for our allies, not least because in the past, the United States has been a beacon of strength, power, and inspiration.
What other country could drag itself, hand over hand, out of the deep pit of the Great Depression? What other country could rebuild savaged states in a matter of a decade? What other country could survive the destruction of an entire fleet at the hands of a surprise assault? You see, when the towers were struck, I, and many others with the sense to watch the world, drew in a breath and waited for the vengeance of America wounded, but not bowed. Certainly not broken under the terrorist's knife, for I believe there is not now and has never been any knife long enough to pierce the heart of America held by a foreign warrior. And the right things happened - all the world went to war against Al-Qaeda. The terrorist's bases in Afghanistan were broken by the assault of the world's free peoples; American, British, Canadian, German, Polish, Spanish, and more.
Political documents are somewhat of a hobby of mine, that is to say, I enjoy reading them and reading about their development and interpretation over time. I can remember being eleven and reading through the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and being enthralled by the idea it held - a universal contract we are born into that protects our rights to exist. As I grew and was educated, I read other documents like it, and of course, the pinnacle of those documents, the first and the originator of the entire idea of modern western democracy: the Constitution of the United States. It seems to me, that the heart of our West, that the soul of our combined being are these documents that protect and demand the continued protection of our rights as individuals.
Opportunism and fear run hand in hand, and we can sadly see the same opportunism and fear running hand in hand today, as we could before. Sometimes when someone says to me, "Remember 9/11! Remember the Twin Towers!" in my mind I hear, "Remember the Maine!" Because this same opportunism that surrounded a fearful New England in 1898 exists today in all of the United States - the simple fact that the greatest country in the world has placed their forces into a war they cannot win (not in Iraq, but vs. "terrorism") because of some very fuzzy pictures and a series of bold-faced lies. Instead of turning the strength of the unified West against the ability of Osama Bin Laden to make war, the crucible was poured in Iraq and there the bloodied arms of the United States were thrust, and slowly they writhe and melt against the constant heat of those who believe in their beliefs enough to give their lives.
We must remember the events of September 11th, and we must support the troops deployed overseas. They are dying because the West was fooled by their own fear. They are dying because we are stifled. The Constitution of the United States, a sacred document to me, indeed, the most sacred of all documents save for my own Charter, violated by the man who swore to uphold it, and the citizens are blinded by the flashing lights and screaming alerts of FoxNews. Our greatest rememberance would be, now, to urge the Congresses and the Parliaments back to the task at hand: hunt down the man who perpetrated a great attack on the greatest nation, and to do so without succumbing to our own fear. Benjamin Franklin said that, "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." If we allow our freedoms to be taken away, how long before we are not free enough to deserve safety? Our security *IS* our freedom, and we should fight to protect it.
I suggest not that we avenge but that we find justice for our dead. Justice for the dead of 9/11 is the capture and lifetime solitary imprisonment of Osama Bin Laden and his inner circle. Justice for the dead of Iraq is the impeachment and arrest of George Bush and his inner circle for violating his oath of office and misleading his nation into a war for no good cause. To cause the first I would see our nations join together again, to end a global terrorist ring. Our 54 dead of September 11th need their justice as well. To cause the second I urge my southerly neighbours to educate themselves towards politics. Your ignorance is the weapon of those who would see you without a voice, without meaning or matter. Mass media does not present the story that needs presenting, instead try newspapers, magazines, the Internet, and journals.
I believe with all my heart that the way our society will fall is not from without. Great societies have never fallen entirely due to exterior invasion. No - Alexander's Macedonian Empire crumbled when he died and left no clear successor. The Roman Empire fell to the corruption caused by the distance and time between cities and the inability of the Equestrian and Patricians to monitor the rule of the Emperors. Victoria's British Empire was auctioned by Attlee's Labour Party to the highest bidder after the Second World War, and the Soviet Union could not withstand it's public's cry for equality in a society that was supposed to exemplify it. If we forget that we are free men and women, born equal, for just a minute, that we all deserve the rights to free speech, religion, assembly, and press, then we risk losing our right to live the way we live. That we risk losing to those who would gladly take all in order to claim our wealth as theirs. That we risk losing our future, and the Age of Enlightenment's greatest child: liberty.