September 11, 2011

I wanted to write about this day and yet I didn’t want to write about it. I told a friend I felt if I did, I’d probably be arrested. I have become a citizen afraid of my government, afraid that if I do use my constitutional right to free speech that I will be punished for it.

This is a sad day for me in more than one way. I am grieving for the type of people I thought Americans used to be. That’s what I feel like we’ve lost since this attack 10 years ago, we’ve lost ourselves. We gave ourselves up willingly. We allowed our government to take away our civil rights, to torture and kill, to do all those things we consistently say America does not do. I am saddened for all the citizens who died that day. I am saddened for the families and friends who grieve for them. I am also angry that we had an opportunity to show the world what America really stood for and instead, we have gone and killed a million people in Iraq and Afghanistan and no one blinks an eye. I cry for what we’ve become as a nation. I hear so many people say that that day changed them forever. What it changed in me was my faith in my government to be humane and decent and keep its integrity in the face of unspeakable pain.

For this I’m afraid to voice my opinion. For I don’t believe in war and see that we’ve missed an incredible opportunity to show that the United States is a decent and peaceful and great nation. Instead we bombed and waterboarded and killed children. How many times do we tell our children that if someone strikes you, you don’t hit them back. You tell an adult or you talk it out, or you somehow resolve the situation with peaceful means. Yet we won’t do that as adults and this hurts my heart.

I couldn’t watch the news this week. I felt as if they were only capitalizing on this great tragedy, working to sensationalize and glorify victims and increase the nationalism that fuels our capitalism. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see street vendors selling t-shirts or trinkets to commemorate this day. For I believe we have become a crass society intent on only acquiring more toys and trinkets and making a buck where we can. I don’t believe this is what America stands for, and yet every day it seems, it only shows me that we are.

Instead I attended a peace ceremony today, The Axis of Friendship, where others like me, prayed and spoke and set our intention for peace in this world. That gave me hope for our country. That gave me a faith that if this one spark can spread, maybe it will overcome the contagion for war and hatred that has spread across our land. I can only work towards that and hope that one day, we will get back to being the people I thought we once were. As a minister, I hope to spread peace.

May it be so.

From my little piece of Mayberry,