On villains and vengeance.

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Earlier today, I had this half-formed thought that I shared on Twitter: “The danger of basing national pride on the vanquishing of enemies is that it requires an endless supply of enemies to maintain.”

“Enemies” is a word I used to make a point. We allow politicians and media to use this word to categorize people — individuals and whole groups — as caricatures that, once extinguished, remove some of the evil from our perilous world.

I just started this post and yet I am written out on the topic. I have said it all before. Nothing and everything has changed. We killed one man, and we gave up a hundred freedoms. And it’s not over. The war isn’t over; which war are we on now? The tiny humiliations, the groping and the radiation, the three-ounce bottles, these little things we have been told are so small and worth our safety now, but who is deciding this worth?

We are still bleeding our fear over the whole world, and I don’t want it to be over. I want it never to have happened.

Some links about the potential U.S. government shutdown.

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As I was doing some research this morning, I found some links about the potential U.S. government shutdown that you might find useful.

eight years ago

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In remembrance of 9/11, I am sharing these excerpts from my written reactions eight years ago.

From 11 September 2001, “the act itself”:

On the way to work I heard a cor­re­spon­dent on the radio say some­thing about how the act itself was shock­ing, but the fact that it hap­pened was not. This is the scari­est thing I’ve ever heard.

From 12 September 2001, “the aftermath”:

I do not want vengeance. I do not want more vio­lence, and I espe­cially do not want more civil­ians — inno­cent peo­ple, regard­less of nation­al­ity — to die. I real­ize how seri­ous this act was, and is, and I real­ize that our gov­ern­ment will exact pun­ish­ment on those it thinks are respon­si­ble. I also real­ize we may be wrong. If we ever thought our­selves invin­ci­ble, that delu­sion no longer exists. The loss of life, of way of life, has been more than I expected. But it was only a mat­ter of time, as the say­ing goes.

From 13 September 2001, “the current situation”:

Instead of dis­cussing ret­ri­bu­tion, why don’t we con­sider how we got to this point? Can we see our­selves as oth­ers see us? Can we at least try? I’m dis­ap­pointed and dis­mayed about what has hap­pened, but I can­not spon­sor the short-sightedness of an imme­di­ate cam­paign for more vio­lence and destruc­tion. If what mat­ters most to you is a brief period of “got you back!” then clearly you should not be read­ing this ‘blog. I care far more about how this affects us as human beings than I do about what sort of tac­tics and pol­i­tics make for good retaliation.

Also from 13 September 2001, “survivor”:

“After the crash, and amid the scream­ing, he started to pray out loud. ‘I said, “Jesus save me and these two guys with me.” Nei­ther one of them complained.’”

From 16 September 2001, “the ignorant child”:

I am sad­dened to note that no one has come into our library and asked for any infor­ma­tion on the sit­u­a­tion in the Mid­dle East, or U.S. for­eign pol­icy. But they have all been to Tar­get to stock up on their Amer­i­can flags. The lit­tle plas­tic sou­venirs are wav­ing from many car anten­nae, flap­ping wildly as the wind hits them, as we drive fast and faster to war.

From 18 September 2001, “stop, look, and listen”:

And after you under­stand what we did in Afghanistan, per­haps you can con­sider that I am as proud to be Amer­i­can as any of you are, but I am unwill­ing to pre­tend that “Amer­i­can” can be equated with “good” or “right”. Just like human beings are imper­fect, so are the coun­tries they pop­u­late and run. We have made mis­takes, and although I have shed many tears for the attacks on the World Trade Cen­ter and the Pen­ta­gon, we must bring away from this not a sense of vengeance but a sense of under­stand­ing … or we have lost all those lives for naught.

You may wish to contribute your own story to Make History, a project curated by the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.

dear hissyfit fussypants

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To the current political naysayers regarding the American economy: we tried your way. For years, decades even. It did not work. Now someone is trying something else to keep the capitalist machine running. If you think this is socialism, you had best sit down in front of a dictionary.

You want me to buy American? I do, when the product is worth a good goddamn. But none of us can continue to have the standard of living to which we have grown accustomed, shitty American products or no, so here is a thought: stop losing your tiny minds over the fact that the only constant is change.

And no, this is not directed at fiscal conservatives. This is directed at everyone.  You too.  Everyone who whinges about how everything is in the toilet: what are you doing about it?  Really, tell me. I want to know.

From here, I see a lot of panic and a lot of negativity, and since when did either of these fix the world?

some wordplay with your gunplay

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Campers may now pack heat along with their sleeping bags when they travel to national parks.

The Bush administration on Friday struck down federal regulations banning loaded guns in most national forests, a move that was widely seen as a parting shot on behalf of the National Rifle Association.

The ruling overturned a 25-year-old federal regulation severely restricting concealed firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges. The new rule, which would take effect in January, would apparently allow anyone who already has a concealed weapons permit in his or her state to also tote a gun in federal parks within state boundaries.

Guns will be allowed in national parks: Thanks, SFGate, for “pack heat along with their sleeping bags” and “parting shot”, because what good is a ridiculously stupid law change without some wordplay to take the sting out of it?

Sorry, that was a loaded question.

I know, I know: I’m fired!

now what

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I was at work when the news came, when the world changed. I was at work and we are not supposed to show our emotions on our sleeves, our choices on our lapels, but we couldn’t help it, and we clapped our hands and laughed and said yes.

My father called and said, “Thank you, California!” and I replied, “Thank you, Pennsylvania!” and for a few minutes it was like we were in the same place.

I sent my mother a text that read, “Yes, we can, and yes, we did! Congratulations on a new America, mooms.” She replied that she was with me, and for a few minutes, she was.

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