Yes, it’s the phony-baloney holiday cooked up by conservative senators before the ashes of the Twin Towers had cooled so that we could ‘commemorate’ the terror attacks! And what better way to commemorate the senseless death of thousands than to loudly assert your loyalty to the homeland and impugn the patriotism of anyone who dissents?
I got scolded at work yesterday – and keep in mind that, for San Antonio, my workplace is pretty liberal – for mocking the notion of Patriot’s Day. It was implied that I was disrespecting the memory of the dead by belittling a day allegedly crafted in their honor.
What was I supposed to say? That I don’t believe for a second the people who came up with Patriot’s Day gave half a shit about the victims of the terrorists, but were just looking for a convenient hook on which to dangle their jingoism? That what really upsets me is the fact that my own memories of 9/11, my own emotions and reactions to the closest thing I’ve ever experienced to a war on American soil, are constantly being evaluated, mediated, officiated? That I can’t possibly have a moment of quiet contemplation about what the attacks did to my country, to the people I love, because I know that dissimulating fucker in the White House is going to trot out sometime today and shit all over it? That as much as I think this is an important day that we should be honoring the victims, America’s leaders have done everything in their power to make me dread each anniversary, that each of the past six years has done more to soil that honor? That no matter how much I might want to think good thoughts and maintain a patriotic attitude today, all I can think about is this disgraceful war against a country that never wronged us? That I almost never meet or talk to anyone who was in New York on 9/11, but every fucking day in this highly militarized town I see some 23-year-old vet hobbling around on a mechanical leg or being pushed down the street in a wheelchair? That no matter how hard I try, I can’t shake the absolute certainty that what we have done in the intervening years since 9/11/2001 is absolutely, demonstrably, measurably worse than what was done to us?
Instead, I just shook my head and said “sorry”. I don’t know what I was apologizing for, but I do now: to every person who died on September 11, 2001, to everyone whose lives were torn apart by violent fanatics, and to every Iraqi who suffered and died in our pointless, hapless invasion and occupation, to every soldier who’s been crippled or killed fighting a war that our ideologically blinkered leadership couldn’t be bothered to plan: sorry. Happy Patriot’s Day.