It’s Memorial Day ten years after the two numbers that are instantly recognizable by the world – nine eleven. Bin Laden is dead and stadiums are chanting “U – S – A!”. We won, and that’s that. The whole country is chest bumping one another in victory. And for years, I’ve had holes in my socks and no one ever knew.
But here’s the thing. Look at this from a terrorist perspective. The average, pre-9/11 run-of-the-mill terrorist hated the United States. Hated our freedom, the Golden Globes, baseball’s seventh inning stretch, Thursday night must-see TV, and Fourth of July parades. It’s not that they didn’t like the Twin Towers or the people of New York City, but they despised the American culture.
Remember “The Grinch that Stole Christmas”? Think of the Grinch looking down on Who-ville with all the people singing in unison. That was Bin Laden and his minions looking down at the United States singing our brand of freedom. A country ruled by its people. The greatest and most successful political experiment in the history of the planet. They hated that singing and resolved to stop it.
And just like the Grinch, they snuck in and stole our stuff when we weren’t looking.
But unlike the people of Whoville, we changed. We didn’t still come out the next morning singing songs, but figuratively erected razor wire around our town. We permitted the police to search our stuff and listen to our phone calls and read our E-Mails. At the airport, we stand before machines with our arms raised in the air while the government looks at our bodies to see if we have anything they wouldn’t approve of. Government agents can take citizens and question them without a lawyer. And now, I need to take off my shoes and show my holey socks to everyone in the airport.
All in the name of safety. We were going keep the Grinch out. And we were so focused on the Grinch, we stopped singing.
The other Grinches are watching from the mountain top and smirking. They killed Whoville. In a perverse, Grinchy way, they won. We can chant, “U S A!” looking through chain linked fences and being frisked at football games while being oblivious that to the fact that we created a jail. And worse yet, there’s now a generation being raised who don’t know anything different. For them, this is normal. This is the United States.
Let’s bring the singing back. And most importantly, let’s no longer be embarrassed in airports by the holes in our socks.