Patriot Day is actually my favorite holiday. I think it was very kind and gracious of former President George W. Bush to honor me with a holiday celebrating my birthday even though I didn’t vote for him. Yeah, it’s true; today really is my birthday and I have mixed thoughts on that. For starters, I think calling it “Patriot Day” commercializes and trivializes the tragedy. I can imagine commercials advertising for Patriot Day clearance sales.
I remember the days after these tragic events I thought that the world was ready grow. I even thought that humanity itself might be in such a position. I thought that such a tragedy could inspire people to be better and rise to a new level of consciousness. We could say, “Never again” and work toward being better people. We could embrace the best of humanity paving the way for a Star Trek type future. That was pretty naïve.
Instead, we sold out and became worse people. We became quick to war, more judgmental of people who were different, more isolationistic in our thinking, less compassionate, and more accepting of torture… among other things. Worse yet, we tried to fight religious conviction with more religious conviction.
I remember all the signs that went up everywhere declaring, “God Bless America,” “God Loves America,” and “In God We Trust.” Very few signs actually had the positive messages I was hoping for like, “United We Stand,” or “E Pluribus Unum.”
We have become a people who look backward instead of forward. Instead of dwelling on remembering what happened on September 11th 2001, we should be thinking about how this tragedy should change us. What kind of people are we? What kind of people do we want to be? How do we get there from here?
That’s what I want for my Birthday; I want people to start being better people. To start to realize that we are all on this little sphere together and that we can all work together to create a better future — a future in which religious zealots don’t fly planes into buildings and governments reallocate their war budgets on sending people to other planets in the interest of science and exploration.