Friday, September 12, 2008

Time Better Spent

I wanted to post yesterday about 9 - 11. But, the day marched along as the days always do. It was a lovely Autumn day. Instead of being out in the sunshine, my son donned his navy blue blazer and grey slacks. I dug around for some item of corporately appropriate clothing. And we went downtown to attend a luncheon hosted by the New Pittsburgh Courier.

We were there to celebrate 50 Women Of Excellence. My mother was one of the 50 women honoured. She’s usually being honoured for something. Even Winston has started to pick up on the fact that every time I say the word “grandmother,” it means wearing a blazer. He doesn’t mind. He loves his suits. And he loves his grandmother. Cake, ice cream, chocolate or all three are often part of the process.

The fact that it was 9 - 11 just didn’t feel all that big to me yesterday. On the actual day, I remember it just didn’t register. M. Ayodele Heath, a formidable poet was in town to read for the poetry series I was producing. I’d lined up a bunch of school performance/workshops for him. We arrived at the first school, Winchester-Thurston. The private school cancelled. They were sending the poor, shocked darlings home.

So, we went to the next school, a public school, the Creative And Performing Arts School. I checked in to see if they were cancelling and sending the children home. The answer was an unequivocal no, the show must go on. The children filed into the auditorium. Ayodele performed. I performed. Then, we answered questions. Our final message was that as artists, they could use their voices to make change in the world. They could use their talents to create a world in which people from other places didn’t want to fly aeroplanes into our buildings.

The day went on seven years ago, just as yesterday came and went without a post about 9-11. After the luncheon, we walked around downtown looking at the tall buildings and small parks. It truly is a lovely city. Winston misses the urban environment. So much of our time their was spent meandering the streets.

When we went to to New York last month, my nephew wanted to see Ground Zero. So, we went. We went to the memorial. We looked at the hole. We left. I kind of shrugged. We were in London for 7-7. There is no memorial at Kings Cross or Tavistock Square. By evening, people were riding buses, taking trains and walking through the city. The next day people had picked themselves up and moved on.

People mourned. People were sad. It was a tragedy. Most cities in the world have people in them who remember having been bombed. Most cities in the world have experienced terrorist attacks. Right now, somewhere in the world a child is having nightmares because of gunfire in their streets or village. And here we are, seven years later in an endless war because we’re so special.

Instead of waking up and figuring out why people might want to bring this type of activity to American soil, we take that same behaviour to another country. Here we are seven years later, still whining and still trying to put irrational, self-interested, greedy people in office. My heart goes out to people who lost family members seven years ago. But, my heart especially goes out to the family members of the military and the people of Iraq. There are more dead because of this war then the number of people who died that day. they are all senseless deaths.

This has got to change. I’m hoping people can bring Obama to the White House. It is our only hope. I can’t stand another four years of public hand-wringing about 9-11. I can’t stand another four years of private cackling and coins clinking in personal coffers. My time was better spent yesterday celebrating 50 Black Women Of Excellence.

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