[wk] message

  • From: "WK32" <MikeySausage@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <wk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 16 Sep 2001 07:22:02 -0400

It's my job to have something to say.  They pay me to provide words that
help make sense of that which troubles the American soul. But in this
moment of airless shock when hot tears sting disbelieving eyes, the only
thing I can find to say, the only words that seem to fit, must be
addressed to the unknown author of this suffering.

You monster. You beast. You unspeakable bastard. What lesson did you
hope to teach us by your coward's attack on our World Trade Center, our
Pentagon, us? What was it you hoped we would learn?

Whatever it was, please know that you failed.
Did you want us to respect your cause? You just damned your cause.
Did you want to make us fear? You just steeled our resolve.
Did you want to tear us apart? You just brought us together.
Let me tell you about my people. We are a vast and quarrelsome family,
a family rent by racial, social, political and class division, but a family
nonetheless.

We're frivolous, yes, capable of expending tremendous emotional energy
on pop cultural minutiae - a singer's revealing dress, a ball team's
misfortune, a cartoon mouse. We're wealthy, too, spoiled by the ready
availability of trinkets and material goods, and maybe because of that,
we walk through life with a certain sense of blithe entitlement. We are
fundamentally decent, though-peace-loving and compassionate.

We struggle to know the right thing and to do it. And we are, the
overwhelming majority of us, people of faith, believers in a just and loving
God. Some people - you, perhaps - think that any or all of this makes us
weak. You're mistaken. We are not weak. Indeed, we are strong in ways
that cannot be measured by arsenals.

Yes, we're in pain now. We are in mourning and we are in shock.  We're
still grappling with the unreality of the awful thing you did, still working
to make ourselves understand that this isn't a special effect from some
Hollywood blockbuster, isn't the plot development from a Tom Clancy
novel.

Both in terms of the awful scope of their ambition and the probable
final death toll, your attacks are likely to go down as the worst acts of
terrorism in the history of the United States and, probably, the history
of the world. You've bloodied us as we have never been bloodied before.

But there's a gulf of difference between making us bloody and making
us fall. This is the lesson Japan was taught to its bitter sorrow the last
time anyone hit us this hard, the last time anyone brought us such abrupt
and monumental pain. When roused, we are righteous in our outrage,
terrible in our force. When provoked by this level of barbarism, we will
bear any suffering, pay any cost, go to any length, in the pursuit of
justice.

I tell you this without fear of contradiction. I know my people, as you, I
think, do not. What I know reassures me. It also causes me to tremble
with dread of the future.

In the days to come, there will be recrimination and accusation,
fingers pointing to determine whose failure allowed this to happen and
what can be done to prevent it from happening again. There will be
heightened security, misguided talk of revoking basic freedoms.

We'll go forward from this moment sobered, chastened, sad. But
determined, too. Unimaginably determined.

You see, the steel in us is not always readily apparent. That aspect
of our character is seldom understood by people who don't know us well.
On this day, the family's bickering is put on hold. As Americans we will
weep, as Americans we will mourn, and as Americans, we will rise in
defense of all that we cherish.

So I ask again: What was it you hoped to teach us? It occurs to me
that maybe you just wanted us to know the depths of your hatred. If that's
the case, consider the message received. And take this message in
exchange:  You don't know my people. You don't know what we're
capable of. You don't know what you just started. But you're about to learn.

Leonard Pitts of the Miami Herald




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