First, in the interest of full disclosure, I am writing my weekly “Sunday” column, on Wednesday, anticipating the time constraints of the next four or five days. That being said, Thanksgiving will have already passed, so here are a few of the things plan to take note of, thankfully, on Thursday.
Without question, family and friends. There is arguably nothing more important in life than the good health and happiness of those we hold dear. With a 13, 12 and 4-year old, I’m more than aware of the blessing of healthy kids. I also will give thanks for another year of general safety within the country. In the wake of the Ft. Hood disaster, it is no longer possible to say we haven’t had a terrorist attack on our soil since 9/11, but we haven’t had one of the magnitude of 9/11, and for that I’m thankful.
My gratitude this year however, was, and is, tainted by the distant stench of ineptitude. It’s not as distant as I’d like it to be, either, and depending on the wind, it sometimes feels very close. The almost daily missives from Washington, D.C. leave some of us feeling as though we’re stuck in a bad Twilight Zone episode. The kind of cavalier attitude regarding the events in Ft. Hood, followed, just days later, by the stunning announcement that some 9/11 terrorists will be tried in New York City. This, followed, just days later, by the announcement that some navy Seals will be tried on assault charges stemming from an arrest incident. Then, the “don’t bother getting a mammogram until you’re 50″ announcement, just as people are wondering about diminished care being a highlight of the new health care bill. Some bedside manner, huh?
Sometimes I ask my kids, “are you TRYING to piss me off?” This is how about half of the country, including myself, feel about the Obama administration right now. A delayed response to the needs of our troops in Afghanistan, on the other hand, fervent pursuit of passage of the health care bill, even including 100 million dollar pay-offs when necessary, in broad daylight.
Misplaced attention, while the economy continues to tank, on pet projects of the majority party, and absent any meaningful dialogue with the other side on concessions or opposing ideas.
For me, it’s easy to remember why we are fooling ourselves in this vain attempt to demonstrate our “fairness” to the rest of the world. While our judicial system may be the envy of the world, it is at times equally laughable, for instance, it’s inability to convict O.J. Simpson in spite of evidence that was beyond overwhelming. The world must laugh at us, then, as we parse our legal language down to such tiny snippets that “justice” is little more than a bumper sticker. I watched a member of the terrorist defense team argue that 3,000 people weren’t murdered on 9/11, and besides, it was less than that.
Then, I imagine a mother and her daughters leaving Boston on an airliner. She’s getting out books for the kids, or I-Pods and settling in for the beginning of a vacation, or a trip to see relatives. Somewhere else, her husband is at work, imagining them on the plane, and smiling. Or maybe a husband, leaving on business, and thinking of his family at home, already anticipating the end of his trip, and wishing he was on his flight home.
Then, at the FAA Center in Nashua, something odd occurs. They lose radio contact with the aircraft. First, it causes no great concern, but after several attempts, it gains the attention of managers and senior controllers. Something is wrong. In what will seem like the blink of en eye, they will have their answer, and it is a heartbreaking one.
Back on the plane, something odd has happened and their is some chaos near the cockpit. The mother tries to divert the children’s attention. Sadly, in the blink of an eye, they, too, will know that something has gone horribly wrong. In just a short time, those innocent people, and just under 3,000 like them, will endure a brief, and horribly violent death. A merciless death, preceded by, in the case of the passengers, an ample amount of time to understand the gravity of the situation, and ample amount of time to be completely terrified. You know you’re about to die. You think of your loved ones.
It sucks to think about it, doesn’t it? It hurts to think about it. But more of us need to, in deference to those who died, we owe them that, and to remind ourselves of the enemy we are facing here.
Trials? Juries? Defense lawyers paid for by tax dollars? An almost assured multi-year event costing tens of millions of dollars, which in the end will have been the trial of America, not the terrorists. And Europe will snicker, as they should, along with the rest of the world as they watch our self-absorbed, narcissistic attempt to demonstrate “justice” to the rest of the world. You know…Chris Mathews may have a chill running up his leg…I’ve got one running up my spine.