Saturday, September 10, 2016
Should we forget the phrase "Never Forget"
On the morning of September 11th, 2001 I was sitting in Dr. Sennett's 600 level philosophy class. Dr. Rae interrupted our class, and as he entered the room, he looked as if someone close to us on campus had just died horribly. He informed us all to go quickly to chapel. My 70 mile trip home from seminary afterwards was one of the longest rides of my life.
As we approach the 15th anniversary of the Sept 11th attacks, I simply can't see the value of perpetuating the phrase "Never Forget." The phrase doesn't keep us vigilant, it keeps shackled to our past and to an enemy that frankly doesn't exist in the same way it did then. Instead, we've created a new enemy.
Global terrorism and the death rates associated with terrorism has increased by 4,500 % since our response to the terrorist attacks. We should remember, ISIS/ISL didn't even exist in 2001.
It's time to realize we are embroiled in a vitriolic battle of ideologies, not of nations.
This battle we face will not be won with military might, that's something to remember.
For a better perspective consider this. You might be surprised that one of our greatest allies today, Great Britain, once stormed our Capitol during the War of 1812 and torched the White House. Today, German companies dot the American landscape, and the Japaneses own a lot our debt -- last year they passed up China: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-04-15/japan-snaps-china-s-six-year-run-as-top-holder-of-treasuries
Am I suggesting we one day will become allies with radical Islamic jihadists? A better question might be: What's the alternative, an extermination of them or us? I don't how to move forward and solve this issue, but I know chanting "Never Forget" doesn't honor our fallen. What best honors the dead is creating new life, making a brighter future, and fixing problems -- not fixating on past wounds.
Have you ever read "Bury my heart at wounded knee," and are you up to speed how we treat tribal nations on our own soil today? What about the rift we once suffered during our own Civil War? What about the fact that for too long during an embarrassing period of our nation's history, American women couldn't vote, nor could our minorities.... We should also be thankful the citizens of Dresden, Berlin, and especially the people of Hiroshima & Nagasaki don't wave banners with slogans like "Never Forget."
It's not unpatriotic to say we need a better slogan, one that brings healing -- letting go of one that ties us to a painful past. Maybe on disturbing anniversaries like 9/11 we need a new slogan, something like, "We'll always move forward"