Tuesday, September 12, 2006

9/11 Consciousness

I know many folks are tired of all the 9/11 "coverage" in the MSM. And who can blame them when the Bush administration uses 9/11 relentlessly to advance its own devious right-wing agenda?

Still, there's something about 9/11 that seeps into my consciousness like water into a wall. At first you don't even know it's there. You place your palm on the sheetrock. Is it damp or just cold? Then you recognize the glistening sheen of water forming above you. See the pull of gravity around that one drip. That crystalline bead of water that hangs desperately from the ceiling. How long can it hold out? That one desperate drip clinging to ceiling, taught with tension, for what seems like an eternity. And then in a blink, it falls silently into the silver stock pot you brought up from the kitchen.

So, this is what I was thinking at 5:00 A.M. this September 12th, when I awoke from uneasy dreams that swirled around crumbling towers and the dazed looks on ash-powdered firemen and grief-stricken New Yorkers. Here it is 5 years later, and the media has pumped in a deluge of images into my consciousness again, that rainwater in my attic that will leave the brown stains of remembrance that are impossible to paint away. We may want to deny that this has an effect on us. We may want to translate the horror of that day into the comfortable understanding of myth. But the images are too terrible. The sound of the businessmen crashing onto the street are too raw to dismiss. The destruction of such a monumental structure is too compelling to just put aside.

Tragedy and destruction always fascinates and repells us, in turns, especially when it is our own. The 9/11 coverage forces us to relive the day when we were thinking not just about the death of thousands, but our own death. What would we do if we were working in one of the towers? How would we respond if we were a part of the rescue team? How would we live our last moments if we knew our plane had been hijacked? These are the questions that we faced on that day and that we are compelled to face again when we choose to watch the 9/11 story again. And this may be why we get sick of the coverage. 9/11 shook us out of our complacency and continues to rouse us out of our mindless daily routines. 9/11 compelled us to face an abyss more terrifying than the attacks themselves, the abyss of our own inevitable demise. And who in this country is ever comfortable with that thought?


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