August 30, 2004

Outrageous Implications at the Convention

I admit I am predisposed to look critically at everything said at this week's Republican National Convention. And I know I need to be politically correct or risk being shouted down as an unpatriotic, unfeeling flipflopper. But two things struck me most about this made-for-TV farce: First, the utter reliance on an event that happened three years ago, and second, the implication that Republicans have a monopoly on patriotism, charity, and courage.

It was no secret that the entire convention would center on 9/11/2001. For a moment, focus on the 2001 part of that rather than the 9/11 part of that. Bush wants us all to think about the 9/11 part for obvious reasons. And he wants us NOT to think about 2002, 2003, and 2004 for other obvious reasons. Such as job losses, children being left behind, nearly 1000 American soldiers killed in Iraq, sluggish economy, utter loss of respect for America around the world, Abu Ghraib, etc., etc., etc. Republicans complain about Kerry skipping the 20-year Senate period of his biography; why should we not complain about Bush skipping his 3-year stint as President (which, lest we forget, has a lengthy job description, only one bullet of which is "Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces).

The other part galls me more. The Bush campaign has taken an American tragedy, 9/11, and turned it into a Republican tragedy. By parading relatives of the 9/11 victims across the stage, the Republican party has implied--no, all but stated--that all the good that came after 9/11 (the charitable contributions of billions of dollars, the people who worked day and night at Ground Zero, the men and women who volunteered to join the armed services or who were put into the fight as National Guard, the people who hurt and suffered and morned and rebuilt) was due specifically to George Bush and the Republican Party.

In September of 2001, ALL Americans rallied around New York, the victims of 9/11, and the government in Washington. Democrats in particular set aside their policy differences with the president (which were many) and offered support. Democrats across the land gave money, volunteered time and labor, put "United We Stand" stickers and American flags on their cars and in their windows. Democrats as well as Republicans shared in the tragedy and its aftermath, and the rebuilding that has begun from that.

For George Bush to hijack that shared experience and claim it as his own, a Republican experience, where the families of the victims are thanking the audience at the Republican convention for their support and assistance and goodwill, is simply sickening. I feel deeply for the families of the victims, American and foreign, of that dreadful event. I have tried to explain that event to my children.

9/11 was an event shared by everyone, a truly American experience. The blatant prostitution of such a sacred occurrence for a few desperate points in a political poll is truly disgusting.

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