Tuesday, September 13, 2005

patriot games

I made the lamentable mistake of going to the Mariners game on Sunday. No, it wasn’t a mistake because they suck. Suck to the point that even with 6 players in trouble over their use of performance enhancing drugs, we still lost over half our games so far. It was a mistake because I had not remembered that Sunday was THE day. Sunday, as everyone else in America knew, was September 11. I have usually hidden somewhere far from tributes, TV movies, or memorials. I don’t feel ownership of that tragedy. I don’t think that the pain and fear of that event should be tied up in a bow and delivered to everyone in America every year like a reward for being a citizen. I think that this glorification somehow sullies the truth of the event. I guess I want to rave from the clock tower- “this isn’t about you!” And while I don’t want us to forget September 11, we have made NO policy changes to try to keep it from happening again, so what I want people to remember is WHY September 11 happened.

When the adorable autistic child at the outfield entrance tried to give me a flag I said with a large smile, “No thank you!” I know that sounds bad, but I do not want to keep the tiny plastic flag forever and have no proper means of respectfully disposing of it. I also think that what the flag is supposed to say is not what the people handing out flags are trying to say. And I don’t want to feel that I have been misusing the symbol of our hard-won freedom to support troubling foreign policies. We arrived at our seats just in time for the tear-jerking tribute to 9/11. They pulled some returned service men from Iraq, some of our fireman who flew out to NYC to relieve theirs for funerals and continuing to deal with rubble, and all the players onto the field. We were treated to a lovely view of a huge American flag, while serenaded with several patriotic songs and a POETRY reading. All around me people were sniffling as someone spoke of the buildings falling. Then a cheer and applause went up for our service men and women, protecting America at home and abroad.

Of course, because I am a terrible person, I couldn’t get choked up about thinking of all the men and women who died on September 11, because I was too busy ruminating on Cuba. “Protecting America… abroad?” I stood there pondering the statement. All the while growling, “They better be referring to Afghanistan.” Come on guys, don’t you remember? Afghanistan was harboring our terrorist enemies (not like Syria), we simply “liberated” Iraq. I bet all the Cuban and Puerto Rican players on the field, hats off and gazing at the giant flag were feeling very liberated too.

Hey guys, remember that one time we liberated Puerto Rico, then we realized that Puerto Rico was so cool that we just decided, “What the hell, let’s keep it! But we better restrict their privileges, like electing high level officials. You know to protect them and some shit.” Or that one time we liberated Cuba. That went super great! Hey, what’s the name of the guy we put in power… starts with a C and rhymes with Astro? Awesome, we rock at this!

As the tear jerker ended I kept feeling like a failure. I try my best to be a good and patriotic citizen, but I guess maybe being a patriot means something different to me.

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