An Alternate History

For some time now I’ve been trying to compose the speech President Bush should’ve given on 9/11/01. Someone much wiser beat me to it:

My fellow Americans: We have been hit. The attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon have damaged every one of us. We are filled with anger and rage, for in 200 years our country has never experienced such an attack from the outside.So everything in us cries out for revenge. Should we give in to this cry? It would be the easier way. And I am sure you would support me if I mobilized our troops to hunt down the terrorists and those who helped them wherever they are hiding.

But I propose to take another route. It may baffle you, even infuriate you, at first hearing. But I ask that you consider it with care. (more…)

Creature Fear

Here’s what some of our spiritual forefathers believed:

We do not acknowledge allegiance to any human government. We recognize but one King and Lawgiver, one Judge and Ruler of mankind. Our country is the world, our countrymen are all mankind. We love the land of our nativity only as we love all other lands. The interests and rights of American citizens are not dearer to us than those of the whole human race. Hence we can allow no appeal to patriotism to revenge any national insult or injury…

Excerpt from the “Declaration of Sentiments Adopted by Peace Convention” (Boston, 1838).

Something to keep in mind as we close out the Olympics and approach 9/11/08.

Where’s your lapel pin?

Nearly 85,000 days have passed since John Hancock signed our Declaration of Independence. Yesterday we celebrated with triumphant patriotism and copious amounts of gunpowder, imported from our chief creditor. One of the ironies of this is that our nation was borne out of the Enlightenment, a true product of its age. Fingerprints of the zeitgeist are all over our founding documents. Yet many of the Enlightenment thinkers despised patriotism and nationalism. They felt that the world was now so multicultural and cosmopolitan — this is 18th century remember, before even Thomas Friedman — that narrow-minded allegiance to one country above all others was ignorant, shallow, backward. Over two centuries later, perhaps the United States of Amnesia has forgotten a few things.