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Jewish World Review
Sept. 9, 2011
/ 10 Elul, 5771
Solving the 9/11 Invitation Controversy
Anyone wondering why a lot of Americans are in a constant state of anger and/ or depression these days, might want to take a long hard look at the ceremony in New York City marking the 10th commemoration of the worst domestic attack this country has ever endured. That's the ceremony where a bunch of self-important politicians will be jockeying with each other for their moment in the sun, emceed by the head jockey himself, Mayor Michael Bloomberg. It's an invite-only kind of affair. So who's not invited? Members of the clergy and 9/11 first responders.
I'd like to say I'm surprised, but who's kidding whom? The same Mayor with a soft spot in his heart for a mosque two blocks from Ground Zero belongs to that subset of Americans for whom religion is just so yesterday, it merits no presence at a ceremony in remembrance of almost three thousand souls who lost their lives. That many of the dead, along with their surviving relatives, believed and believe in such "silly" things as G0d, an afterlife, redemption, eternity, etc.?
The "mass hysteria" of the "clinger classes" a hysteria called faith by the clingers themselves mustn't be allowed to gum up the works of a perfectly good commemoration ceremony.
And while no one's mentioned it specifically, the bet here is a fallback excuse would be, if we let a Catholic priest talk, then we have to let a Jewish rabbi talk, then a Muslim imam, a Buddhist monk, etc. etc., in the name of fairness. Otherwise, using the same definition of fairness, we can't have anyone speak.
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Maybe I speak for a minority, but this is one American who's sick to death of this "all-inclusive or nothing" kind of nonsense. 85 percent of Americans identify themselves as Christian, and the idea that the other 15 percent gets to set the agenda in this nation goes a long way toward explaining why our culture is in moral meltdown. And understand this: I'm not advocating that because 85 percent of Americans are Christian, it would have to be a priest or a preacher leading a prayer. I one of those live and let live Americans who recognizes that "all accommodating all the time" is literally impossible in a nation of 300 million people. More importantly, I also recognize that it is precisely this kind of accommodation which is used, not to make America a more inclusive country, but to eliminate inclusion, lest anyone left out be "offended."
Nothing offends me more than terminally offended Americans and their apparatchiks at the ACLU, all of whom have spent the better part of half a century enforcing the idea that if ten thousand people like something that offends a single whiner, the whiner prevails. No one is advocating a tyranny of the majority, but tyranny of the minority, now manifesting itself more than ever in our so-called "ruling class," is even worse.
Just as offensive, if not more so, is the decision not to invite 9/11 first responders to the ceremony. These are the people who, when everyone was running away from the carnage and mayhem in downtown Manhattan, were running toward it. They're the folks who were digging through the rubble for weeks on end, often endangering their own health in the process.
Naturally Mayor Martinent has a rationale. "Family members only will be allowed to walk onto the plaza, look at their loved ones' names, look down into the voids," he said, referring to the reflecting pools at the two towers. "The first day, it's reserved for those family members who lost somebody on 9/11." Why? The Mayor's office cited "limited space" for the restriction.
Really, Mike? Then here's what I propose: total up the number of bigwig politicians and other Very Important People who have invitations to the event. Dis-invite every one of them, yourself included. Take those tickets and put them in a lottery specifically aimed at giving as many first responders an opportunity to attend the event as possible. Reserve one or two tickets for clergy as well.
That's my solution and I recognize it's a pipe dream. So here's my fallback position: I'm making a public request for volunteers among the political class. Which governor, mayor, or perhaps ex-president is willing to give his invitation to a first-responder or member of the clergy?
Any takers? Is there politician willing to park his or her ego in neutral in the spirit of generosity and kindness? I don't ever do this, but on this one occasion, I'm asking my readers to pass this column around in the hopes that either of the above proposals reaches the people it needs to reach.
It would be truly illuminating to see who would take it seriously and who wouldn't.
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© 2011, Arnold Ahlert
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