tribute or exploitation

Splashed across the top of the CNN homepage is a banner stating: “CNN Pipeline presents CNN’s TV  coverage of 9/11/2001 free, in real time.  Starting at 8:30am.” (Read the CNN Release)

I’m not really sure what to make of this.  Part of me is disturbed that they are going to be re-airing this.  I wonder what the reasons are behind it.  Whether or not it will be used to exploit the public and continue the culture of fear that this administration likes to promote.

On the other hand, I think it is important for us to remember the events of that day.  To remember the courage of those who gave their lives to help try to save people trapped in the burning buildings.  To remember those who are still giving their lives because they helped despite the air being unsafe after the collapse.

I truly believe that Sept 11, 2001 will be one of the defining moments of my generation.  Much like the assinations of JFK and Martin Luther King Jr. were defining moments of my parents generation.  I feel that the American people rose up and did a wonderful thing in the days after the attacks.  But I also feel that the current administration has tarnished that legacy.  By continuing to promote a culture of fear, of war and of moral superiority, I feel we discount the courage and love so many people showed in the days after the attacks.

It really makes what happened in South Africa after the fall of apartheid all the more amazing when you think about it.  Here was a situation where a minority of people had been exploiting the majority population for years and years.  Yet when this situation finally came to an end, a few men had the courage and strength to stand up and say, “I forgive you.”  They worked for reconciliation and peace.

A quote from Thomas Merton’s The Seven Storey Mountain as Merton talks about Aldous Huxley’s Ends and Means:

The point of his title was this: we cannot use evil means to attain a good end.  Huxley’s chief argument was that we were using the means that precisely made good ends impossible to attain:  war, violence, reprisals, rapacity.  And he traced our impossibility to use the proper means to the fact that men were immersed in the material and animal urges of an element in their nature which was blind and crude and unspiritual. (Merton. 202-3)

One small glimpse of grace in our chaotic world.  Just imagine if we approached all our conflicts with a goal of reconciliation and peace.  With grace in our heart.  What a wonderful world that would be.

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