Once again it's the anniversary of 9/11 and once again the speeches are being made, the beloved dead memorialized through moving testimonials and continued devotion. The United States will undergo its ongoing grieving process, the grieving process that seemingly never allows itself respite or rest, or even reflection.
And yes, I acknowledge that 9/11 was a terrible day, and a terrible tragedy, and the lives that were lost were precious and irrecoverable. These irreplaceable human beings will always be mourned and missed by their countrymen, their families, their friends, and sweethearts.
But goddammit, let us also acknowledge that every single day people all over the world are in danger of being bombed, being shot, being terrorized, being killed. And their lives are precious too, every single one of them.
We can honor the dead, but we can also do our best to honor the living by trying to make this a better world to live in.
In the United States we can enact legislation so that our children can grow up healthy and well-educated . We can guarantee that the poor and elderly will find resources to help them live meaningful lives. We can and must learn to acknowledge the reality of global climate change and endow the research necessary to do something about it while there's still time.
We must learn the path of diplomacy in world affairs. This old earth cannot continue the old ways of war and carnage. We must think of ourselves as fellow human beings, not warring tribes.
I truly believe a fitting tribute to those who lost their lives on 9/ll would be to make a sincere start toward making our country, and our planet, a better place to live. Don't ever be fooled into thinking you can't make a difference. We can all start where we are, in our own communities. We can elect local officials to work for us, and we can hold them responsible for their actions. Heck, if there isn't anybody worth voting for in your community, run for office yourself. Work like you were living in the early days of a better future.
Remember that the President of this country is not a king; he does not issue fiats. Laws come from the legislative branch, and we are the ones who elect those legislators. If they don't act responsibly, if they do not act in the interests of their constituency, we can make it very clear to them that they have lost our support. Make your voice heard, and it will join with other voices until all our voices cannot be ignored.
And most simply, but perhaps most importantly of all, every single day we can either make the world a slightly better place, or a slightly worse place, by our own individual actions. We each set off our own ripple effect. We can be kind, or we can be mean-spirited. We can empathize, or we can despise. We can fight stupidity or we can settle into apathy.
We can honor the dead, but we can also do our best to honor the living by trying to make this a better world to live in, in any way we can - in every way we can.