Tuesday, September 11, 2012

On Politicizing September 11, 2001

The media wanted us to know that the campaigns of both presidential candidates were going silent Tuesday, as our nation remembered the events of September 11, 2001.  They pulled negative tv ads and would not be out on the campaign trail. Unfortunately, someone forgot to tell the president's social media person.

President Obama and Vice President Biden made remarks at memorials and Mitt Romney spoke to the National Guard Association convention in Nevada.

Then we were alerted to something on Twitter. Tweets from the two presidential candidates were contrasted in this article on the day of 9/11/12.
Barack Obama ✔BarackObama
The election is in 8 weeks. Sign up to volunteer: OFA.BO/s3tXFz
Mitt Romney @MittRomney
On this most somber day, America is united under God in its quest for peace and freedom at home and across the world.

Hmm. Obama asks for volunteers on Twitter and Mitt Romney notes the "somber day".  Then, a bit later in the day, Obama campaign leader, David Axelrod tweeted a slam against Romney supporter, Las Vegas casino owner Sheldon Adelson, and a potential tax break. It was not in the spirit of the day, to say the least. It's like they just couldn't stare down the temptation to make this just another day in petty partisan politics.

I chose to put myself on a bit of a hiatus from social media Tuesday so as not to be sucked into it all.  I made that decision after witnessing the beginning of some hate-filled tweets on Twitter late last night as I checked my account before retiring for the night. I read the standard stuff - those still suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome insisting that George W Bush knew about the planned attack and didn't stop it, and those on the other side who insist on arguing otherwise.  Some of the tweets were enough to turn my stomach so it was an easy decision to make, to walk away from social media for the next day.

I fail to see how it does anything but demean the sanctity of the day to spiral into such ugliness.  I think that there are so many other venues that need attention that wasting time going over eleven year old arguments every year at this time is just, frankly, tedious.  It certainly does not show respect for those who lost the most that day - those families who still suffer and always will with the memories of that day.

It is difficult enough to understand the notion pushed forward that maybe it's time to stop the specific recognition of the date. Yes, it has been eleven years now. So? Who does not understand that the events of September 11, 2001 changed our country forever? Who doesn't remember what they were doing that day when the news came through? If we begin to treat it as any other day, just another day in history, we fall into the trap that we should not be ever vigilant.

We can't unwind the clock. Politicizing the day is so completely disrespectful to all us - whether it is a grieving family or a voter.  President George W. Bush forged through and led us into uncharted territory.  In his 2004 re-election campaign, when he was deeply unpopular, a brief reference to 9/11/01 was made in a campaign ad.  It was legitimate, as his leadership during the aftermath is his legacy, yet those opposed to his re-election railed about politicizing 9/11. Now, this year, with Osama bin Laden dead, Barack Obama's campaign is the beneficiary of a rather lengthy video from the DNC touting that event.

It is too soon for September 11, 2001 to be just another day, as December 7th has become - the only other day our nation suffered a devastating attack on our soil. The first World Trade Center bombing in 1993 was just as much a warning for September 11 as any memo issued to the Bush administration. That is something to keep in mind.

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