Posted by Wordsmith on 12 September, 2018 at 12:08 pm. 2 comments already!

Following the attacks of 9/11 in 2001 against the people and government of the United States, I believe this was President George Bush’s finest hour:

I will forever be grateful to this nation that George W. Bush was elected to the presidency in that moment and not Al Gore.

In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, we were one nation. Not Republicans. Not Democrats. Not Independents. Not blacks. Whites. Hispanics. Asians. American-Indians. Lutherans. Mormons. Christians. Muslims. Hindu. Aetheists. Progressives. Conservatives. Gays. Trans. Heteros. Male. Female. Vegans. Etc., etc.

On 9/12, we were all simply Americans.

Strangers helped strangers- because we were all tied together by the kinship of citizenry. Ordinary citizens volunteered to be 2nd responders in the aftermath and clean-up. Patriotism was tangible. Military recruiting stations were turning away volunteers. The president- regardless of the “R” next to his name- enjoyed a 92% approval rating at its peak, with a steady 80-90% for the four months following the attacks.

That was 17 years ago.

On 9/11/2018? We are a fragmented society, once more.

For some of us, the memory of 9/11 has all but faded and for these Americans they choose to try and forget and are irritated by the reminder. They’ve moved on. They hardly take a pause in their day to memorialize or honor the fallen and the heroes of that day.

President Bush had always wanted to be known as a uniter and not a divider. He was the compassionate conservative who tried to reach across the aisle; who maintained his civility and humor in the face of growing political and personal criticism and division from the “loyal” opposition. He alienated conservatives within his own party with TARP and auto bailouts. “I’ve abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system,” he said at the time.  9/11 attack hindsight blame. Afghanistan.  Iraq.  Katrina.  The financial crisis.  All of these divisive issues contributed to seeing a Bush-weary populace elect a hope and change post-racial candidate in Barack H. Obama.  But President Obama did little to reach across the aisle and make attempts to unite the country (i.e., left and right); he did not do enough to stamp out the smouldering flames of racial animus.  If George Bush gave rise to President Obama, then it was President Obama and George Bush (i.e., establishment Republicans and RINOs in Washington) that paved the way for a Donald Trump to ride in on a wave of anti-Establishment feelings and populist anger.  And the division in this country has only widened even more.  Unfortunately, Donald Trump has done little to overcome that division; he may, in fact, be incapable of uniting this country; and not entirely due to his own shortcomings and failings, but because the progressives have totally lost their minds.

Bush Derangement Syndrome was a real affliction.  So was Obama Derangement Syndrome (although I know readers here won’t like to hear of it).  And so too is Trump Derangement Syndrome.  It takes two to tango, and the left side of the aisle is doing nothing to draw the country together, unless it’s on their terms:  Unite in bashing Trump.

Readers here are aware that I am not a fan of the Donald.  But I’m still a believer in conservative principles and ideology.

Yesterday, I saw ridiculous headlines and articles coming from mainstream media that still claims they are telling it like it is and reporting straight news stories.  I only saw one article that actually credited President Trump with delivering a presidential speech yesterday, in honor of the passengers on Flight 93.  Everything else was just petty, partisan political derangement that had no place on a solemn day like 9/11.  They brought up old stories as if they’re telling something new about Trump boasting his Tower was now the tallest since the Trade Center Towers were knocked down; that he claimed thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrated dancing in the streets.  His claims about losing a lot of friends on 9/11 (debunking it by saying there are no records of him attending the funeral of a 9/11 victim/friend).  They knitpicked the order and content of his Tweets- not enough 9/11-memorializing for them.

During McCain’s memorial service, they could not gush enough over the decent presidents- Obama, Clinton, Bush- and rubbed it in Trump’s face on how he was not invited.  The press was all a twitter over how the speeches from Obama, Bush, and Meghan were all bashing Trump.  I think Meghan’s was the most blatant; but the press has even conservatives fooled into exaggerating Bush’s “attack”, which was indirect at best and no more alarmist than his veiled criticism of Obama, which conservatives forget when they say “for 8 years he’s been silent and now he chooses not to honor the tradition of not criticizing the sitting president?”.  The press made it a point to ridicule and mock Trump because he played golf during the Services.  That’s just petty.  What else should he have been doing?!  It’s news bias by inclusion like this that makes stories out of non-stories that is just one reason why claims by conservatives of liberal bias in the media are well-founded and not just fabrication and imagination.  No, truth does not have a liberal bias.

The country is divided.  We are not united Americans but left and right.  United we stand.  Divided we Sit or Kneel.

 even if I bought into the perception that blacks are overwhelmingly targeted by the police (issue is complicated and I do not want to make a long response even longer by getting into it here), the time and place for airing one’s personal politics should not be during the one ceremony that unites the country; otherwise, what’s to limit the act of protest to Kaepernick’s pet political protest? What’s to stop the next person to sit or kneel for any variety of pet political grievance? Abortion? Religious profiling? 2nd Amendment? Climate change? PETA? Fricken cripes….for just over one minute, can’t we all just stand together as one nation, in a show of solidarity? It is inappropriate, as a matter of decorum- not whether or not a citizen has the right- to stand as a show of respect to the flag. To not do so is a disrespect to societal manners. How are people expected to behave at weddings? At church? At a graduation ceremony? Would it be appropriate to take a knee due to injustices in the country and to make a symbolic political show to draw attention to yourself and your pet political peeve? Ram one’s belief down every guest’s throat because in public venues, the most appropriate time to draw attention to one’s cause is when it’s most inappropriate and profane.

I find the Kaepernick dilemma depressing.  Because I don’t think there is any going back.  Nothing is off the table, now.  Nothing is profane.

A state official takes a knee during the Pledge of Allegiance.

Children are now taking a knee at school during the Pledge. And it’s accepted because, hey, Kaepernick’s a hero.  It’s a Constitutional right.  Freedom of expression.

NFL players continue to take a knee, whether it’s to show solidarity with Kaepernick, to support his stated cause (which I still think is misguided and inaccurate), or to show defiance of Trump- the dumbest of reasons to abandon decorum and traditional ceremony of respect.  Respect to our nation.  Respect to those who have given us our freedom, which that flag represents.

Some defenders of Kaepernick like to point out supposed hypocrisy because Kaepernick is criticized loudly but then what about fans going to the restroom in the middle of the National Anthem?  Talking?  Not standing formally at attention?  Etc.

For one, these people don’t have the national spotlight on them.  And two, I do get bothered by those around me who aren’t standing with proper protocol.  Yes, it’s their freedom to behave like idiots, of course; on purpose or otherwise.  Three, those people aren’t making a political statement by fidgeting.  Perhaps they are if they are intentionally sitting on the bleachers.  Some Americans simply aren’t patriotic lovers of this country and what it’s given them.  And I do not praise them for it.

I can see all social norms of decency and decorum break down on account of all the attention drawn to Kaepernick (In my opinion, his action should just have been largely ignored.  I believe Trump interjecting himself has exacerbated and martyred Kaepernick into a national folk hero to half of our countrymen who are claiming he’s going to go down in history as the Rosa Parks of our generation- like some great civil rights champion).

I was thinking about this while watching the solemnity of the 9/11 Commemoration services going on in New York City, with the names of each of the near 3,000 victims being called out.  Everyone in the audience were behaved and standing with proper decorum and respect.  But what a perfect opportunity, time, and place to draw attention to oneself by taking a knee….or being disruptive (like the clowns at the Kavanaugh hearing)- all as an act of protest for whatever one’s pet political peeve and grievance may be.  Maybe it’s to protest how Arabs are unfairly discriminated against and targeted for profiling; maybe it’s to draw attention to the on-going conflicts in the Middle East and how it’s all because of United States imperialism and greed.

We were all raised from childhood to behave in certain ways that are consistent with manners, decency, ceremony, decorum in polite society.  There are simply civilized ways to behave and uncivilized ways.  Kaepernick breaks those traditions.  Those rules.  Because he has the freedom to do so without persecution from the government.  As well he should.  But having the freedom to do something doesn’t mean he should.  What’s at stake here?

National unity.

Today is September 12th, the day after 9/11.  And in 2018, our country stands as a nation divided; and brought to its knee.

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