Wednesday, September 13, 2006

However You Choose To Look At It

"Whether it's the best of times or the worst of times, it's the only time we've got."

-Art Buchwald

The Cities.

The last five days or so have been difficult, I felt an anxiety and depression over the events of 9/11 like I haven't in previous years. Not sure why. It might be because it has been five years since that day, or half a decade...however you choose to look at it. Somehow, it doesn't seem like it has been that long, and yet, doesn't seem like it actually happened a million years ago, instead of inside of our lifetime? There have been many things that occurred since then that I never thought I would see in my lifetime either... who would have even imagined that New Orleans would, in effect, be washed off the planet, and who would have thought that our own government would have done so little to bring that once vital and engaging city back to it's former glory...or even just to a livable existence. The people who live in those two cities are being let down.

The Heroes.

According to the documentary, "9/11: Toxic Legacy," which is airing on the Discover Times Channel, the Bush Administration pledged $175 million in compensation funds for the medical claims of the over 15,000 clean-up workers at ground zero who have become ill since 9/11, and then took $125 million of those funds back, when the money was not used within a certain time window. There were 40,000 men and women working to clean up ground zero, as first responders, inhaling toxic fumes and contaminents, and doing so without the proper safety equipment such as proper masks and gloves. Over 15,000, of the 40,000 have filed claims. That is a staggering statistic. It made me sick last night to listen to George Bush politicize 9/11. His insistence that the war in Iraq is a vital part to winning the war on terror, is irrational and dangerous. He and his administration are lying to us everyday, just as he did when he said that he was there for the people of New York City and New Orleans.

You and I.

As you probably know, ABC aired a two-part miniseries on Sunday and Monday night called, "The Path To 9/11," which was supposedly based on the 9/11 Commission Report. When I first saw promos for the series, it looked like it would be done in documentary form. Although I have read the report...many times...I was interested in seeing a documentary based on that report. I spend a lot of time watching factual documentaries on the History Channel, Discovery Times, and the National Geographic Channel. The thought of seeing a factual documentary, produced by one of the major networks, was a refreshing idea. Then the truth came out that it was, in fact, a dramatization of the 9/11 Commission Report.

A dramatization? What does that mean? Apparently what it meant was that the producers and writers of the television movie believed it would be ok to "dramatize" certain portions for dramatic effect. In some cases, to blatently mislead anyone who didn't actually read the report as to place considerable blame on the Clinton administration, by stating facts that never occurred in history or during the course of the commissions fact finding hearings. It's inconscionable to me. Given the events of 9/11 what exactly needed to be dramatized? Is it possible that we have become so numb to the facts of this world, that we can't tell reality from fantasy anymore? I hate the term "reality TV," and I wish it would go away. The sad truth is, sleaze sells. And we buy it. We let each other down.

Carly The Republican?

The first Tuesday in November is midterm election day here in California, as it is in many other states as well. I am a registered democrat, but it doesn't mean that I go to the polls and cast my vote without looking closely at my options. The thing is, the democratic party has given us very little to work with. Back in June, when we held our primary, I was supporting Steve Westly for governor, however, there was one thing he said during the last few days of his campaigning that put me off a good but, he looked into the camera, smiled, and said, "I am the only politician that can beat Arnold Schwarzenegger." That is supposed to be a reason to vote for him? Because he can beat Arnold Schwarzenegger? Over all I thought he was a good choice to run against Schwarzeneggar, and I voted for him, however, he lost the primary to Phil Angelides.

In the last few days, so dirty politics has taken place here in California. So dirty that I have just about come to the decision to vote for Arnold Schwarzenegger for governor. I would be voting republican for the first time since I was old enough to vote. Schwarzenegger has made his share of mistakes in office. Who could forget that amazingly bad idea from last fall known as the, "Special Election." The people of California, including myself, sent him a clear message about how we felt about that incredible waste of taxpayer money. We sent it loud, in that every single initiative he placed on the ballot was shot down. Now, here is where I have to be fair to the man, see, I really think he listened to that message, because he took personal responsibility for that failure, and in fact, apologized for not listening to the voters in the first place.

I can respect that. He is by no means the worst governor California has ever had, and I have agreed with many things he has done since he took office. He is a republican, so there are many things I don't agree with his handling of, but over all I would not completely disregard him as a governor just because of political party affiliation. Angelides is a democrat, and he is running against Schwarzenegger in November. I have very little respect for Angiledes, especially in that last few days, since the story broke about staff members from the Angelides camp, lifting audio from Schwarzenegger's web site, in an apparent move to embarrass the governor for racial remarks made during a closed door meeting last week. The Angelides camp admitted to leaking the tape to the Los Angeles Times, only after and FBI investigations indicated that they were investigating whether or not Schwarzenegger's web site had been hacked into. Angelides campaign manager insists that the audio was downloaded legally, and that anyone could have done it. So here is the question I have... If everything was so ethical, why was it leaked to the press, instead of issued to the press out in the open?

Thinking It Through...

A lot of things have been on my mind the last few days, some made me sad, some confused me, some made me angry and frustrated. The most pronounced thing that I felt, was the incredible loss of 9/11. I had the honor of dedicating and entry to one of those lost all those Tuesday's ago, David Angell. He was a fine man, and his wife was a lady of great compassion and grace. I will never feel like I did good enough with the tribute I wrote to him. In the research I did about his life, I came to know him a little bit and what he was about. He put a face and a soul on 9/11 for me.

I had actually written a tribute to the Angells' for one of my 9/11 entries, several years ago, on my AOL journal Ellipsis, so I thought writing another one would be easier somehow. It wasn't. In many ways it was much more difficult to pay true honor to him, and for the last few days I hadn't been sure why. I think I know now, as I sit here it occurs to me that since the first tribute I wrote to him in 2004, this country has had to endure two additional years of dirty politics, regarding the events of 9/11. It all adds up, and it hits one when it is least expected, and it hurts that this is what America has become in five short years, or half a decade, however you choose to look at it.

"Calla At Night"
Berkeley, California

Angelides' Aides Leaked Gov. Tape (ABC/KGO TV)


IndigoSunMoon said...

I started watching The Path to 9/11 but it made me so mad, and sad and well...everything. I had to quit watching it.
And all the footage they've, it's almost impossible to escape it.

Gaboatman said...

I couldn't watch The Path to 9/11. I started to, but had to switch after the first thirty minutes. I could not come to grips with the "Dramatization," either. The sorrows of 9/11 seem to weigh heavier on me this year, too.

Carly the republican??? Who knew? LOL! I'm glad you are taking the time to look at ALL the options before pressing the vote button.