Monday, September 10, 2012

9-11 Then and Now

Emotionally draining weekend past week and tomorrow won't be better. 9-11, it's still fresh to me like it was yesterday. The tears and grief hit me every time. People who weren't there just don't understand. At the time my sister and I lived in D.C. She was working and I was attending law school. I didn't know where my sister was, and since she worked next door to the White House at the time, I was a complete mess freaking out because I couldn't reach her. It started when I walked into my part-time job at the Georgetown Law Alumni Office and my co-worker said, "a plane just went into the World Trade Center." I thought she meant one of those little bi-planes that celebrities fly. In my wildest imagination I never thought it could be a 747 that would bring the entire complex down. Then I heard about the plane that hit the Pentagon and the one that was headed for the White House. When I finally heard from my sister, I was relieved to hear that she was with someone who would really take care of her. They're married now, and I don't doubt that having shared that experience brought them together closer.

When all of that happened, people in the U.S. appreciated being Americans and having such great freedom that others would attack us for it. It seems like when the economy went South, people forgot that and just focused on how they weren't achieving the mythical American dream. We can argue day and night about who's responsible for the housing market foreclosure debacles, but the point is that we can argue about it and anything else we want. Maybe we can't all live in 4500 sq.ft. houses built on nothing, but we all still have the freedom to think the way we want, to say what we want, and to take charge of our lives in a way that most other people in the world can't even begin to fathom. Having essentially grown up in this country, I embrace American ideals of freedom and liberty and justice for all. I even became a lawyer so that I could make the law my livelihood.

So when I hear of people in America committing atrocities because that's the way it was/is done in the old country, that just makes me sick. If you are going to act like that, then just leave. Don't give your daughters in arranged marriages when they are 3 years old. Don't buy girls through smugglers so you can use them as household servants or sex slaves. Don't beat your sons with baseball bats so they will get straight As in school. If you are here, then really be HERE and not try to re-create some sort of social enclave that only includes everyone that is from your country of origin. If you don't like it, again, just leave. Obviously I'm very bitter over something that has happened to my family recently with the excuse of it being culturally acceptable in the ancestral homeland. Well, I'm an American citizen and an officer of the court in New York and California and I am not going to excuse it, accept it, or condone it even a little bit. There are all sorts of terrorists--some fly planes into the World Trade Center and some terrorize members of their own family. Neither of these are acceptable. Zero-tolerance policy for terrorism! 9-11, never forget!

No comments: