Taking Advantage of our Sensibilities

Exhaustion and cynicism have skewed the way I view days like today.

Today is September eleventh. For many individuals around the world, simply putting these two words together draws a deep emotional response, and rightly so. There are more and more everyday, however, who remain oblivious, only grasping the significance of this day after learning of it from one of us. And that's justified as well; it never really dawned on me before today that my oldest child was born eight months after nine-eleven.

Like most of you, I'm sure, I remember where I was, what I was doing and, more importantly, the emotions I felt that day. I don't often think about it, but I was reminded this morning by a friend, she inspired me to think a little bit more about September eleventh. This will be the seventeenth anniversary that I've lived through, but might be the first time I've truly considered the totality of the situation. I remember shortly thereafter people selling ungodly amounts of novelties and trinkets and junk emblazoned with the American flag or the silhouette of those towers, or the words Never Forget. I don't know exactly what they meant by those two words, Never Forget, but it has always left me with an uneasy feeling.

Should we never forget who did this to us, take it out on them until the end of time? Should we never forget the way we felt that morning, and allow it to be the push we need to break down the walls we've erected that separate us from each other? Should we never forget that we are the ones who allowed things to get this bad, and never find peace, always second-guessing, always doubting ourselves? Or should we never forget that every single person involved in that tragedy was a human being, that try as we might to understand, construct all the straw men in the world and offer explanations that we couldn't possibly defend, remember that though we humans are capable of some astonishing, amazing things, we are just as capable of truly terrible transgressions?

I saw an ad yesterday on Reddit for Trump branded plastic straws. I don't remember what was said in the text, but the message that came across was "America, fuck yeah! Let's offend the liberals, who cares that we're destroying our planet!" I don't know what the deal with that was, I think it was probably just a meme made by some attention-starved young man living in a basement somewhere, poking fun at people he simply doesn't understand in an attempt to fill a void somewhere else in his life, probably something to do with human contact and connections, compassion, constructive use of his time. Before you sharpen your pitchforks, let me point out the absurdity of Taylor Swift making a music video to accompany a song, a video and song ostensibly combating the mocking and marginalisation of a certain subgroup of people - in her video she does nothing but mock and marginalise an entirely different subgroup of people, a bit hypocritical and counterproductive in my book. We're being taken advantage of by people with more power and influence than ourselves, all they have to do is pander to our favourite class or cause and we submit our own decision making powers in exchange for a modicum of recognition.

When I woke up this morning and saw the iterative September eleventh posts on social media and pseudo-media, and even respectable journalistic media, it made me feel uneasy. It seems like some people are all too willing to use tragedy to promote and garner support for whatever product or service or position they are pushing; some of us won't shy away from cannibalizing our own souls just to gain a bit of profit. I did make the obligatory post this morning, I hadn't planned on it but I got carried away in the emotions and saw an opportunity to take a decent photograph and upload it to social media. I intended to keep my post about positivity and progress. I wanted to stay away from political positions and ideological postures. I didn't want to use it as an opportunity to shill or promote anything other than the thing that we need most, at least in my silly opinion. I'm not sure how it came across, I'm confident there are people out there who saw my photograph and read the two sentences I wrote and took it the wrong way. I'm sure there are those didn't even read it, just passed on because they saw an American flag and didn't want any part of that, and I'm sure there are some that liked the post simply because it had an American flag and didn't bother to read what I had written.

As I get older I see more people closing themselves off, shutting down, turning off their empathy switch and becoming like the apathetic corpocrats that have been thrust upon our society. I've said it before and I will say it many more times, in our current system the key skill needed to achieve massive financial success and material wealth is apathy. Those that own the product and the productivity of we several billion humble souls will take any advantage they can get, they will take sacred things for granted and blaspheme the dignity of life itself if it gets them dollar bills. I love America, I love the ideals she was built on and the opportunities she presents, but I hate how bad we have let things get. On this day that many millions of people around the world honor and hold in solemn remembrance of a horrendous tragedy, be wary, be on the lookout for those that would try to sway you, garner your support, or relieve you of some of your hard-earned dollars, by taking advantage of your empathy and sympathy and your reverence for this somber day.

Thanks for stopping by folks, I appreciate your time and attention and I hope you all have a great day today. Remember to always think for yourself, and go out and be the best you that you can be!

Also, I apologize for the rambling, disjointed nature of this post, I'm at work and trying to get too much done all at once.

Secular Humanist writer, photographer, and quintessential millennial dilettante. Check out https://threebillionbeats.com for more, you can even buy prints!

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