Stop politicizing 9/11

September 12, 2018 |

Today, I’ll get back to commenting on politics, but I think that 9/11 is a time to set that aside and concentrate on remembrances of the victims, prayers for their survivors and showing unity as Americans.  Unfortunately, some people in politics and the media still don’t seem to understand the immense gravity of what happened on September 11, 2001, and that it is not an appropriate time or subject for cheap shots on political opponents.  

But if they haven’t figured out yet that there are certain things you don’t sully and demean by dragging them into the political arena, they got a very harsh public reminder yesterday.  Nicholas Haros Jr., whose mother was killed in the attack on the Twin Towers, took a moment during the memorial ceremony to call out three Democrats – Rep. Nancy Pelosi, former CIA chief John Brennan and Sen. Corey Booker – for making politically-motivated comments that trivialized 9/11.  

Haros pleaded, “Stop, stop. Please, stop using the bones and ashes of our loved ones as props in your political theater. Their lives, sacrifices and death are worth so much more. Let’s not trivialize them or us, it hurts. To my mom and to all of you and your loved ones, never forget.”  His rebuke drew strong applause from the crowd, and I hope, from everyone with a shred of human decency.

I’m sad to report that that latter group (everyone with a shred of human decency) might no longer include MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, who not only failed to observe the “no political attacks on 9/11” rule, he bravely (or so he thinks) defied it with a monologue and op-ed declaring President Trump to be a bigger danger to America than the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 innocent people.  

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Everyone has a right to his or her own opinion about the Trump Administration, even if it’s mostly based on twisted reportage and outright falsehoods, which many of the arguments in Scarborough’s piece are (for instance, I’m still trying to figure out how a democratically-elected President is a “threat to democracy” while a pack of rabid partisans trying to undo the results of his legitimate election by any means necessary are somehow protectors of democracy.)  Everyone has a First Amendment right to write or say things that may be blatantly biased, factually-challenged or even offensive to many, such as trivializing 9/11. You even have a right to do such a thing on September 11th.  But that doesn't mean you should do it, and don’t be surprised if the message received by your audience is not the one you intended to send.  

Judging by comments on Twitter and other forums, even from self-described Trump critics, Scarborough’s op-ed titled “Trump is harming the dream of America more than any foreign adversary ever could” might as well have been titled, “I am an Oblivious, Insensitive Jerk: Read On For Proof.”


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