Saturday, September 10, 2011

An Assertion of Victimhood

To the best of my knowledge no public official has protested Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s efforts to turn the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks into a victim fest.

The official explanation for why the Mayor could not find room for firefighters and police officers at Sunday’s ceremony is that he wanted to limit participation to the families of the victims. He did not mention how many places were reserved for bureaucrats.

Obviously, the families of the victims should be present. But they should not be forbidden from hearing a prayer for the souls of the departed.

Mayor Mike has refused to allow clergy to participate. To do so would mean having to choose among all of America’s different religions. And, after all, if scientology or Wiccanism is left out, someone, somewhere will be offended.  They might even cast a spell on you.

There is a moral lesson here, but not the one Mayor Mike thinks he is promulgating. If you are cowering in your corner worrying about offending someone you will end up inert, inactive, ineffective, and demoralized.

While no public figures seem to care about the organization of the event, they should. The organization defines the event. Most particularly in this: excluding the heroes of 9/11 erases courage and bravery from the event.

Some Americans were victimized by the terrorist attacks. Other Americans performed actions of extraordinary courage. We should honor those who died. We should offer prayers for their souls. But we must also recognize that the first responders set an example of extraordinary civic virtue. Their example should be a beacon guiding America to better national character.

Courage is one of the highest, if not the highest, of civic virtues. Eliminating it from the ceremony asserts that we were merely victims on 9/11 and that, as victims, we need to act the part.

Mark Steyn explains that, above all else, our enemies despise our weakness: “And so we commemorate an act of war as a ‘tragic event,’ and we retreat to equivocation, cultural self-loathing, and utterly fraudulent misrepresentation about the events of the day. In the weeks after 9/11, Americans were enjoined to ask, ‘Why do they hate us?’ A better question is: ‘Why do they despise us?’ And the quickest way to figure out the answer is to visit the Peace Quilt and the Wish Tree, the Crescent of Embrace and the Hole of Bureaucratic Inertia.”

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