Thursday, September 11, 2008

On 9/11, Obama-McCain (Briefly) Unite - TIME

On 9/11, Obama-McCain (Briefly) Unite - TIME

There are certain things that I'll never understand in life. My husband lived in Manhattan during 9/11, and had a large number of friends and acquaintances who were killed in the bombings. I remember being glued to my TV crying most of that day (not only because of the horror of it all...not only the numbers, but also the fact that if someone was going to be bombed in the U.S., my sleepy little town in Ontario where many bombs were manufactured was a target,and because I was scared to death for my then-boyfriend who was teaching in Tennessee near one of the possible next bombing sites). Aside from personal reasons, terrorist bombings are awful no matter which way you tabulate them.

But I've got to say that in some ways I'd considerably rather see Obama and McCain meeting at a homeless shelter to commemorate the 12-40% of Americans that live in poverty over a 10 year span, meeting at a high school to discuss appropriate education for sexually active teens, a laboratory to discuss the future of science in the United States (which is a pressing issue if you look at scientific literacy rates among U.S. teenagers), rates of funding for "special needs" people in North America- any number of things. It's not an anti-American thing- Canada has consistent and huge problems with funding for low-income families, families with special needs, and child poverty. And unfortunately Canada is certainly going down the "terrorists are the worst things on earth" mindset if you look at Stephen Harper's policies, even though we have huge internal problems (hello...why aren't we rushing through legislation for immigrant doctors to help with the internal problems we have with a huge lack of GPs?.)

I hear the pain in my husband's voice every time he talks about 9/11- his wife at the time was severely disabled, and they were caught in mid-town Manhattan in the middle of the tragedy. It took him a very long time to get her home safely, and then make his way to Ground Zero to offer whatever help he could. I'm still horrified every time I think about it, and i wasn't directly involved.

I don't think that anyone could argue that terrorism isn't bad, worthy of attention, or worthy of combating in an intelligent way. But I grew up learning from boat people who had escaped from Vietnam and other Eastern countries (my parents' church sponsored 6 families in the 70s, so they became part of our family), Cubans (fortunately Canadians can go to Cuba, and our dollars help to make a lot of Cuban families' lives better if you do it intelligently), people from Eastern Europe, as well as Jewish and Egyptian and Irish and Iranian friends who faced terrorism on a daily basis, that 3000 people dead is horrendous no matter which way you cut it, but with all of the challenges facing the world right now, my guess is that there are other issues which should possibly take precedence if you're trying to become President of the United States.

As a Canadian I have a vested interested in seeing a "good" U.S. President. Like it or not, the rest of the western world unfortunately has a vested interest in the U.S. election. That's scary with the way that things are going right now.

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