disclaimer and warning: I'm not a heartless bitch. The views expressed in this post are my personal response to the less than sympathetic words I've heard foreigners speak about America's responses to and American's feelings about the 9-11 terrorist attacks.
I met a Brit who said that he thought Americans over-reacted to the 9-11 attacks. He went on to say that we should get used to it and that it was about time it happened because the rest of the world has lived with terrorism for a very long time, some of it done by America itself (implied at that time, but much later said outright). He was a socialist. He was an artist which was how we ended up meeting (group art show). We tried to overlook and bypass each other's political views, but I pushed the topic as our election neared. His deep hatred of America and Americans emerged loud and clear enough that I realized he must also hate me. He also used that horrible sentence, "You're an intelligent woman, how can you support the Republicans?" As if no other view than his own is valid or intelligent. That's when I realized that even the most prejudiced Americans are more tolerant of differing opinions and ideas than this bloke. That's when I saw that I was tons more open-minded than this leftist snob. And then I realized that was the reason why so many foreigners hate the U.S. They hate us because we are so open-minded and tolerant of religious, political, ethnic, etc. differences. (Yes, I concede that not every single American is like that, but I'm speaking collectively and not individually. The fact that the KKK is still legal is evidence of America's tolerance.) We threaten their need to think that they are the One Right People. It takes their power away when their people see that in America there is no One Right Way to think or believe. (Aside from the religious fanatics, of course, but they aren't the majority.) When they lose their power they are filled with anger, fear, and hatred toward what took that power away, America.
I think all of that backgound needed to be explained for my next comments to really be understood.
When I got up this morning I felt like shit, my head hurt, my neck was stiff, and I was dizzy and tired. (No, not a hangover. I think I forgot to take my Effexor yesterday and that always makes me sick the next day.) And I had bad, stressful dreams all night. I turned on the tv and saw that London had been attacked. My first thought was (and this is evil, just-got-up-feeling-lousy thinking), 'Well, I wonder if Shithead got dead.' And then I felt strangely vindicated that he might be experiencing a little bit of the terror that we Americans felt on 9-11, especially New Yorkers. And I think I even said out loud, "But it's no 9-11. Big deal." Again, I remind you that I'm not really a heartless bitch, but I found it hard to feel bad or guilty for my unsympathetic musing about someone's possible suffering. I wondered if his potential hardship might help him to see how narrow-minded he was in his attitudes toward Americans. I struggled with my feelings and thoughts about all of it. And then I decided I didn't really care. It didn't really matter, and the likelihood of anything changing him was too little for me to hang onto.
Yes, I feel sad for the people who lost loved ones today. It's always sad when people are killed. As a whole today's attack wasn't that much more than a few carbombs in Baghdad. But just because it was in London supposedly makes it remarkable. Oh, 'that can't happen to us', right? Just like we Americans thought? Sorry, but my sympathy is all run out right about now. Try me again next week.
Maybe I am a heartless American bitch after all.