Saturday, September 11, 2010

25,000 who survived on 9-11

It was supposed to be the Democratic Primary for Mayor of NY. Mark Green was the front runner. Mike Bloomberg was kind of a joke, another really rich guy who wanted to buy his way into public office and political power.

The primary in September, 2001, was where the mayoral election in October would be decided. The Democrat most likely to be nominated was considered a shoo-in in the general election in November. So getting the right Democrat for the NYC mayoral race was the order of the day on September 11th.

Because this was effectively the election that would choose NYC's next mayor, a lot of people were off voting on the morning of Sept 11. That is why there were only 25,000 people in the building, instead of the 50,000 on ordinary mornings around 9 or ten.

But the election wasn't the only thing contributing to the 25,000 who happened to not be at the Towers.

For many families, September 11, 2001, the first Tuesday after the long Labor Day weekend, happened also to be the First Day of School. Parents were late to work at the Trade Center because they were personally dropping off the kids at school. So they weren't there and didn't die.

Tuesday, September 11, 2001 also happened to be the day after Monday Night Football, the season opener, which happened to be the NY Giants against the Denver Broncos, a rematch of the legendary Giant Superbowl Championship of 1986. The game was in Denver. On the night of September 11, Giants fans all across the tri-state area parked themselves in front of the tube, with a healthy supply of superb munchies and beer. They dug in for the game, way past their bedtime on a work night.


In sum, many people who had watched the Giants MNF game the night before, were tired, maybe hungover, definitely ticked, annoyed, irritated, or pissed off and depressed due to Denver handing the Giants their asses. So they overslept and made like slugs and ended up late for work. Indeed, on that morning-after, the achy, lingering putrescence of New York Giants loss may have actually saved the lives of thousands of New Yorkers.

And then, of course, you had the incomparable contribution of the Fire Department of New York, the New York Police Department, the Port Authority police, and various Court Officers, Marshals and security throughout the downtown area. They got at least 25,000 people out of the Towers before the buildings collapsed. Talk about the ultimate sacrifice.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Oy vey! They're building a mosque at Ground Zero!

The only way someone could be upset about this is if he or she equates Islam with terrorism and assumes that all or most Moslems sponsor or approve of anti-American terrorism. That is a grossly erroneous assumption.

Islam didn't call for the attack on the WTC. Extremism and radical fundamentalism well as sheer, batshit crazy, criminal impulse.

Supporting the building of the Cordova center two blocks from "Ground Zero" is not just some knee-jerk "politically-correct" attempt at appeasement of a hostile population. This is to give members of one religion the same access that an American city would give to *any* religion. It is to remain true to our democratic principles of equality and religious freedom.

Yes, it creates -- or rather affirms, since there was already a Mosque in the vicinity of Ground Zero -- an Islamic presence in the area. But this is an Islamic institution whose own principles stand in stark opposition to the violent radical fundamentalism of various Wahabist sects. This mosque openly embraces diversity in faiths and advocates tolerance. It will further cultivate and support moderate, mainstream Islamic communities who are integrated in and invested in their greater American communities. This can only be a good thing. It is crucial that Americans support and help to cultivate mainstream, moderate Islamic communities. That is a cornerstone in the delegitimization of the violent, fundamentalist sects.

Where building a house of worship in a given community is at issue, if we start saying that a different standard for approval applies to Moslems than the one for everybody else, we've just stepped out onto the same slippery logical continuum as the 1938 laws in Germany -- Jewish doctors are not allowed to treat Aryan patients; Jewish teachers cannot teach at public schools; Jewish citizens are banned from serving in public office -- or as imprisoning Japanese American citizens in internment camps. There is no principled distinction between these measures. The difference is only of degree.

And what the fuck is this development lately in our country that it is okay to attempt to surgically strike out certain fundamental civil rights of individuals, based on how certain people look or based on their religion???

This ain't right, Jeff. You know what I'm talkin' about.