Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A 9/11 Song of the Day, with Commentary - Dear Mr. President - P!nk

Dear Mr. President, 
Come take a walk with me. 
Let's pretend we're just two people 
And you're not better than me. 
I'd like to ask you some questions if we can speak honestly. 

Twelve years ago today, one of the most terrible tragedies to ever befall this great country of ours took place. The events of September 11th, 2001 changed forever those of us who were unlucky enough to witness what happened on that terrible day.  I've written plenty over the years about how 9/11 affected my life, including one piece written two years ago about how that day was the beginning of the end for me in having any faith in ours or any government for that matter.

What do you feel when you see all the homeless on the street?
Who do you pray for at night before you go to sleep?
What do you feel when you look in the mirror?
Are you proud?

the guardian

Back then George W. Bush was our president and although we all stood proudly and defiantly behind him as he showed face in the aftermath of 911, about half the country (including me) believed he was the epitome of what was wrong about America: corporate greed, a widening gap between rich and poor, a faltering educational system, a sagging economy, and forever being meddlesome in everybody else's business but our own.

How do you sleep while the rest of us cry?
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye?
How do you walk with your head held high?
Can you even look me in the eye
And tell me why? 

Five years after 911, P!nk recorded a song called Dear Mr. President, with the help of the Indigo Girls.  As with most of her songs since 2001's Misundazstood, this one was a tune masterfully penned as an open letter to a leader who, to many, seemed far removed from true American Life.

Dear Mr. President,
Were you a lonely boy?
Are you a lonely boy?
Are you a lonely boy?
How can you say
No child is left behind?
We're not dumb and we're not blind.
They're all sitting in your cells
While you pave the road to hell.

During the 8 years of his presidency I always believed that George W. was bad for this country, and I couldn't wait for things to change.  Then in 2008, Barack Obama was elected and suddenly there was hope.  But in the years since my optimism has faded into obscurity with our political system as a whole.  I feel a fool to even have thought that anything would change for the better. It's not that I don't still believe Obama's heart is in the right place, but I no longer believe that any one man can make a difference anymore, and it makes me sad!

What kind of father would take his own daughter's rights away?
And what kind of father might hate his own daughter if she were gay?
I can only imagine what the first lady has to say
You've come a long way from whiskey and cocaine.  


I agonized over which song to post today in remembrance of this very sad anniversary.  For the past two years I've placed Jay Z's New York State of Mind in this place, and I considered it once again this year, but then decided against it.

How do you sleep while the rest of us cry?
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye?
How do you walk with your head held high?
Can you even look me in the eye?

Everywhere I go, every place I look, I see things that make me pessimistic.  From conditions at my own job to my interactions with fellow Americans.  I read it in the newspapers, on the Internet, and see it on the television, and I find myself trying to avoid all of the bad things I see, hear and experience, but it's everywhere.  Narcissism, greed, selfishness, and cheating at every turn, from the richest of the rich to the poorest of the poor.

Let me tell you 'bout hard work
Minimum wage with a baby on the way
Let me tell you 'bout hard work
Rebuilding your house after the bombs took them away
Let me tell you 'bout hard work
Building a bed out of a cardboard box
Let me tell you 'bout hard work
Hard work, hard work
You don't know nothing 'bout hard work
Hard work, hard work

So yeah, you could say that 9/11 has changed my life.  Though I weep for the dead and harbor hatred for the guilty, I can see how it all came to this.  No one deserved what happened to them on September 11, 2001.  No one deserves to have their lives taken away at the hands of another, especially through no fault of their own.  One might have thought that the experience of 9/11 would not only change our hearts, but our minds as well, and for the better.  But it seems we've all forgotten what we really stand for as a country, and that is life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Not just for self, but for all!

How do you sleep at night?
How do you walk with your head held high?
Dear Mr. President,
You'd never take a walk with me.
Would you?

I've often wondered to myself if this song could be applied to President Obama, and I think maybe that it could.  Governors seem so far removed from the lives of the governed.  Then again, could the condition of our way of life today be pinned on any one man?

Regardless, it is important for those of us who remember that day to never let it go.  Our brothers and sisters who perished, their families, and all of us need to learn from the experience. We need to contemplate how maybe our way of life was responsible for what these maniacs did on that day, so that maybe each of us can begin to put out positive, selfless energy towards our fellow man and not tread so heavily into our own selves without regard for the rest of those with whom we share this world.

I apologize in advance if any of what I've said has given cause to offend.  It's just how I see the world today, and it's not good.  As always, it is my hope that my words can elicit thought into what I've said here and effect some sort of change for the better.  Never, ever forget!

1 comment:

  1. Here is a comment from a reader who had trouble posting it, so she emailed it to me instead. I think it's worthy of a read! Thanks Cathy!

    Well said John, I don't think that, we as a nation will ever forget that day! On that terrible day, I was working for American Airlines, and we just could not believe what was unfolding in front of our eyes... in a usually loud and busy call center....we could have heard a pin drop that unforgettable morning...So true that governors and our elected officials "forget" those that they govern or elect them..however...that is the system that our constitution upholds...and I have to say that....I am very proud and happy to be an American...and I will never forgot those who lost their lives on 9/11, those that have fought against those killers, and all the families who have had to miss their loved ones and the children who have had to grow up without a Mom or Dad....due to that fateful 9/11 and from all the soldiers who fought for our freedom since....