Well, my three day moratorium on blogging about election politics has come to a close. Ryan and Jamie told me during dinner last night that I had sort of strayed into politics with my 9/11 post yesterday, but: 1) I was told that it was still ok for me to talk about foreign and domestic policy issues so long as I steered clear of commenting on the campaign, and 2) I really didn't mean for the 9/11 thing to be a political rant, per se. I just think that some mistakes were made in our response to the 9/11 tradgedy, and I wanted to point out how I, personally, think we might better respond to terrorist attacks in the future (I just think we ought to have as narrow a response as possible- take out the bad guys who act against us, but try not to expand our response into a broader action that will draw more people into the conflict and create more anti-American sentiment- and yes, I know I'm not an expert, but so far I haven't been too impressed by the plans that our experts have come up with). Anyhoo, not once did I feel the need to reference the names of any political candidates during my 9/11 post.
And speaking of 9/11, I watched a documentary on the History Channel last night about 9/11 called 102 Minutes that Changed America. The show was depressing and scary, but also sort of fascinating in terms of giving a first person view of the events in New York as they unfolded. The program has no narration, and I don't remember it having any music. It was just a collection of videos shot with home camcorders by people on the ground in Manhattan on September 11, 2001. The editors show the videos in real time, following the timeline of the actual morning of 9/11, and they overdub audio clips of phone calls and radio chatter (which are supposed time-synched with the video footage), giving a sense of how people in New York were perceiving these events as they unfolded. And the reaction of the people witnessing the attacks unfold may be the most interesting parts of the documentary. There's plenty of footage of the planes hitting the towers and the devastation that followed as the buildings burned and fell, but most of us have seen these things before. More interesting were the personal reactions of people in their homes and on the streets. I remember, personally, driving around Austin that day and looking up in the sky, knowing planes were supposed to be grounded and that we might be in for big trouble if we saw something up there. This apprehension, however, didn't come anywhere close to the abject fear and panic that many New Yorkers were feeling as they saw their city coming under attack. Reaction footage in the documentary runs the gamut- from people screaming and running to evacuate the city with their most personal belongings and kids, to fiery anger and rage (it amazed me to see New Yorkers on the street talking about how we needed to bomb the Middle East into glass only minutes after the attacks, when everything was still in complete chaos). Almost everyone in the videos, however, shared a look of disbelief and shock. It appeared as though there was a collective understanding that this was one of those moments when the world was suddenly changing beneath everyone's feet. And there's at least one scene with some haunting footage of a bunch of firemen marching toward the remaining tower just after the first one collapsed. You can just see from the look on their faces that they know they're going into a very bad situation, but they keep marching toward the building, anyway- headed into the chaos in order to go an get other people out.
Anyway, it was an interesting documentary. Kind of tough to watch, but it sure brought the memories of that day back into the forefront of my mind. I don't mean to just pursue the 9/11 topic out of morbid fascination, but the events of that day have had a tremendous impact upon the course of history for our country, and its just going to be one of those days that is forever burned into the memory of people in my generation.
What else? You know what? I think I'm going to avoid talking about the election for one more day. Things are kind of slow at the moment, anyway. I watched a bit of Obama last night in a forum sponsored by Time magazine regarding public service. He said some good things about wanting to inspire people to do more in the service of their country. I caught very little of McCain's talk, but he seemed to be saying some similar stuff. I agree. I need to volunteer more.
Ike keeps rolling in toward Galveston and Houston, and it's not looking good. My mom is in Florida with my grandfather (who fell and broke his hip, but is recovering well, apparently), so Dad may be weathering the storm out on his own (my folks live in Spring, in north Houston). So far Dad says he wants to stay in Spring to keep an eye on the house, but those plans may change, and I may have him taking up residence at my place.
Personally, I really haven't stocked up for the storm with any kind of extra provisions or anything. If we have a power out and everyone goes Mad Max, I'm going to have to go over to my brother's place and fight him to the death for his Spaghetti O's and peanut butter (I may share some with Jamie, but Roundball eats too much- he'll have to go).
Well, that's about it. Everyone send out a prayer, positive thoughts, and/or good karmic vibes down to the people on the Texas Gulf Coast. I know that I'll be thinking of them as Hurricane Ike steams toward shore...