I confess that I snickered at the phrase: "The politicization of 9/11." What, in the past nine years, would make those of us in the United States do anything but politicize this particular date? It has become a rallying cry and a punchline, alternately, as the circumstance might dictate. Or, if you happen to be Rudy Guliani, a vocal tic not unlike Tourette's.
The burning of Korans and the building of mosques will continue to be discussed, debated and forgotten, but the date will always hang there, just as football season gets underway and the leaves begin to fall. Nine years of flinching in anticipation hasn't changed the fact that it will come back again, raising old questions and opening old wounds.
I grew up with Pearl Harbor Day. It seemed an odd thing to commemorate, not unlike remembering the day that Kennedy was shot or Elvis collapsed on his throne. Moments of tragedy and death that ring of "do you remember where you were when...?" It's not a time for selling mattresses or appliances. It's not a celebration. It's a commemoration.
And so it goes. We continue to mark time's passing by remembering when our world changed, or perhaps when we here in the United States caught up to the rest of the world. I was watching footage of the natural gas explosion in San Bruno Thursday night, and I was suddenly transported back: Endless repetition of the same video. The same odd details about shelters being opened for those affected by the fire. This went on for hours, until there was no news left, and then went on overnight. The vision of the planes hitting the towers. The slow crawl of information at the bottom of the screen. The assumptions. The assertions. The declarations. The Zapruder film. The black and white photo of John-John saluting his father's casket.
How do we politicize sorrow and grief? Tune in tonight and find out.