Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.
From Matthew Arnold’s Dover Beach
I just reflected with Trane on Alabama and watched Spike’s joint 25th Hour for the eighth time. I’m also trying to finish my re-read of McEwan’s Saturday. Art gives me a place to reflect and to think. These pieces make me think of September 11. We are fond of anniversaries, especially when it’s a number like ten (10). Finally time for national reflection? Or, too little, too late?
How delicate are our feelings of fulfillment and personal worth? Was this the ultimate challenge to American existence? What has become of the issues that just like to nudge: terrorism; immigration; international security; freeness to speak; the role of religion in our lives; whether participation matters; and, straight up war?
Have we faced our feelings of powerlessness?
And, what of our leaders – professional, elected, and grassroots? Just managers, accountants, and auditors? What of the virtues and vices of patriotism? Who and what is an American? What is war good for? Was the violent response appropriate? What personal space?
We allowed justifications to rule: for torture; to drop the presumption of innocence; for intolerance; and, to permit government peeking and intrusions on its own.
It’s on! The first Coffee and Conversation gathering of the season is this Friday, September 9, from 3-5 p.m. in the Howard Thurman Center. We’re reflecting on the impact of the September 11, 2001, events.
I’ll bring the coffee and cookies, you bring the conversation.
PS: Please also note what the good folk at Marsh and others within the University community are organizing in observation of the tenth anniversary of September 11 – try to fit something into your schedule.