Power Piece by L. Pitts

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Posted by TerryS ( on September 16, 2001 at 22:40:16:

Powerful Piece by L. Pitts addressed to terrorists

Wed Sep 12 08:40:41 2001

They pay me to tease shades of meaning from social and cultural issues, to
provide words that help make sense of that which troubles the American soul.
But in this moment of airless shock when hot tears sting disbelieving eyes,
the only thing I can find to say, the only words that seem to fit, must be
addressed to the unknown author of this suffering.

You monster. You beast. You unspeakable bastard.
What lesson did you hope to teach us by your coward's attack on our World
Trade Center, our Pentagon, us? What was it you hoped we would learn?
Whatever it was, know that you failed.

Did you want us to respect your cause? You just damned it.
Did you want to make us fear? You just steeled our resolve.
Did you want to tear us apart? You just brought us together.
Let me tell you about my people. We are a vast and quarrelsome family, a
family rent by racial, cultural, political and class division, but a family
nonetheless. We're frivolous, yes, capable of expending tremendous emotional
energy on pop cultural minutiae-a singer's revealing dress, a ball team's
misfortune, a cartoon mouse.
We're wealthy, too, spoiled by the ready availability of trinkets and
material goods, and maybe because of that, we walk through life with a
certain sense of blithe entitlement. We are fundamentally decent, though-
peace-loving and compassionate. We struggle to know the right thing and to
do it. And we are, the overwhelming majority of us, people of faith,
believers in a just and loving God.

Some people-you, perhaps-think that any or all of this makes us weak.
You're mistaken. We are not weak. Indeed, we are strong in ways that cannot
be measured by arsenals.

Yes, we're in pain now. We are in mourning, and we are in shock. We're still
grappling with the unreality of the awful thing you did, still working to
make ourselves understand that this isn't a special effect from some
Hollywood blockbuster, isn't the plot from a Tom Clancy novel.

Both in terms of the awful scope of its ambition and the probable final
death toll, your attacks are likely to go down as the worst acts of
terrorism in the history of the United States and, indeed, the history of
the world. You've bloodied us as we have never been bloodied before.

But there's a gulf of difference between making us bloody and making us
fall. This is the lesson Japan was taught to its bitter sorrow the last time
anyone hit us this hard, the last time anyone brought us such abrupt and
monumental pain. When roused, we are righteous in our outrage, terrible in
our force. When provoked by this level of barbarism, we will bear any
suffering, pay any cost, go to any length, in the pursuit of justice.

I tell you this without fear of contradiction. I know my people, as you do
not. What I know reassures me. It also causes me to tremble with dread of
the future.

In days to come, there will be recrimination and accusation, fingers
pointing to determine whose failure allowed this to happen and what can be
done to prevent it from happening again. There will be heightened security,
misguided talk of revoking basic freedoms. We'll go forward from this moment
sobered, chastened, sad. But determined, too. Unimaginably determined.

There is steel beneath this velvet. That aspect of our character is seldom
understood by those who don't know us well. On this day, the family's
bickering is put on hold. As Americans we will weep, as Americans we will
mourn, and as Americans we will rise in defense of all that we cherish.

Still, I keep wondering what it was you hoped to teach us. It occurs to me
that maybe you just wanted us to know the depths of your hatred.

If that's the case, consider the message received. And take this message in
exchange: You don't know my people. You don't know what we're about. You
don't know what you just started.

But you're about to learn.

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