Friday, September 10, 2004

The Des Moines Register : Politicians stoop low to exploit 9/11 for their own gain

Leave it to the hyperbole and bullying of the presidential race to dredge up my fears over 9/11.

Not that those of us without a direct tie to the 2001 tragedy can fathom what it was like to witness skyscrapers flatten at ground zero and/or to leave loved ones in the rubble.

I'm talking about the broader, collective emotional scar that the most heinous act of domestic terrorism has left on us.

It's a scar that the presidential campaigns have picked at for political gain. If nothing else, the rhetorical shrapnel from nominees President Bush and John Kerry has forced me to put my lingering 9/11 issues into some sort of perspective, to find makeshift closure and move on.

Bottom line: I don't want fear to define this campaign any more than I want it to define my own future, or my generation. It disturbs me that an Associated Press poll released this week found that almost four in 10 Americans say they "sometimes worry about the possibility of another terrorist attack."

It's at the point that the images and implications of 9/11 have been rubbed in my face so often that I'm afraid to switch on the TV Saturday for fear of seeing the anniversary spun for the ultimate in crass political posturing.

Yes, I'm sure that Bush and/or Kerry will speak in reverential tones, deliver touching eulogies, offer sympathy and comfort. Maybe they'll observe moments of silence.

The moment of silence I'm craving, three years later, is from the politicians themselves - silence rather than exploit 9/11 for another photo opportunity or sound bite on the eve of an election.

I hope my cynicism is proved wrong on Saturday, but the nasty tone of the campaign thus far doesn't leave me with much hope.

(click on the title for the rest of the article)

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