There are certain things one believes but doesn’t want to admit at the time. John Kerry was a bad presidential candidate–I knew it, but I supported him to the hilt. If anyone had asked me before last November, I would have extolled his virtues. Now, though, I can let my true feelings be known.
Other things aren’t so simple. I tried as hard as I could, for example, to like Daniel Libeskind’s design for the “Freedom Tower” (though I always loathed that name). Not only do I love New York, but I look at Manhattan quite often from my weekly vantage point in Brooklyn.
My real feelings, though, were that the design looked like a finger with an evil nail–giving the bird to the rest of the world. And that made me queasy.
But I would never have admitted that. Not until today.
When I woke up this morning I realized that, damn it, I no longer want a building on that site at all. The proponents of a park and “footprint” memorial are right.
Those of us who were in New York on 9/11 felt an overwhelming sadness–an incredible sense of loss. This new, gleaming building–even with a memorial involved–would never be able to reflect that. And reflect that it should.
If that’s not convincing, look at it this way: would you want to work in a building that was intended (to some degree) as a giant “up yours” to the enemies of the United States? Isn’t it said that discretion is the better part of valor? In this case, certainly so. There’s no point in putting yourself in the center of a bulls-eye.
Oh, sure. There are many who will grunt and puff their chests and say “But we back down to nobody.”
But it’s not a question of backing down. It’s simply a question of respect and of sensibility.
Want a “Freedom Tower”? OK, but wait a while. Wait until the US has regained a position in the world where it is respected as a worthy defender of freedom.
In the meantime, give us a place for our grief, not a solace to our pride.
[Crossposted on dKos]