It’s hard to believe that 9-11 was eight years ago.
My partner Dan had just moved from Chicago to DC a month before. After watching the buildings fall from the PFAW conference room, and hearing rumors about a truck bomb at the State Department, where one of my best friends had just started working, I walked several blocks and grabbed a bus filled with stunned-into-silence passengers. I traveled a few miles to Wesley Seminary, where Dan was supposed to be having a meeting. We went home and tried to imagine what it would feel like to live in D.C. under a now far more real threat of terrorist attacks.
The next day, home from work, we painted walls, bringing a little change and beauty to our tiny corner of the planet.
The following day, back at work, my colleagues and I were stunned to hear Jerry Falwell blaming gays, liberals, feminists, church-state supporters, and People For the American Way, among others, for the attack, and to see Pat Robertson enthusiastically agreeing with him. It was breathtaking even for those of us accustomed to the televangelists’ harsh rhetoric for all who disagreed with them.
PFAW moved quickly to put video of that exchange on Robertson’s TV show into the hands of national news organizations and helped the world understand more clearly the cruelty at the heart of the Religious Right political movement.
That mean-spiritedness is again on public display, with Religious Right leaders energetically peddling false charges about supporters of marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples and portraying their political opponents, including President Obama, as bent on the destruction of liberty in America. I wonder what sort of patriotic platitudes we’ll hear from today from the leaders of a movement that has tried for decades to claim ownership of patriotism and the flag and smear as un-American all those who don’t share their vision of an America in which some are more equal than others.
Will they even bother to pause from their ongoing efforts to destroy the president, denigrate their opponents, and rile enough fear and hatred to push their way back into power?