Wednesday, March 10, 2004
I'm going to stick my head out and say that I hope we don't spend the rest of the year citing "9/11 families" as unique moral authority on ads from candidates, sound bites from pundits, or quips from comedians.
The 9/11 families, which encompass thousands of people heavily concentrated in New York and New Jersey, haven't agreed on anything. They haven't agreed on the clean-up of the WTC site, the size of compensation for the victims, the methods for allocating that compensation, whether the people doing the allocating have good intentions at all, whether the airlines or the Port Authority are culpable, the design or even the spirit of a memorial for the WTC site, or the appropriate next use for some of the most hallowed -- and valuable -- ground in the world. And why should we expect them to agree? They constitute a group of thousands of Americans and foreign nationals from all ethnicities and demographic groups. Of course they don't agree on a damn thing. There's probably a member of a 9/11 family, if you define "family" expansively enough, who supports Osama Bin Laden.
It is therefore not in the least relevant -- or even newsworthy, and we know how low that standard is -- that a particular subset of one or another 9/11 family is "offended," "outraged," or whatever it is that they may be, over a political ad, or a stump speech, or an off-hand remark. If the press keeps trotting these people out to pronounce on any little thing that may irritate them, or serve their agenda, America will lose respect for the loss that they have suffered.
And that would be an outrage.