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Dreamland: 180 Days Later

By Kathy Y. Wilson · March 14th, 2002 · Your Negro Tour Guide
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"Let's make a pact for our lives/ in our homeland/ built on the bricks that we've made/ in my dreamland."
-- "Dreamland," Madeleine Peyroux
Changed much?

Our president is popular because he landed a wartime lap dance early in his term. Thus, George W. Bush's "them bad, us good" tape loop is as big a hit as any terror-related anthem.

We wait and watch while he dispatches our sons and daughters to caves in search of Satan. Instead, we should be more closely scrutinizing how he spends the blank check for war Congress slipped him during their French kiss much the same way we stalked his head-gettin' predecessor.

Isn't it ironic and telling that the only member of Congress not to shake her pom-poms of approval at Bush's use-of-force resolution, granting him free reign (of terror) over anyone associated with our state of shock, is a black woman?

Like Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., many other Negresses and I know the perils of bestowing blind trust upon the white male power structure. Such a state of utter obedience does, however, make the resulting and inevitable displacement of blame an easier task.

The wages of war are slogans. And those slogans are soon to be copyrighted.

"Let's roll!" was a rallying call used by Todd Beamer to excite his children into action and was likewise used by him in a last-ditch effort to regain control from terrorists of the cockpit of the infamously doomed United Airlines Flight 93 on Sept.

11.

The slogan now adorns a reconstruction sign at the partially demolished Pentagon. There, a clock ticks down the days since it became one-third of the trio of war-inducing terror, marking time until the broken section of the building is again inhabitable.

Administrators of the Todd M. Beamer Foundation are figuring how to trademark the slogan/rallying cry/legacy.

Meantime, manufactures of pro-American paraphernalia have used -- like Neil Young and Bush -- Beamer's father-to-sons cheer as still more sloganeering. Thirteen others have applied to trademark "Let's Roll!" including a man who says the phrase's earning potential from sweatshirts, mugs, etc. boils down to "good old American capitalism."

In anguish, we are covetous. People long for a physical trace -- dust, a slither of cement, a screw or anything really -- of the World Trade Centers. Yet movies, songs, TV shows and even photos with pre-terror references are deconstructed and discarded if they're deemed unacceptable by some unwritten/ghost-written rule book.

We're profiling at warp speed. Joy guilts us. Bigots have outed themselves, skinny-dipping at a cluster-fuck pool party to emerge covered in red, white and blue jism.

And the beat down goes on.

Even in escape attempts, reality bites. To prove they, too, have been watching the news, Hollywood writers drop references in scripts as though our lives require further terrorizing footnotes.

We exalted David Letterman for not diverting his gaze and for daring to not be funny. We pitied Dan Rather for crying in public.

We've learned other people live in the world with us and that their homes, beliefs, children and futures are no less important than our own. Further, we've realized they don't need our pity. They could benefit, though, from our edification.

We're not safe. The future is overrated, and now that we're awake we see sleeping is easier.

We're awake, all right. Thirty-nine million of us stared at the recent TV docudrama 9/11.

Now twinned blue shafts of light slice New York nights. They're light sabers in homage to buildings, targets, lost innocence, hatred, redemption, recovery, lives, lifestyles and a moment in time.

At 8:46 a.m. on that day -- six months ago and counting -- we grew up. Yes, you've changed.



Hear Kathy's commentaries on National Public Radio's All Things Considered.
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
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