Battle Hymn of the Republic: September 18-19, 2001

Tuesday, September 18
I’m encouraged, today, by the many voices speaking out in defense of Arab-Americans and Muslims in this country, and by the many other voices urging calm, moderation, and peace. It reassures me that this will not be like the aftermath of Pearl Harbor (and nor should it because this is not like Pearl Harbor). Its hard for me to imagine that a nation with such a larger proportion of its citizens born outside its borders and with a much more visible commitment to diversity could engage in those kinds of acts.

However, I still fear retaliation on a local level, and if we actually do go to war, the hysteria generated could well precipitate a wave of local and individual actions directed against “the enemy within” as well as those opposed to the war.

[There was so much strange stuff circulating on the Net in that first couple of weeks after the 9/11 attacks.  Much of it was predictably racist and stupidly patriotic.  I wish I’d saved more of it, but I did save this one very odd piece, a strange blend of Hallmark and Rumsfeld.]

Sent: Wednesday, September 19, 2001 9:34 AM
Subject: FW: Fw: The Binch – Dr Suess – with a patriotic twist

> > Every U down in Uville liked U.S. a lot,
> > But the Binch, who lived Far East of Uville, did not.
> > The Binch hated U.S! the whole U.S. way!
> > Now don’t ask me why, for nobody can say,
> > It could be his turban was screwed on too tight.
> > Or the sun from the desert had beaten too bright

> > But I think that the most likely reason of all
> > May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.
> > But, Whatever the reason, his heart or his turban,
> > He stood facing Uville, the part that was urban.

> > “They’re doing their business,” he snarled from his perch.
> > “They’re going to temple! They’re going to church!
> > They’re leading the world, and their empire is thriving,
> > I MUST keep the S’s and U’s from surviving!”

> > Tomorrow, he knew, all the U’s and the S’s,
> > Would put on their pants and their shirts and their dresses,
> > They’d go to their offices, playgrounds and schools,
> > And abide by their U and S values and rules,

> > And then they’d do something he liked least of all,
> > Every U down in U-ville, the tall and the small,
> > Would stand all united, each U and each S,
> > And they’d sing Uville’s anthem, “God bless us! God bless!”

> > All around their Twin Towers of Uville, they’d stand,
> > and their voices would drown every sound in the land.
> > “I must stop that singing,” Binch said with a smirk,
> > And he had an idea–an idea that might work!

> > The Binch stole some U airplanes in U morning hours,
> > And crashed them right into the Uville Twin Towers.
> > “They’ll wake to disaster!” he snickered, so sour,
> > “And how can they sing when they can’t find a tower?”

> > The Binch cocked his ear as they woke from their sleeping,
> > All set to enjoy their U-wailing and weeping,
> > Instead he heard something that started quite low,
> > And it built up quite slow, but it started to grow–

> > And the Binch heard the most unpredictable thing…
> > And he couldn’t believe it–they started to sing!
> > He stared down at U-ville, not trusting his eyes,
> > What he saw was a shocking, disgusting surprise!
> > Every U down in U-ville, the tall and the small,
> > Was singing! Without any towers at all!

> > He HADN’T stopped U-Ville from singing! It sung!
> > For down deep in the hearts of the old and the young,
> > Those Twin Towers were standing, called Hope and called Pride,
> > And you can’t smash the towers we hold deep inside.

> > So we circle the sites where our heroes did fall,
> > With a hand in each hand of the tall and the small,
> > And we mourn for our losses while knowing we’ll cope,
> > For we still have inside that U-Pride and U-Hope.

> > For America means a bit more than tall towers,
> > It means more than wealth or political powers,
> > It’s more than our enemies ever could guess,
> > So may God bless America! Bless us! God bless!

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