Sept. 11 Aftermath: And the Award Goes to…

Following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, many Americans found partial comfort from the violence in the courage and unity of fellow Americans. Adversity, the nation found, brought out the best in both Americans and non-American sympathizers across the globe.

Or it brought out the worst.

While it would have been nice if everyone had responded to the attacks impressively, some did not. For them, showing their “true colors” through word or deed meant turning an insipid shade of gray.

But why call them losers when we can call them winners? So, here are the winners of four awards for the relatively few whose Sept. 11 actions and reactions deserve the designation of “unremarkable”?or even “reprehensible.”

Best Actors

This award goes to several politicians who certainly heeded President Bush’s call to “get back to normal life” when it came time to divvy up the terrorist recovery budget. The tussle for funds has been so much like pre-Sept. 11 budget guzzling, they act as though the terrorist relief funds are the pork they have eaten every year.

According to Deroy Murdock, of the Scripps Howard News Service, Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., said of the recovery budget, “It’s an open grab bag, so let’s grab.”

Murdock reports that Carolyn Schwartz, a Washington, D.C., councilwoman, “scolded D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams for seeking only $150 million in federal recovery aid.” Schwartz told the mayor, “I would run and grab as much as you can legitimately get.” He later asked for $900 million.

New York Governor George Pataki is also guilty of wanting to use the recovery funds for selfish purposes, says Murdock. He requested money for “a new high speed train linking New York City with upstate Schenectady.”

This cash snatching makes politicians seem like anxious children elbowing for candy under a broken piata. While such actions don’t score politicians points with the public, they do land a few of them on the list of Sept. 11 losers.

Worst Set Design

The winner in this category goes to Boulder, Colo.’s public library for its recent defense of “objectivity.” According to the Family Research Council (FRC), the library’s recent art exhibit, “Hang ‘Em Out to Dry,” consists of a clothesline on which hang “models of male sex organs.”

The FRC reports: “In the same library, Director Marcelee Gralapp refused an employee’s request to display a 10-by-15 foot American flag.” Gralapp reportedly denied the request because it would “compromise [the library’s] objectivity.”

The Daily Camera, a Boulder newspaper, ripped into Gralapp’s reasoning, writing, “Neutral about what? The democratic values most Americans see in the flag?the conflict between the United States and terrorism?”

Rather than allow library patrons to view patriotic messages during the conflict with terrorism, Gralapp and the American Library Association prefer Boulder residents to see phallic ones. Kudos to Gralapp and the ALA, both of whom show that one type of expression is really free in Boulder: speech that is politically correct.

Best Dramatic Role

Writer Andrew Sullivan steals this award for his skewed comparison of militant Islamic terrorism to traditional Christianity. Sullivan spits fire and vinegar with this dramatic association, which is the work of either a distorted and hyperactive intellect or a National Enquirer style sensationalist.

The FRC writes: “Sullivan compares ‘American evangelicalism’ and ‘fundamentalism’?which he calls the ‘American Taliban’?to those who commit the horrific terrorist acts.”

Sullivan says, “The very psychological dynamics that lead repressed homosexuals to be viciously homophobic or that entice sexually tempted preachers to inveigh against immorality are the every dynamics that lead vodka-drinking fundamentalists to steer planes into buildings.”

According to Sullivan, of course, “fundamentalists” include your church-going neighbors, and “viciously homophobic repressed homosexuals” involve most of the people you see at Christmas mass.

Sullivan’s gross connection between the “psychological dynamic” of Osama bin Laden and that of everyday Christians puts into question his logic.

Worst Supporting Role

This award goes to Planned Parenthood of New York City, which, on Sept. 18, announced its planned contribution to the terrorist tragedy: five days of free “reproductive health care,” including abortions.

According to PPNYC’s Joan Malin, the organization was seeking to “contribute to relief efforts as best we can.”

The best they can? Surely Malin and cohorts could have done better. Did they really believe that nothing could contribute more to the city’s healing process than free abortions on demand? At that point, most families were still trying to locate and identify their loved ones.

PPNYC had endless options for helping the city recover?cash for the Red Cross, food for the rescue workers. Instead, they chose to give abortions, which, as Washington Post Columnist George Will points out, undeniably kill “something, just as unambiguously as insecticides kill insects and herbicides kill weeds.” Best Leading Act

This award goes to the much maligned President Bush, for superb composure and leadership handling the terrorist crisis and its aftermath. His actions have defied every stereotype of the bungling, indecisive, shoot-from-the-hip president many made him out to be.

How good has Bush’s performance been? Good enough for some democrats to secretly express relief that Bush is president, rather than Al Gore, as Newsweek reported. While the situation certainly is not over, if President Bush continues strong, he could very well be called back onto the stage for a 2004 curtain call.

Mike welcomes feedback at: [email protected] or send letters to the editor to: [email protected].