Anniversaries and Remembrances

userpic=star_trekToday is a day of anniversary. Today is a day of remembrance.

This week has been a week of anniversaries. This week has been a week of remembrances.

Let’s explore a few of them:

  • 9/11. Two odd numbers, separated by a slash, that mean so much. Everyone is talking about where they were fifteen years ago. But I view 9/11 like I do highway naming resolutions. If you read my highway pages, you see these all the time. Someone gets their assembly-critter to sponsor a resolution that gives the history of a person, in order to put up a highway sign, that becomes a name no one knows, and a story no one knows. That’s a pointless remembrance. Similarly, to ask “where you were” 15 years ago is pointless; even to remember the people and the specifics of who was attacked is pointless.

    So what is meaningful? To remember what was attacked, and to stand strong. This country was attacked because of our values, because of our defense of freedom, because of our defense of the minorities. We were attacked because we permit religious freedom. We were attacked because we support one of, if not the, lone democracy in the Middle East. We were attacked because we stand up for the rights of women, of minorities, of Jews, of gays.

    So how do we best remember 9/11? By steadfastly continuing those values. By not giving in to hatred. By not giving in to restrictions on speech, on movement, on immigration. By standing strong with our allies, and standing by our word. By helping the downtrodden. By helping and interacting with those we do not like. I’ll note that in the upcoming election we do have a choice between a candidate who wants to continue those values, and one who doesn’t. We have a choice between a leader who wants to govern by listening, and a leader who wants to be a demagogue. We remember 9/11 by standing up for those values that make America America (and going with the candidate who most closely embodies those values).

  • Star Trek. This week is also the 50th anniversary of the start of Star Trek, and again the comparison between values is stark. Star Wars and Star Trek have two distinctly different value sets. Star Wars values are in its title and its outlook: conflict, battles between broad good and evil, a future where evil has triumphed and good is tenuously fighting to come back. Star Trek, on the other hand, was decidedly optimistic and exploratory. To boldly go forward. To build that world of mutual respect, of cooperation, of valuing every one and every thing. The key phrase that came out of Star Trek was IDIC – Infinite diversity in infinite combinations. This about this in terms of the 9/11 dichotomy I discussed above, and which of the values: Star Wars or Star Trek, are the values that would infuriate the 9/11 attackers more. When you do, you’ll see why the real value in Star Trek wasn’t the technology is predicted, but the values it held.
  • iPhone and iPod This month is also the anniversary of the introduction of the iPod Classic, and the introduction of the iPhone 7, and again, we have that dichotomy. The iPod Classic, when it came out, was the pinnacle: it was an advancement of old technology to serve a useful purpose — a purpose that was not necessarily enriching its manufacturer at every opportunity. The iPhone 7, on the other hand? It encourages streaming, it requires purchase of new equipment — which Apple will happily supply, and … it is hardly a technological advancement. Is it a step forward when there is a meme going around that the iPhone 7 is the iPhone 6 with tape over the earphone jack? Which of the devices embodied the forward thinking, and which is stagnation and profit centered.

Today is a day of anniversary. Today is a day of remembrance.

This week has been a week of anniversaries. This week has been a week of remembrances.

We have a choice: Do we look back and stare? Do we go boldly forward?