As I sat in my chair this morning, reflecting on the horror of the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001, I was struck by something, and it disturbed me deeply.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's injury this past weekend highlighted the passion that many fans of the NFL have for the game, both negative and positive. Unfortunately, the negative side of that passion has been reflected in many ways that I find repulsive.
The people that set forth a plan, and then carried out that plan, to kill thousands of innocent people on Sept. 11, 2001, have something in common with some NFL fans.
They are extremists.
From Bernard Pollard fan club t-shirts, to fans simply reveling in the event, people from all walks of life have shown us that Americans can be just as dispassionate, just as crass, just as merciless, and lacking just as much conscience as the terrorists that committed the deadly acts we simply call "nine-eleven" now.
Before you disregard my point as just more "extreme" reaction, consider the similarities.
The terrorists of 9/11 attacked the Twin Towers because they consider the United States an enemy of Islam (from global policy, they believe), and they believe that their religion calls for them to "fight" against that enemy. This is in no way indicative of the Islamic or Muslim religions as a whole; these people were extremists.
Right or wrong (VERY WRONG IN MY OPINION), that's what they believe. I am not comparing Bernard Pollard to these men. I don't believe he INTENTIONALLY hurt Brady, but I am simply pointing out where each reaction began, the event itself.
Many people around the world viewed the "nine-eleven" attacks as not simply a "justifiable act," but an event that was cause for celebration, because their ideals differ so strikingly from the ideals of the people of the United States, and therefore, the killing of citizens, the innocent, the people that represent the ideals that these men so passionately hate, not just the "institution" itself.
For instance, the U.S. military, or a government official. Or the New England Patriots?
The same type of passion (it's commonly known as HATRED) that led to millions of people to revel in the death and destruction on "nine-eleven" also led to many people reveling in Tom Brady's injury.
As football fans, passionate fans of our given team, we all have rivalries with other teams. These rivalries often transcend reason, leading to fights, vandalism, and various other acts of physical violence and abuse. A deep sense of hatred is personified in many stadiums across the country every Sunday by fans "welcoming" the "hated" visitors.
We say it all the time don't we? "I hate the (insert team here)." But do we really HATE them? The answer is apparently yes, for some at least.
And this is where the commonalities lie. As fans, do we hate the players on our hated rivals' team, or just the team, the organization, the "idea" of the what the rival team represents to us? I am a Washington Redskins fan, and "I hate the Cowboys."
But do I hate the players, the people? NO. I don't. There have been players that I dislike, for the personality they display, or the role they played in a hard-fought loss for my team. But HATE? NO.
Hate is a powerful thing. There are some who believe that "hate" itself is not only the opposite of "love" by definition, but emotionally as well as psychologically. Some believe that "LOVE" and "HATE" are "two sides of the same coin" emotionally, psychologically, and subconsciously.
That makes sense to me. The passions involved in each are just as deep as the other. These passions often manifest themselves in the same forms of behavior, actions, reactions, and thought processes. And we "LOVE" our team, don't we?
I can't rid myself of the disgust and sadness I feel at this moment over "nine-eleven." These feelings come from an act that took place seven years ago, a heinous, heartless, stunningly "conscienceless" act.
But these feelings are all the more disturbing from reactions to an unintended act that took place only four days ago.
Are the passions involved, the reactions from each act, really any different?
I don't think so.
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