Last week the house rejected a bill that would provide medical care for residents, volunteers and rescue workers whose health has been impacted by the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. A New York Times Editorial categorized this inaction as “Feckless and Cruel”, and while I hate to resort to name calling, that characterizes it pretty well. Think back to 9/11 and the days that followed, ordinary men and women descended upon ground zero, the Pentagon and Shanksville, PA, looking not for retribution, but for the opportunity to help. They were and will remain inspirational in the hearts of not just Americans but of people all over the globe.
While the Republican partisanism (is that a word?) of the 111th congress’ role call on HR 847 speaks for itself, the Democratic majority is not without blame as they insisted that the bill be subject to a 2/3 majority vote in order to pass rather than to a plurality vote where aspects of the bill may have debated on the house floor.
Democrat or Republican, on September 12, 2001, I have to believe that all members of the 111th Congress were equally moved by the scenes of rescuers digging through rubble, the pictures of missing people pinned to walls and the image of a tattered American flag waving atop a mountain of devastation. These are images that I will never forget. I am saddened that the memories of both Democrats and Republicans in Congress have been dulled by political agenda.
Perhaps the delayed tragedy of 9/11 is forgetting that brief moment when there were no Democrats or Republicans, we were all simply Americans. Americans whose only goal was to help each other in our collective time of need. Honorable members of Congress, I ask you to put aside your differences and remember that day. Remember the ordinary men and women who became heroes. They came to our aid when the country needed them. Today, they need you.
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