This is unbelievable. While many in the blogosphere are focusing on the exclusion of religion from the memorial, The Anchoress points out that the heroes of that terrible day were the first responders who came from near and far to help their fellow human beings. Many of those heroes were clergy. Remember Fr. Michael Judge (picture above)?
And the FDNY is not invited. Really?
And the clergy were not represented only by Catholic priests; there were Rabbis and Protestant ministers; Orthodox priests and Muslim clergy. And nuns, too, and everyday people of great faith, or no faith at all, who understood that something greater than opinions or ideology or theology or social theory or doubt was before them.
But now — understanding all of that — we read that New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg is not inviting First Responders to observe the tenth anniversary of this day of death and sacrifice, at Ground Zero.
And we read, also that Mayor Bloomberg’s guest list is empty of any clergy, as well.
There will be no prayers at his little shindig. Heaven, forbid.
Apparently, there’s just not enough room for all the First Responders who want to be there, because there are so many important people who must be there! They cannot be denied their photo-op, and their speechifying, and their postures and poses, even though most of them were not even in office on that dreadful day.
No, Michael Bloomberg’s Super Colossal, Low-Salt 9/11 Memorial and Networking Event is a big-ticket item for the the ones who can be tapped, later, for their money or their influence — the most important sorts of people.
And of course, some of the families of the dead will be allowed in. One does need them for the pictures, after all.
First Responders and Clergyfolk are not very important to the powerful and the enlightened. They only protect us, rescue us, resuscitate us, console us, pray with us, bless us and bury us. And when they die doing it, well, one does feel terrible about it for a whole news cycle or two. And then one takes a private jet somewhere, and tries to forget…
I don’t know why I should be surprised. Priests and First Responders are, like our troops, front-line folk. They’re like heroes in the cowboy flicks — they ride in, shoulder the burden, help put things to rights, and then they recede into the background, while the important people get on with assuming their power and asserting their primacy. Only the very few stick around to say ‘thank you’ and wave them off. Sometimes children ask them to come back, or to stay.
Bloomberg’s priorities are all wrong. He’s thinking like a Baron — or no, he’s not really thinking at all; he’s being pragmatic: mustn’t let the help get get too much recognition, get too full of themselves — they might start getting uppity and making demands on milords purse and time. Mustn’t let the damn clergy murmur their vulgar prayers, or next we’ll have tent-revivalists cluttering up the fairgrounds and making such spectacles of themselves.
The big crowds for New Years Eve, or for the big parades, are alright, he thinks, but this is not for the riff-raff. Let’s just keep the invite list confined to those who know how to dress and how to behave, and which fork to use, and when.
You know…all those consequential (and so very, very smart) people who — ten years into this — have not managed to fill the still-exposed, gaping holes in the downtown ground.
Perhaps that’s because of the increasingly exposed, gaping holes in their own heads and hearts — from which pours out so much that is mediocre, bleak and unhelpful.
Giuliani, for all his faults, wouldn’t be doing this.
And if an 84 year-old pope can manage to function in crowds of a couple-million, it seems to me the mayor of what used to be the greatest city in the world should be able to figure out how to bring in some First Responders, and give a few minutes over to prayer.
But then, the Bishop of Rome is anything but mediocre, bleak or unhelpful. And I understand there is a salt shaker on his table, for those who like it. Read the entire post here.
Oh and I know that I broke my promise to blog everyday. I just have a lot going on right now. But I will try and get back on track.