Wednesday, July 11, 2007
American abuse of 9/11
Because of 9/11, I am no longer allowed to have a "Welcome" mat at the door.
I was informed of this yesterday by the apartment complex manager after an unwelcome note was dropped on the "Welcome" mat requesting that said mat be removed as a safety measure. It has sat there safely for nearly nine years.
How is 9/11 a reason for people not to have Welcome mats?
The answer is that 9/11 has become the obstructionist excuse for anything and everything in the USA. The idea is that there is no come-back if 9/11 is in the equation - even if it is not in the equation. 9/11 was such an appalling atrocity that it holds a position of high reverence, the most sacred of all cows...it cannot be challenged.
So I have removed my beautiful "Welcome" mat because of 9/11.
The great post-9/11 doormat ban of 2007 will make the world a safer place.
Who could have imagined that those acts of terrorism in 2001 would produce such ugly and bizarre dividends? Terrorists don't have to move a finger to castrate American culture. Americans are doing it in their name. Wouldn't Osama Bin Laden be amazed?
Put the words 9/11 behind it, and you can demand anything.
So it comes to pass that, after nine years, my slimline traditional American "Welcome" mat is a threat.
I am not an American so I dared to challenge the apartment complex manager when he made this claim. He said it was as an upshot of 9/11 that firemen needed clear, doormat-less access regulations. I don't remember hearing anything about doormats providing obstructions to rescue workers in the Twin Towers. This was the first time I had heard door mats and 9/11 mentioned in the same sentence. I simply did not believe him. Perhaps standard fire regulations are being toughened up, but not as a consequence of 9/11. They had fire regulations long before 9/11.
The apartment complex manager had quite a handful with this Aussie who simply would not take 9/11 as a rationale for the banning of the delightful American welcome tradition. I felt almost sorry for him. Then again, I am keen to discourage people for this sort of gratuitous exploitation of the 9/11. It is cheap and disrespectful.
The saddest part in this context is that it is gutting the country of that which is most sweetly and endearingly American.
Dainty yet hardy "Welcome" mats are a big American tradition, along with floral door wreaths and American flags. When first I came here, I was charmed by the warm, friendly spirit of these domestic statements. I was not quite ready for the door wreath or the flag, but I loved the vivid and welcoming "Welcome" mats and went off to reciprocate the good spirit with a mat of my own.
Nine years later, the apartment complex population has changed. There are fewer mature Americans here and more student sharers and foreigners. So one no longer sees these mats at every door. In fact mine is one of the last in our building. Well, it was. There are none now. A delightful American tradition is dying - perhaps in the name of fire safety but certainly not in the name of 9/11.