Yesterday, we (and every other media outlet) ran our solemn 9/11 remembrance post. In general, I thought the media handled the day fine. I thought the NFL handled it in an unseemly “Are we not RESPECTFUL” fashion, and don’t even get me started on the companies who used 9/11 to push their products. I thought it was assumed that most companies were against global terrorism but until the Budweiser Clydesdales bowed, I wasn’t sure. I guess I should be happy that they didn’t have the Miller High Life guy busting into a cave and taking away a case of non-alcoholic beer from a terrorist.
In any event, today will be the predictable day where the media now takes a closer look at the aftermath of 9/11. And by “closer look,” I mean “report on everything that’s gone horribly wrong since 9/11.”
Gawker already got that ball rolling. I’ve got a really heartwarming story from a law firm that I want to share before I “take a closer look” at the week after 9/11….
First, here’s the wonderful story. It’s from Brown Rudnick. Instead of commissioning children to sing a song or showing us taps across America, Brown Rudnick attorneys just, you know, remembered. Here’s an email from a Brown Rudnick spokesperson:
Today, attorneys and staff from Brown Rudnick LLP visited New York fire station – #65 in honor of September 11th. Every year since 2001, as a small, continuing gesture of our enduring appreciation for the firefighters and public service personnel, the Brown Rudnick Center for the Public Interest has had lunch delivered for the firefighters at our local New York fire station and then we make a personal visit to say “we remember” and “thank you”.
Please share your stories of how your firm chose to remember the day. I’m sure most law firms handled it in a thoughtful and lovely manner.
Focusing on firefighters or other first responders are safe grounds on the remembering 9/11 scale. When we look at our national first response, the view becomes murky.
Most people remember the immediate aftermath of 9/11 of this halcyon time where everybody came together and Americans embraced each other as brothers.
I was in law school during 9/11. I was in Boston, preparing to drive down to New York. 9/11/01 was primary day in New York, and I was coming down to do election stuff in the afternoon. Obviously, that plan was aborted.
A week later, I found myself in my 2L Con Law class. It was the worst classroom experience I’ve had at any level of school in my life. Basically, the professor raised many of the Constitutional issues that would come to define our legal response to 9/11: issues like llegal searches, would it be okay to torture people, treating innocent Muslims as combatants, et cetera.
Much to my surprise, most of the people who spoke up in class, spoke up in favor of scaling back any and all civil liberties. Obviously, people were afraid. I wasn’t, so I actually raised my hand to express fear of my classmates more than any terrorist (to this day, I feel like I proved the depth of liberalism, to myself, that day).
Their response to my “concerns” for civil liberties was… vicious; the kind of viciousness I didn’t experience again until I met Above the Law commentators. I remember 9/11 as a horrible day where innocent people died. 9/12 was an equally horrible day where nascent racism and xenophobia became socially acceptable.
And I wasn’t sitting in a Wal-Mart in an uneducated, economically depressed part of the country. I was at a liberal law school in one of the most liberal states in one of the most liberal cities in the entire country.
Remembering firefighters is great. And 100 yard flags make good visuals. But the America that we were before 9/11 is gone. Maybe we are safer, but we most certainly are less free.
And that’s on us. That’s on the lawyers. That’s what happens when the people who represent the minority position become wrapped up in the bloodlust sweeping the nation.
And if the tide is ever going to be turned, it’ll start with the lawyers, too.