Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

Nathan Carroll, On 9/11 I Salute You

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | September 11, 2011 5:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: 9/11, bullying, GSA, Nathan Carroll

There are times in life when we are alone in our cause, with gloating, victorious enemies celebrating their evil victory. Despair infects everything, the world stands against you, and you question your sanity. But Nathan, you are not alone.

Yes, it's true that you are standing alone against your high school principal in your fight against bullying and in your fight for the right to freedom of expression, and to associate together in a GSA against the prejudice and bigotry that surrounds you and your friends. Yes, he's threatened to tear up the papers and suspend you should you reapply.

But know this: There are millions of us in this country, and beyond, who stand with you. We're not in your town. We don't email you, or send you messages of comfort and hope. But we read of your brave struggle for human dignity in the face of an evil bully with title and the arrogance of power, and we wish you well. We wish you to succeed with all our hearts and souls, and if we could come there and stand with you to speak truth to power, we would in a heartbeat. Because we have all had our struggles with bullies, who use force to violate the rights of the innocent because, to them, their beliefs justify injustice and their power to inflict damage justifies their vicious beliefs.

We, who stand silently behind you, remember all too well our own struggles for justice in the face of an indifferent world.

Now, some might say that there's no comparison here, that a student who wants to start a club has no possible connection with the events of 9/11. But I say that the precious lives of our young people and their right to grow up as free, courageous and empowered adults is what was at the heart of 9/11. Our enemies tried to define us and frighten us into giving up the cause of freedom with their bombs, to make us cower, but if anything, it strengthened our resolve.

If 9/11 stands for anything, it stands for the proposition that we can overcome violence and attempts at bullying by evil people whose beliefs call for our destruction, without resorting to hate ourselves. If it means anything, it means that we can and will stand strong, together, against the prejudice that demonizes us as people deserving of violence.

America has had long experience with bullies who took advantage of the weak, and we have been guilty of violence and oppression against Native peoples, and African-Americans, and other minority groups, and immigrants, but what makes our America worth preserving is the fact that we have stood up, as a Nation, over and over again in history, to support and defend people like you, Nathan, who brave the fear and the loneliness of demanding justice from an unjust world. We've not always done it timely, and it's often taken far too long. But we will get there.

Those who hate America and wish its destruction also hate what you are standing for, Nathan. They hate the idea that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people should be free and happy to live out loud. But that is what freedom means. Freedom is what America was founded upon, and our free culture and our support of other free nations is what our enemies sought to target on 9/11. They succeeded in killing, but they did not succeed in killing our spirit or our freedom.

We stand with you today, Nathan, in support of your, and our, precious freedom and precious spirit.

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