AS I SEE IT - 9/26/2001
As the events mentioned in the last two AS I SEE IT columns should have indicated, the wrestling community has responded to the events of September 11th.
But even after the emotional seismic shock suffered in this country two weeks ago, it seems that those who have extremist political agendas can't help show that nothing has changed...for them.
These are our self-appointed moral guardians...those who would tell us how Steve Austin ought to be cutting a promo, who would tell us Stacey Keibler ought to be wearing more clothes, or that Christian wrestler shouldn't be giving Edge a chair shot because it's "too violent".
These "moral guardians" don't seem very interested in what really happened in New York, Washington, and western Pennsylvania.... to this country and to the world.
That fact was shown in its worst form by two of its most prominent members, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, when they engaged in a claim on a 700 Club episode,transcribed in an article within the September 14th Washington Post found here:
"...liberal civil liberties groups, feminists, homosexuals and abortion rights supporters bear partial responsibility for Tuesday's terrorist attacks because their actions have turned God's anger against America.... God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve".
Robertson then responded: "Jerry, that's my feeling...I think we've just seen the antechamber to terror. We haven't even begun to see what they can do to the major population."
Falwell then claimed that the ACLU has "got to take a lot of blame for this..." again winning Robertson's agreement.
Falwell then went into a tirade, including in his blame "the federal courts and who [are] throwing God out of the public square."
He continued: "The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen.' "
After a firestorm of national criticism, Falwell apologized, claiming his comments were "misunderstood" and "theological...not political".
Obviously those of you who read this column are wrestling fans with a wide variety of different political views; or none at all. Some are pro-life, some are pro-choice...some have certain views on women's issues...have different views on gay and lesbian rights...or on the ACLU.
Some couldn't care less about any of those issues, and just want to be left alone to enjoy four hours (or so) of weekly television that entertains them.
Those of us who've been involved with work against the PTC are in agreement solely on the need to have our various forms of entertainment (particularly wrestling) free from censorship by political and moral extremists such as Falwell, Robertson and Bozell. Even those of us involved in the anti-PTC effort often don't agree on many other political issues, such as those outlined above.
But no decent human being of any political viewpoint would assign blame for the cowardly attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon to anyone other than those committing the act...those with whom the United States will soon be at war.
Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson showed once and for all the radically extremist nature of what they believe: a willingness to build a political and theological agenda and financial empire on the innocent bodies of dead men, women, and children. They are, in real fact, little different then those with whom the United States will soon be at war...people using a perversion of religion to justify an extremist political agenda.
If L. Brent Bozell, their political ally, does not expressly repudiate them and what they stated... he stands in their company, and deserves to be viewed in the same light as they.
As of September 26, he has not repudiated Falwell and Robertson.
The reactions of Falwell and Robertson show even more profoundly the extremist nature of what all these groups are about. They don't have any concern about your children...or what they view. Instead, they push their agendas as if September 11th had never happened.
To further establish this fact with L. Brent Bozell, it can be noted that the Bozell-run CNSNews.com service (affiliated with the PTC and the Media Research Center) reported the Falwell/Robertson statements above, and further added the comments of an anti-abortion group that echoed the Falwell statements.
The article offered no comment or criticism by CNSnews.com of the statements, and only briefly mentioned a criticism from the liberal advocacy group Common Cause.
Further, it seems rather strange that no mention whatever is made of the tragedy of September 11th on the website of the Parents Television Council...two weeks after September 11... particularly given that the PTC's offices are only miles from the site of the deadly attack on the Pentagon.
Funny thing, though....it's a different story for the business that those moral extremists seem to spend so much of their time trying to tear apart for its lack of morality.
I've been reporting for the last three columns on the many ways the wrestling industry has responded to the events of September 11.
If you just look, you'll see that dozens of fan-based wrestling websites have added links to the Red Cross...to the September 11th Fund, or the numerous other local and national charities that have been established to aid those affected.
The WWF used its WWF New York restaurant to serve as a shelter for rescue workers.
PWBTS, the flagship site of this column, has reported news items on anything that it can regarding efforts to assist the victims; as well as emergency information for New Yorkers during the first few days after the attack.
1wrestling.com has added prominent links on its site to the Red Cross, and has publicized numerous benefit efforts inside and outside of wrestling around the United States.
Other websites have undertaken similar efforts.
Dozens of wrestling promotions have or are doing benefit events on behalf of the victims at the World Trade Center. A number of independent workers who often don't get paid enough to cover the cost of gasoline home have donated their evening's pay to the Red Cross and other charities in a number of cases.
It's pretty clear that those who have spoken the most about "morality" in entertainment over the last two years have not acted out their supposed morality.
Instead, those who work in or who are fans of the very imperfect and often not very moral business called professional wrestling have shown far more real morality...by letting their actions speak far louder than their words...at a time that America needed them to the most.
If those of you reading this column would like to help the victims of September 11th, you can do so via the following means:
To give blood, call 1-800 GIVE LIFE or contact your local hospital/health care provider.
You can also find the telephone number and location of your local Red Cross chapter by going to this URL.
You can financially support relief efforts by making a donation to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund by calling 1-800-HELP-NOW (1-800-435-7669) or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish-speaking).
You can also go to Amazon.com to make a direct and secure donation via Amazon.com.
You can donate directly to the September 11th Fund, administered by the New York United Way via this URL.
You can donate to the New York Firefighters 9-11 Disaster Relief Fund, administered by the International Association of Fire Fighters via this URL.
Until next time...
(If you have comments or questions, I can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org)