Dear Mom, I am not a terrorist

I have never had a great relationship with my father because when it comes to politics… he wants to nuke the middle east and I would put flowers in guns if I could. My mother and I are fairly similar, so I was surprised when I received a message on Facebook with her concerns over my feelings about 9/11 and related topics.

Both my letter and my moms letter are unedited, I wanted to give you all an idea of where a standard American (my mother hears the news through friends and whatever makes it onto local news – and doesn’t vote. She is fairly moderate and isn’t crazy) views me and my writings. I also will include my response to her.

The reason I am sharing this with all of you, is it gives you an idea as to how “normal people” or at least “normal Americans” view us. This way we can appeal better to that audience.

Here is her message to me:

I have always heard about your right/left wing views from my friends. I chalked it up to you being young, interested, and full of enthusiasm.
The things I am hearing now…have crossed the line. I have had more than 1 person tell me about your comments regarding 9/11 and the downing of that military helicopter. This isn’t a video game that you can do over, it’s real. Those were real people in 9/11, with real families that were destroyed! Regardless if this had happened in any other country in the world, the majority of people would have empathy for devistation, destruction, and deaths.
Somewhere, deep inside, you know this or you wouldn’t pull those messages off your wall. You are not thinking/acting rationally. If you continue on this path I fear you will get to a place that you can’t come back from. There are a lot of radical people online that may agree with your postings. Those aren’t your friends!
Many people are concerned about you because they love you! I want to help you!!!!!! Maybe you need a change in pace to evaluate your core beliefs, values, and philosophy,…your future.
Nana & Papa are moving into my house in Idaho next month. It might be a great time/place for you to do some soul searching.
You know that I am NOT an overprotective mother. I hope you realize that I am truly concerned. I love you and want you to have a happy life. I will do anything in my power to help you attain this.
I love you sooooo much! Mom

This is my reply:

You are going to have to be much more specific in what exactly you mean? If you are talking about my post where I talk about how the terrorists won, it doesn’t detract from the lives that were lost… If anything, I care more about those people because I don’t want their death to be associated with the end of freedom in America which is exactly what it is seen as… Sarah would have you believe that only my radical friends believe that the United States is less free than it was before 9/11 but it’s just not true.

Mom, I don’t hate the people of America, I have empathy for those who have been hurt and have been killed by horrible people who are willing to end another humans life. However, we are doing the same thing… it’s not a radical figure that the United States has killed more innocent civilians in Afghanistan than were killed in 9/11, that is a figure directly from the military itself.

Let’s stop purely looking at what evil was done by the terrorists on 9/11 and let’s look to the actions that the United States had done to provoke it in the first place. We have allowed ourselves to believe that the terrorists attacked us because they hate our freedom… if that’s the case why don’t they now attack the other countries that have more freedom than us? It wasn’t because they had some jealousy complex… it was because our “freedom” is only as good as the people that we step on. Instead of the United States looking out for the interests of the people of the world, they look out for the interests of it’s own citizens and when someone steps out of line and doesn’t follow the US’ plan, they take them out.

It is not me being a radical because I feel that the united states was wrong for allowing US military to murder 10 innocent people while being tied up (the youngest one was 5 months old) I want you to read this full article, you can see it’s not from some crazy liberal news site, it’s from a real site which is covering a valid topic.

Those are real people too, why are OUR real people more important than theirs? Why am I wrong because I see terrorism as terrorism and I don’t say “well the United States’ terrorism is okay because it’s protecting our freedom”?

If there were people in the United States coming in on helicopters, and the people in those helicopters you know have burnt down our houses and have murdered our innocent civilians… you would want to stop them too. Empathy is the ability to take yourself out of your own shoes and put yourself into someone else’ place. Have empathy for the people in that helicopter who were only following orders… but also have empathy for the man who probably grew up never wanting to kill anyone, but felt pushed so far that he had to take the life of others just to protect his own home and family.

Mom, I don’t call for violence against anyone. I have taken a strong stance against violence… I haven’t even killed a bug in a very long time. I do ask that citizens take back their government… and take to the streets if nessesary but non-violently.

I hate the government of America because it will not admit that it is wrong in it’s actions… that it is a government built on military might, and has little regard for human life or freedom of it’s citizens. I hate them, because I believe in love and compassion… that there are no inherently bad people, only people who act out because they have been put under so much pressure that they snap.

In the long term, I am fighting for the safety of Americans… because as we know no great empire can sustain itself for very long. When it collapses it will be a horrible mix of the great depression and 9/11, and I don’t wish that upon anyone. We can look to history and know that I am right… it happens every time. Even the things our government tells us today, are practically the same words their governments told them then.

I don’t need to reflect upon the wrongs that the United States has done to the world. I don’t know what you would want me to find in my ‘soul’ anyway? I am sure that most parents would love their kids to grow up hating violence and only wanting more love in the world.

I just want to live in a world where we don’t solve our problems through murder and destruction. I think in 2011 we can find a new method of solving conflict. If that offends the sheeple who truly believe that it is okay to harm another human who they know nothing about, I am fine with that… because I love everyone (admittedly some less than others), and I don’t want anyone to die.


  1. Squig (PPDE)

    I see some issues that are specifically American in those letters (criticizing the government being perceived as unpatriotic, patriotism being very important), but the issues remain the same worldwide, and need to be explained in an easy manner to those who don’t know about them (yet). I am not sure Travis’ answer accomplishes this, and it would hence be interesting to read the next response of his mother (if there is/was any).

    1. Travis McCrea

      The replies got into some personal discussion about various things out-side of this… and I have the option of editing the conversation nor not displaying it at all. To ensure that I am not showing a bias and cutting out information (subconsciously) I will simply not post them.

      The conversation, HOW I SAW IT, followed like this:

      Mom: When you say these things you don’t think about the people that you hurt. Your audience is people within a small fringe.

      Travis: I am posting things that are true, I post these things because I don’t want my younger brother to live in a world where he is worried about getting bombed or that he cant find a job in which is what the United States will become if you guys don’t make radical changes soon. If it hurts people to know the truth, then they are hurt knowing the truth… better that then propagate lies that physically hurt people.

      Mom: I don’t even care about all that, I care about you. You are isolating yourself from the real world, when I talk t you I don’t want to know about your politics and this and that I want to know if you have a girlfriend or how things are going in YOUR LIFE.
      //side note: whenever I call my mother that’s all I ever talk about, she is referring to when she gets updates from her friends about me //

      Travis: I am a politician… politics are very much a part of who I am. I have friends and I do go out… but knowing that I am helping in a massive change that is sweeping through the world is a great feeling. I am sure that Aristotle’s mom also sent him a facebook message telling him to go get a real job… but it’s a good thing he didn’t (I think, I don’t actually know any stance by Aristotle, to be honest).

      If I have old childhood friends who unfriend me because of my personal beliefs then I don’t really care if they unfriend me or not. Should I not talk about how awesome gay people are because it will hurt the religious idiots on my friendlist?

      Everything I do is to help make the world a safer place, to ensure that my brother has a good place to live in without fear of oppression, or the collapse of the once great empire under his feet.

      There was no further reply.

  2. AeliusBlythe

    Oh dear.
    That’s difficult-not having the understanding of your own mother. Unfortunately, her opinion does seem representative of the average American’s. But she is wrong that you represent “people within a small fringe.” Many Americans see the damage our own government has done at home and abroad using 9/11 as justification. We may not be so loud in our views, but we should be. Good for you for making that voice heard.

    The anniversary of 9/11 should be a time to remember ALL the people that died as a result of the attacks-far more than 3000 people that are acknowledged, but also the many who died as a result of post-9/11 warmongering. Yes, they, too, are all real people with real families.

  3. Putte

    If you want your mother to understand where you are coming from, persuade her to watch the daily news show “Democracy Now – the war and peace report” for a week (also on the web):

  4. Squig (PPDE)

    Thanks for the reply Travis.

    That’s certainly a difficult situation to be in (and, since I was in the US as an exchange student and have host parents there not all too unfamiliar to me, even though we haven’t been that close over the last few years). I still think that, while you are the more reasonable in that situation from what you described, your approach was a bit too honest, or too intellectual in a way. I think your opinion could have been communicated better (You’d probably need a second facebook account for her friends in order to do that, or G+isize FB 😉 ); we are good at communicating to fellow nerds, and maybe even most of the academic/intellectual community. If we really want to be successful we need to be good at communicating with average Joe (or your mom) as well, and at large our movement is still trying to figuring that out.

  5. Thomas Tvivlaren


    First, nice post and a good outline of the conflict between intellectual honesty vs social relationships.

    Second, I get a feeling that facts might not be the issue here, but never the less, mention the official 9/11 Commission Report and how that document brings up the US responsibility in regards to the foreign policy and in terms of fraternizing with dictators etc.

    Third, as patriotism was brought up one needs to remember that it’s foundation is love of the country. To truly love one’s country means not only to support it and it’s leaders but oppose the same when they are corrupting what the country should be about. Turning a blind eye to people in charge hurting the country is not true patriotism but just simple ignorance and fundamentalism.

    Keep doing good!

  6. iridesce

    Being a little older ( well, decades … ), I can remember such conversations with my father ” What do you mean you will leave if you are drafted? ” ( I wasn’t ) and my mom ” I love you and want you to be safe – its not worth rocking the boat.” I’ll bet those such conversations are more common than not through the ages.

    A side note – you might try Diaspora – the Privacy Aware Open Source Social Network ( ) – think FB without the corporate / privacy BS.

  7. Ilinx

    Okay. Please know that I’m fully aware that I’m expressing myself about a relationship I know practically nothing about. This is just my completely spontaneous impression/reaction. First off, I can hardly imagine how frustrating of a situation this might be for you and it must have aken a good deal of patience putting those feelings of frustration aside while communicating your thoughts back to your mother who is obviously someone you care deeply about. Very well done.

    But I must say. She’s reacting to you like you’re holding a sermon. She seems to look at you and see a mislead fundamentalist which allows her to rationalize away most everything you say. If you sound like a preacher while apporaching her you will most likely only consolidate her stance towards your opinions and she’s obviously already heard your preaching a lot.

    On a note I saw repeatedly say that you hate the US government ( stomping on this persons core believes and likely effectively alienating this person from your views) but also state that you love everyone. Also you refer to things/situations in such a way it seems you take for granted 1. as facts 2. as something this person would already have a nuanced view or previous knowledge of. Which would make it hard to contextualize and in extension relate to what you’re saying. I’m sorry but some of this sounds a bit too religious even to me and I agree with you in essence to begin with.

    Try to understand what the main emotional (which isn’t always rational) burning points are for this persons concerns and dont trivialize them (by briefly insisting that you DO have friends or otherwise dismiss them). Talk about it, without being defensive and sounding like the the entire world is hanging on your shoulders. Take things slow. Talk about one thing at a time instead of pouring out a long ramble at a time. Give an overview and save details for later. Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

    If you do this it will probably be easier for someone like that to relate to what you’re saying. Then you will earn their trust (that you’re rational, calm and logical) and he or she’s likely to be a lot more receptive to what you’re trying to communicate.

    In terms of aforementioned “audience” I don’t know how scalable this approach would be, perhaps with modification it could be useful at least as material for discourse, but again, these are just my spontaneous reaction to this particular case. I think my main point is that in order for people to listen, you need to first earn their trust and have them see you as a rational entity. And there’s many ways to accomplish that.

    1. Sarah

      GREAT RESPONSE!!! And exactly what I told him. I believe his beliefs are great for the most part (although, twisting what we say to make it appear as we are attacking you is a gift) – I love that our family is so diverse and everyone has a right to feel the way they do….But its that, your own feelings, values and beliefs and constantly preaching and telling everyone else that love you and support you that you are the only one that is right and if we “just knew the truth” that we would see how “stupid” our opinions are, isn’t winning anyone over – if just freaks them out.

      Building trust, establishing credibility and being listened too is hard enough when you are 21 – when you go about it in such a “I’m obviously more intelligent than you” and twist words around for a blog to make us sound like we are riding on the heels of the Palin train or so incompetent that we’ve never stepped out of our small town. I work with global companies, am a published author and have traveled the world. I’m hardly a backwoods, uninformed hick afraid that doesn’t see corruption and problems where it exists and neither is your mom.

      It’s sad and hurtful that you take the family that loves, encourages & supports you – although sometimes questions your methods – and take public attack on them. I told you this summer how you could better get your voice heard, get more votes in your next election, convince more people you were fighting for the right side – not because I agree with what you stand for, but because you are like a brother to me and I just want to help you mature in your presentation.

  8. Eugene

    Get a girlfriend.

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