Sitting here on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, I am trying to collect my thoughts on the event and what followed. In summary, the sentiment seems to be somewhere between disgust and disappointment.
As for the events of the day I’ll leave it at vile and pointless. What followed is equally disturbing and even more damaging to America.
Except for the, what was it?, five or seven days after 9/11 when it felt like the entire country changed; people were looking out for each other; palpably kinder and more polite; the pace of things sort of felt like they even slowed down a bit.
Then, before too long, we were in a race to the bottom that continues to this day. The repugnant right wing predictably used the event to drive their agenda to destroy America. Fueled by their own 24 hour propaganda TV channel and countless shout radio outlets, they began to get the dim witted ‘educated’ on their agenda. A sickening 8 years was spent watching a budget surplus turned into a huge deficit. Several trillion dollar wars, hundreds of billions of dollars unaccounted for in the process, hundreds of billions more dollars wasted on ‘security theater’, Abu Graib, Black Water running rough shod over what was once a sovereign country, the overt racism of the Katrina response, tax cuts for the ultra wealthy while the middle class and poor shoulder more of the tax burden, deregulation turning Wall Street into a casino leading to another bout of corporate welfare, the religious-right’s war on science and education, the right openly advocating assassinating political figures simply because they have a different point of view (and nearly succeeding in the case of Gabby Giffords) and the list goes on and on.
Now we are at the point that the Tea Baggers, backed by the aforementioned propaganda machine, leap from one canard to another to try to disassemble the social security net, collective bargaining and medical reforms. The latest misdirection swirling around a suddenly urgent need to cut the deficit. No one calls them out for being in favor for all of the Bush regime policies that created the deficit – such is the state of ‘journalism’ in this country.
So instead of continuing with that post-9/11 sentiment of caring about and for each other and trying to make the best of every situation, America has chosen instead to become a banana republic where the ultra wealthy become more rich and the rest of us can just fend for ourselves. You don’t have to squint too hard to see that the Tea Baggers are nothing but the stooges of the likes of the Koch brothers, with the stooges willfully acting against their own best interests, screwing the middle class and the poor – the very people who account for 70% of the US economy; that is, the people who actually spend their money.
And what about those wars? I saw a bumper sticker recently that read “My country invaded Iraq and all I got was this expensive gasoline”. Indeed. And with the changes coming from the ‘Arab Spring’ they seem to be making the changes for themselves fairly successfully. One might even wonder if those Arab countries value Democracy more than right-wing America does?
If you have read this far and lean to the right (hard to imagine), I can almost hear you shouting ‘you hate America!’, ‘communist!’, ‘socialist!’ or whatever is in vogue on shout radio these days. No, it is more like watching a good friend become addicted to drink or drugs – you recognize the good person they were before while watching them slip further and further down. It is painful and unsettling.
But what to do? If an event as world shaking as 9/11 can’t move Americans to turn away from greed, thugishness and carelessness, what can? I hope that, as a nation, we can find that thing. And soon.