Monday, September 12, 2011

Post 9/11 Thoughts

I didn't post anything on 9/11 yesterday because I have nothing positive to say about it. When you have nothing positive to say about a disaster, it's generally best to keep your mouth shut and wait until the day after it's anniversary before you say something about it.

Well, today's the day after. It's 9/12.

Here's my thoughts on 9/11:
First, in one succulent post, PZ Myers sums it far better than I could. You can find there - please, please, please go read this - "Our Disgrace".

That said, odds are, you're here for my opinion, not his. Worth noting is that they align fairly closely with one another.

When 9/11 happened, I was between second and third hour in my high school. I was in 9th grade (I should've been in 10th, but the less said about that, the better), and I was moving from my economics class when a friend of mind caught me by the bathroom doors and told me that someone had bombed the Pentagon. The rest of the day was sort of a blur for me, but I remember my mom calling Bush "the biggest idiot on the planet" on the way home, after the full scale of the disaster hit home.

For a while, I tried to do the patriot handstand and pretend that this meant something to me. I mean, hell, that's 3,000 some people. That's insane; I was young then and I had difficulty wrapping my head around that number. 9/11 was quickly forgotten not even a few months after it happened. We went after a bunch of people overseas, and my school work and friends resumed being the most important things.

It shaped exactly nothing on my outlook. This is why I class myself as a Generation X'er, rather than a Millennial. Millennial children (Gen Y) had their youth shaped by 9/11. 9/11 threw no significant shadow over my youth and did not change anything for me, at all. It helps I live some 2000 miles away, in a different state, and knew absolutely nobody involved.

My first real forced encounter with the 9/11 disaster was in College, some 5 years later. Like I said; it meant the deaths of 3,000 people who didn't deserve to die, but it inspired zero righteous anger inside of me. This encounter was more of a headbutt: my professor, an avowed Trufer, insinuated in not so subtle ways that the government was behind it and it was a false flag operation. Never one to allow lies to stand, I took the opposite stand and the class was forever divided along the lines of me verses everyone else.

Here I am, a post-graduate, better than 10 years later. I was 16 when the disaster happened. I'm 26 now. And my how the years have changed things (perhaps tellingly, I had to sit down and actually do math to figure out how old I was, because I don't keep that in my mind. Don't ask me how old I am, ask a calculator or, like I did just now, ask Excel; 1985 - 2011 = -26. Excel knows my age).

9/11 means something to me now. In the ensuing years since I've involved myself in politics (probably when I was 18; that happened because I was depressed and needed something to keep myself afloat). I was a hopeless cynic back in those days; the convergence of untreated Major Depression, my general loneliness, and the general idiocy of the Bush regime mean that my outlook on life was really quiet bleak. I attached myself to politics to give myself meaning, but at the same time, it only made my outlook darker.

I've found a new outlook, but things haven't changed all that much. I've watched as the government - and by "the government" I refer exclusively to entities like the CIA, the FBI, the Military, and the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches, not the post offices and such - slowly but surely removed our rights. I remember when the first news of the warrentless wiretapping broke out. I can remember reports of the torture scandals. I remember voting in 2004 and watching hopelessly as Bush won once again. That was a really bad year, even though I graduated.

That's my history with it. It's not a long history, and did nothing to shape my outlook. Everything that happened after it shaped my outlook.

That would be the secret prisons overseas, where we hand over "enemy combatants" to foreign nations to torture. That would be the fact that we've turned our airports into fascist police states, that the government openly flouts the rule of law and the courts have done jack shit to prevent them from doing it. That toilet-paper carries more weight in our legal system than the Constitution does. That a bunch of nosy, paranoid, ignorant White lazy-assholes with zero common sense have gathered a large enough astroturf movement to literally fuck this country over with the Credit Rating hit that we took from the S&P. That slowly, inch by inch, the ignorant American population gives more and more of our rights up to the government, who got us locked in an nigh endless war against a concept, rather than an actual entity. A war that continually returns nothing but dead bodies, who died for nothing except for greed and the corporate dollar. A war that returns profits in the form of propaganda for the enemy.

History isn't repeating itself from the 1960s and 70s, but boy does it ever rhyme.

9/11 isn't a day to honor American victims. Oh no. 9/11 needs to be recognized as a national day of shame. Shame because we sat back and did nothing while we handed over our freedoms, one at a time, to an increasingly plutocratic ruling body. A time to sit back and think long and hard about what we want out of this country, and realize that the direction we're heading in is not healthy for anyone. To realize that any safety that could possibly come from airport police states, pig-fascists in police uniforms, and the government as a whole is just an illusion of safety. To realize we screwed up big. To look back and tell ourselves that every single death since then, related to or during 9/11, was in absolute vain.

Of course, we won't do that. That'd require introspection. That'd require Americans being honest with themselves, rather than indulging in 9/11 porn. That'd require us to do something, rather than feel self-pity.

I'm one man screaming into the darkness of the Internet, shouting at anyone willing to hear, like the homeless guy on the corner who preaches about the end of the world.

But at least I'm screaming; at least I'm preaching, at least I see. What are you doing?

Here's something you can do: go to the ACLU's webpage, which I have linked right here, and download this PDF. It's our Civil Liberty's report card. Read it. Understand it. If you have a blog, post it there. We're marching lock and step towards a plutocratic police state. This has got to get out. This must be known. And if you don't believe that, then you're already so far gone you're probably supporting the plutocrats.


  1. You aren't screaming alone, even if it feels like it sometimes.

  2. This is why I class myself as a Generation X'er, rather than a Millennial. Millennial children (Gen Y) had their youth shaped by 9/11. 9/11 threw no significant shadow over my youth and did not change anything for me, at all.

    I thought being unaffected by 9/11 was a sign of youth, not age. When I think of 9/11, I think of a pre-empathic seven-year-old who didn't give a shit except about the bits that directly affected her.

    Well, I suppose I did learn something from 9/11. I learned the value of detachment and uncaring when faced with tragedy. That's probably not the healthiest lesson to learn, but it's what I got out of it.
    There's nothing specifically 9/11-ish about that, though: anything upsetting to the people around me in the appropriate developmental period would've done the same. I saw everyone around me miserable, and what good did it do them? Absolutely none. All they got was grief and creepy "togetherness", and they tried to drag me down with them.