There aren’t many days when I wake up, look around and say “oh, thank heavens, it’s overcast.” Nine eleven is one of those days. It probably will always be.
For many of us, the crystalline clarity of that September morning sixteen years ago will live forever as the symbol of something we lost, some innocent glimmer that can never be recovered. On that day, we changed, each of us who lived through it and who didn’t willfully go back to sleep. On that day those of us who had been hopeful, idiotic internationalist libertarians were reminded that the world doesn’t conform to dreams, that other countries and other cultures get a say in who we are and what we do and that some of them hate us, they really, really hate us.
More importantly, though, deeper than the fracturing that made me a grown up (Yes, I was then thirty nine, but still very much a young idiot) 9/11 broke our national illusions.
Look, being attacked is one thing. Everyone who wasn’t willfully blinded — me, I wanted to believe in peace and stability after my turbulent growing up years, after the USSR had been (I thought) staked through the heart, after the cold war was over without nuclear holocaust — would have known sooner or later an attack like 9/11 would happen. It’s not unheard of in the life of nations, and besides, we had countries and organizations who’d declared themselves at war with us (still do.)
And there was the previous World Trade Center attack, after all.
It’s what came after that has led to where we are.
For those of you who were too young, those who were not aware of politics, yet, sure, the country was as riven, as broken in two (or more) pieces as it is now. The happy-slappy idea of consensus, of unity, was a thing of a unified mass media.
All through the cold war, those of us who both lived among intellectuals and who knew the USSR was a horrible, dehumanizing regime, and communism a malware in the soul of mankind, knew that the “left-complex” of media, entertainment and education told themselves lies about communism, lies which, effectively, made them internal enemies.
It was impossible, particularly around Reagan’s election, to miss the press’s view that he would start the hot war with an “otherwise peaceful” USSR, or not to read beneath it, a willingness to surrender, to secure “peace in our time” at all costs.
But those of us who’d grown up among leftists (in Europe, say, or in academia) could excuse it too. Well, sort of excuse it. We could look at what communism had once seemed to be, and at the massive propaganda machine of the USSR and shake our heads at these poor deluded fools who longed for their impossible utopia. We deplored their treasonous words, their ridiculous betrayals, but in a way more in pity than in anger.
Then came 9/11. For those following this by score card at home, 9/11 came after the fall of the USSR and before the horror pit of what communism had actually been had been covered over, memory-holed. For a few years (a very few) the left was actually almost ashamed of itself, almost patriotic.
By 9/11 they’d started making noises about “not done right” as though there were anyway to do “right” a regime that requires everyone to behave like angels and against human nature.
Then nine eleven happened, and the masks came off. There were my leftist friends “made uncomfortable” by the American flags everywhere. There was talk about how we should apologize to the Muslim world, how it was all our fault, how we were the worst.
Since then we’ve been treated to insanity like gay marchers in support of regimes that would kill them; “feminists” who cover their heads in Muslim countries; feminists who will claim that Islamic women are the “true feminists.”
You could break your heart from laughing, if at the heart of it, their hatred for us weren’t so clear, so concentrated, so pure. If it hadn’t become obvious that the enemy within REALLY wishes to destroy us and everything we are, even at the cost of letting the world be consumed by the most fanatic form of a 7th century religion which hates everything they claim to stand for.
The enemy outside is to be expected. America is a new thing in the world. We will always have enemies.
The enemy within, both on the left and those who claim to be on the right, but who live in gleeful expectation of our downfall, those are a problem and a serious threat.
They are not a serious threat because of their ability to do much against us, or even because (on the left) because of their monopoly on the cultural megaphones. They’re not even a serious threat because of their numbers. There aren’t really very many of them, and their cultural megaphones have been negated by technology, a negation and downfall accelerated by their behavior after 9/11, which propelled many of us to blogs and political activism.
No, they are a threat, because they still have some structural power, and because they are blissfully unaware of how their behavior, their beliefs, their reactions, appear to the rest of us.
The flags everywhere should have been a sign that Americans don’t generally hate America, as they do. It wasn’t. Instead, they whined about jingoism and retreated into their America-blaming bubble.
The rise of blogs, their inability to fully control elections should have been a warning. It wasn’t. Instead they made jokes about people in their pajamas and managed one last media sweep, one last fraud wave to elect Obama (who benefited too from almost uniform racial solidarity besides) and convinced themselves that meant the rest of us REALLY wanted an apology tour of the Muslim world, REALLY wanted NASA turned into an instrument to raise Muslim self esteem, that we really wanted to abandon Iraq and Afghanistan to the ravening hordes of Isis.
The election should have been a wake up call, but it was not. They have sunk into a dream of being brave resistance to a Nazi regime that doesn’t exist. Even though their predicted racial extermination camps, their predicted crack down failed to materialize, they’ve filled their yards with signs proclaiming their resistance, and gone that much crazier in their public utterances.
The alarm is ringing and they refuse to wake up. Instead, they roll over and hit snooze again and again and again.
But just like you can’t ignore the alarm forever, you can’t ignore festering wounds forever.
Declaring 9/11 a day of volunteering or whatever the hell Obama did, as though this were a blameless, guilt-free tragedy and we were just being sad in general; saying it’s time to get over it; managing to make most images of 9/11 disappear from online, even from the free image sites like Pixabay (seriously, go look up twin towers, there) won’t make us forget. It won’t make it all go away.
Sending out black clad fascists who call themselves antifa, won’t make the discontent stop.
Our elites can’t harness this type of anger to their benefit, though Lord knows they tried and tried and tried — OWS, Resistance, antifa — because our anger is with them and with their obvious, declared hatred of us.
There is a festering wound in the heart of America: our unavenged dead, our unrepentant fifth column.
You can cover wounds up, and skin can even grow over them, but that won’t make them heal. The infection will just fester, consuming everything and eventually killing the patient.
The American people know their self proclaimed elites would rather side with those who want to destroy America than stop hating the nation that gave them so much. And the American people don’t want to die.
Amping up the crazy to eleven (really how much crazier can you get than invisible micro aggressions, or no one knowing where to pee?) won’t stop the sound of the maggots feeding on our living flesh.
It won’t expunge away the image of those men and women and children (do you realize those children would now be in college?) who died on that clear, sunny September morning sixteen years ago for no other crime than being Americans. Americans like us.
Tamping down on our anger and our grief won’t make it go away. It will just make it find new outlets.
It is possible, of course, to keep this up long enough that they do indeed destroy America. But they won’t like what comes next. And nor will we.
On the other hand, I don’t think they have the power anymore. I think their insane shrieking is all they have. And it’s not enough.
Beneath it, as a groundswell, the people who know that when someone says they want to kill you, you should believe them, the people who love America still, despite the betrayals of the elites, the Americans, are getting very, very angry.
Festering wounds create heat and fever. The voices of our unavenged dead cry out for vengeance.
Telling us to sit down, shut up and do volunteer work is not going to succeed.
If this goes on, the “elites” and every trace of their culture will be destroyed. And all we can do is fight not to let America go with it.
In the end, we win, they lose.
The die is cast. They’ve made their choice. The rest of us made the only one we could.
Not all the destruction of monuments, not all the screaming, not all the black-clad goons will change anything now.
9/11 and the people’s reaction to it was the alarm. They hit the snooze button.