Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Thursday, September 11, 2014


I posted something to Facebook that I'd like to expand upon.

I want to forget 9/11.  I want to stop wallowing in the memory of that day.  I especially want to forget the assholes who did it.  I want their names to disappear from our consciousness.

We should mourn and support those families who are still grieving those loved ones who will never come home.  But we should therefore cede this day to them.  It's their day, an awful anniversary of mourning.

But as a nation, we need to stop obsessing about 9/11.

It was - by all accounts - a massive lapse in security on many levels that allowed this to happen.  And undoubtedly, at some point some terrorist group will strike us again.  Unless you count the insane, in which case Newtown and Aurora and countless other places are there own forms of terrorism.  Not that we've changed anything about our lives - our gun policies - because of them.

But we changed ourselves over 9/11.  As Charlie Pierce notes we went crazy as a nation.  We invaded countries that didn't attack us.  We tortured people at Abu Ghraib and black sites.  We made airline travel even more ludicrous and unpleasant than it already was.

I'm tired of erecting monuments of stupidity to our fear.

It's called terrorism because it seeks to make is afraid, and when you look back at the last 13 years, we were made afraid and did stupid things from the place of our fear.

The reason I posted this on Facebook was because there were dozens of "Never Forget" posts with pictures of the two pillars of light that shine where the towers once stood.

I'm tired of remembering absence.

Much better are the pictures I've seen of the ridiculously named Freedom Tower.  At least there it is about building something.  It is about rebuilding on ashes.  That is a quintessentially American - even to a fault.

We are willing to whitewash our past and create a sort of moral amnesia about what Americans did in the past that was unrighteous.  If we are to "Never Forget" 9/11, then we should never forget Abu Ghraib and the firebombing of Fallujah.

But if not, then we are fetishizing 9/11 rather than remembering it.

From now on, for me, 9/11 is about the grief of those families.  It's not about something noble, beyond what individuals did on that day.

If we remain crouched in our fear - of Boko Haram and Al Qaeda and ISIS - then we are remembering all the wrong things about 9/11.

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