You know what

I’m not watching any of this “commemorative” crap today (thank God for cable!) and I’m certainly not writing about it today. (I’m pretty sure you already know what I think.)

But Krugman did:

Is it just me, or are the 9/11 commemorations oddly subdued?

Actually, I don’t think it’s me, and it’s not really that odd.

What happened after 9/11 — and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not — was deeply shameful. The atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neocons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons.

A lot of other people behaved badly. How many of our professional pundits — people who should have understood very well what was happening — took the easy way out, turning a blind eye to the corruption and lending their support to the hijacking of the atrocity?

The memory of 9/11 has been irrevocably poisoned; it has become an occasion for shame. And in its heart, the nation knows it.

And so did E.J. Dionne:

In the flood of anniversary commentary, notice how often the term “the lost decade” has been invoked. We know now, as we should have known all along, that American strength always depends first on our strength at home — on a vibrant, innovative and sensibly regulated economy, on levelheaded fiscal policies, on the ability of our citizens to find useful work, on the justice of our social arrangements.

This is not “isolationism.” It is a common sense that was pushed aside by the talk of “glory” and “honor,” by utopian schemes to transform the world by abruptly reordering the Middle East — and by our fears. While we worried that we would be destroyed by terrorists, we ignored the larger danger of weakening ourselves by forgetting what made us great.

We have no alternative from now on but to look forward and not back. This does not dishonor the fallen heroes, and Lincoln explained why at Gettysburg. “We can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow this ground,” he said. “The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.” The best we could do, Lincoln declared, was to commit ourselves to “a new birth of freedom.” This is still our calling.

11 thoughts on “You know what

  1. I watched a lot of the “crap”, as you call it, for a couple of reasons.

    Both my ex- husband and my best friend worked in the South Tower for years, and I frequently visited them in their offices (with my two little kids in tow) at lunch hour. I remember those buildings well.

    How ugly and fragile they were! How lousy they were to work in! Some people in my best friend’s office-Dean Witter morphed to Morgan Stanley-actually took Dramamine every morning to cope with the swaying.

    Aside from that, the view from the top of the south tower was spectacular and there was a huge Joan Miro tapestry in the lobby that I used to love to look at.

    Nobody but the Rockefellers wanted the towers built in the first place, but built they were, largely at NYState taxpayers expense. Had they ever been filled to capacity, 40,000 hapless workers would have been the targeted by those idiots on the airplanes.

    As it turned out, the towers were largely vacant on that terrible day. My best friend, fortunately, had quit Morgan Stanley a few months before and was able to watch her former cubicle burn from a safe perch in Jersey City. My ex, working for NYState’s Department of Social Services, was assigned to an office in Queens. They escaped, but it took me two goddamn weeks of frantic phone calling to find that out-much of NYC’s communication grid was situated smack atop the north tower.

    I just don’t know. Maybe one has to live in Manhattan and learn to love it, as I did, to feel that loss when those buildings fell and all the people within, including the friggin’ firefighters who RUSHED UP THE STAIRS INTO THE FLAMES.

    Most of the human beings murdered on September 11, 2001 were workers at work. I don’t go for the flag waving, I was seriously enough against the Irag War to demonstrate against it in NYC, even as my mother was dying in the nursing home…but yes, I did watch the commemorations.

    Those who died were fellow workers. If I can remember Joe Hill, I can remember them.

  2. It was the death of American democracy — or rather, the beginning of the end. It’s not that I don’t care about the people who died, it’s that they were used as the excuse to hurt so many more. I still remember the televised orgy of glee when we started bombing Baghdad — you know, the people we decided should “pay” for what happened? I can’t be disgusted by one and not the other.

  3. too wimp to reply? that’s ok, just don’t forget the toilet paper for your mouth – on you it stinks more than the other end

  4. Some very icky commenters showed up today. Yuck.

    Susie, I’ve been watching/listening to every commenoration for since 2002, and I wasn’t going to go out of my way to watch, but I did end up doing so.

    Partially because I was sucked into it by WNYC’s Radio Rookies’ stories of young lives affected by the events of that day, children now 10 years older, and, for these Radio Rookies, telling some amazing stories about what happened in their lives. If you have some time, listen. One story shows that a life doesn’t have to end to be lost to that person’s child. Oh, that one hurt so much to listen to. And yet, youth is resilient.

    I so much understand how Bush/Cheney misused the terrible attacks to go for laws and wars they wanted to impose on the nation, but I kept getting hooked by the individual lives. And for them I feel deeply.

    I still miss the two towers — from my office out here in Northen NJ Suboonia, I had been able to see the tops of the towers “on a clear day….” I still see photos or movies of lower Manhattan and see something missing. They were not beautiful, albeit the view from the top was breathtakingly beautiful. They were just part of what I’d come to see as Manhattan. Their destruction, the destruction of lives, of art works, of a feeling still hurts.

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