Monday, September 19, 2011


The week leading up to the ten year anniversary of 9/11 made me tense. Too many flags. Flags that seem to challenge and threaten. Too many Facebook status treats. Jingoist hyperbole coupled with a demand for agreement. Or else.
Really.This never works for me. Even if I agree with the status I'm not going to repost it as mine to prove anything.
I kept thinking about what happened next. I was comforted to read Krugman in the Times, who articulated what I was feeling.

The fact is that the two years or so after 9/11 were a terrible time in America – a time of political exploitation and intimidation, culminating in the deliberate misleading of the nation into the invasion of Iraq. It’s probably worth pointing out that I’m not saying anything now that I wasn’t saying in real time back then, when Bush had a sky-high approval rating and any criticism was denounced as treason. And there’s nothing I’ve done in my life of which I’m more proud.

It was a time when tough talk was confused with real heroism, when people who made speeches, then feathered their own political or financial nests, were exalted along with – and sometimes above – those who put their lives on the line, both on the evil day and after.

So it was a shameful episode in our nation’s history – and it’s one that I can’t help thinking about whenever we talk about 9/11 itself.

The day of the memorial was more real. I listened to the names being read. I felt tears well up again and again. Memorials are important. Real people lost real family members.
I remember waking up, turning on the radio, getting the news and feeling more dread about what would happen because of the attack than I did about another attack. Dean was here doing his internship with Debbie. I knew he needed to be informed but I didn't want him to be overwhelmed. When he left in the morning I turned on the radio, the television and the computer overwhelming myself. When he came home we watched old game shows. When I took him to the airport to go home the security lines had begun. Everything had changed.
Last year I watched while my 85 year old mother was searched at the airport. She took it all in good humor. Our reaction continues to seem so disproportionate.
I tried to find a link to the special show Rachel Maddow and Richard Engel did but I couldn't find it. I guess it's old news now. It was very good. One of them said something about the attack causing us to flail about scattering our resources.
The flags are all down now. Post book status threats are about other causes. It's not the flags in and of themselves that bother me. It's the demand for agreement. It's the demand that I prove my loyalty to an idea of country. It still makes me tense.

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