fifteen years later...
Fifteen years ago, I lay in bed, ignoring my radio alarm clock, when suddenly I woke with a start, incredulous at what I thought I had just heard. I rubbed my eyes, sat up in bed, and listened to an advertisement as I waited to see if the news report that flung me into consciousness would repeat, or if it had been some bizarre dream.
A few minutes later, it repeated. Terrorists had hijacked two planes and crashed them into the world trade center in New York, which had collapsed thirty minutes later. I thought, "crap, this cant really have happened. This is bad, and nothing good will come of it." Over the next few days, I read news papers, and listened to radio reports, but avoided watching the video loop that TV news played of the planes crashing into the buildings and people jumping to their deaths in terror, as the flames and smoke choked them.
I had worked in the world financial center as a temp employee on a few years earlier, and I wondered how my co-workers fared. Luckily, the building was mostly empty, but still...this wasn't the sort of thing the US would sit back on.
Today, I look back at that morning, and those days afterward. I look back at everything that has transpired, and take stock of the current political climate in the US, and I fear that bin laden, despite having been killed by US troops, is inching towards victory. My country is more divided that I remember ever seeing.
We are nation griped by fear, and and divided by political lines, which more closely resemble the fervency of religious intolerance than political disagreement. Our news has been reduced to a feeding frenzy of packaging what is stupid, for mass consumption, because it sells. Our national dialogue on important issues has been reduced to petty name calling, with little to no opportunity for objectivity or facts to temper the animosity and vitriol.
I know that we've weathered other periods of discord like this, but that gives me little solace. Let's just not move backwards here. Let's just not indulge in tolerating and re-conquering (if we ever did originally conquer) the irrational idiocy that allowed us to push Native Americans to the brink of extinction, justify the sin of chattel slavery, or exalt and promote lynch mobs, and jim crow as means of terrorizing minorities into compliance.
Don't get me wrong, I worry about daesh and their brand of terrorism and extremism. I am unsympathetic to what I see of how Islam has been instituted as a form of governance anywhere in the modern world, but to be honest I also have Muslim friends, who are far more decent than what I've seen of trump's supporters on TV, or in Albuquerque. From my perspective, terrorists who are Islamic pose a lesser threat to me, to my family, and to my country than do our domestic terrorists who assault black churches, or a homeless Hispanic people. In this country, our struggle against terrorism ignores, but really ought to focus on White supremacy.
Unfortunately, it seems to me, that we may be further away from that than we were on September 10, 2001, and it makes me sad. What saddens me the most, bin laden didn't do this to us, we did. We've descended into this state of irrationality, where everyone is called a Nazi by someone, and hardly anyone realizes their beliefs are only as useful as the facts they used to arrive at those conclusions, coupled with their ability to make a logical case.
What do you think? Am I being too cynical? Please leave a thoughtful comment, and if you disagree make a good case. Shallow and inflammatory comments will be deleted!