Late Night: The New Pearl Harbor
Time flies, whether you’re having fun or not. –Lynda Barry
The stark images from the day itself, so overplayed yet ambiguous, seem insignificant now compared to what followed, which is so much more dreadful than anything I could have imagined at the time.
My earliest indication that something terrible was afoot was when my 7-year old nephew, just a few days later, blandly explained to me that “they” did it because “they hate us for our freedom.” Naturally, I nipped that notion in the bud, countering that “they” had a lot of much more concrete reasons to hate us: occupying their lands, stealing their resources, and blindly supporting Israel, but I was shaken by the idea that just days after 9/11, children were already being actively indoctrinated to believe such utter hogwash.
Now that kid is 20 years old, and all of America has seemingly regressed to the second grade, minus any extraneous freedoms that might even plausibly spark global ire. Heck, Egypt and Iran are now legitimate critics of our utterly sullied human rights record.
At the time, I correctly feared disastrous military adventurism, but incorrectly assumed it wouldn’t last until AARP caught sight of me, but here we are. What I never suspected, though, was that hatred for our freedoms did drive the War on Terror, and that battle has been decisively lost.
Thirteen years ago, if I had known that torture, summary executions, indefinite detentions, tanks in our streets, and a nominally liberal President taking us to war, repeatedly, at whim would be the new normal, I would have probably just ended it all then, when I could have left a more attractive corpse. But it’s too late for that now.
The challenge is dealing with a society in which the freedoms that we once considered our birthright are vanishing before our eyes, and an increasingly loud chorus of “leaders” proclaim this to be, at best, a grim necessity, or at worst, a needed return to Traditional Values.
From the standpoint of the non-billionaire American, voting means little; no leading politician of either party will take a stand against the the cascading depredations of our oligarchic police state and its galloping impunity.
Courageous leakers, outraged journalists, and activists willing to tangle with a system diabolically stacked against them have had some impact, but freedom’s enemies are formidably prepared for the battle, and continue to emerge victorious in the war at home, where the real skirmishes are fought.
I wonder what they teach seven-year olds today?