September 11, 2001 wasn’t a very hard thing to grasp for people: it was an act of wholesale indiscriminate murder.
September 12th was quite another story. What we did afterwards is really where the story of the last 10 years starts – our reaction. Unfortunately, it only took a few weeks to tell it wasn’t going to be a particularly good reaction. I recall Bush’s speech at Ground Zero seemed more like a speech a coach would give his team before a game – a bit out of tune for the circumstances but it was for the rescue workers struggling with long exhausting work so I let it go and waited for an address to the nation. And so I waited and remember sitting there rooting for Bush. Now, I didn’t care for him as Governor here in Texas but it’s a pretty weak governorship as far that goes so his ability to do much harm was limited accordingly and he didn’t seem like a bad guy on a personal level from things I’d read. Up until then, Bush had been leading the nation like you would expect a mediocre pro-business president would lead the nation so you kind of felt bad for the guy. Here he was basically expecting an easy post-Cold War ride when he gets hit with thousands murdered on his watch – way out of his league – so you really were just rooting for him and hoping his speech would bring out something that we could rally around. Unfortunately, we got something else (full text here). Now in between he added things like to not give into fear and intolerance and to give to charitable organizations and pray for those lost and their families which is fine but this is what stuck out.
“Americans are asking, “What is expected of us?” I ask you to live your lives and hug your children… I ask your continued participation and confidence in the American economy. Terrorists attacked a symbol of American prosperity; they did not touch its source.”
Or to paraphrase it – We’ve got this covered so you guys just live your lives like you would otherwise and, for God sake, don’t stop shopping!!! Wow! That’s a long way from the call to action that FDR gave to the nation(Link ). Asking for individuals and corporations (!!!) to sacrifice was just a little too 20th century for the US in 2001.
I got involved in the Peace Movement but protests were pretty annoying as there would always be some idiot with some anti-Semitic poster or some weird conspiracy theory nut-job that would make you cringe. Eventually, I realized that the “leaders” (at least locally) were just a bunch of career activists vying for power and the final straw for me was when I suggested a compromise between the two in our group. To suggest compromise got me labeled an agent provocateur by those in the factions. So, in the end, it was a huge joke.
Nationally, politics became a joke too. The Democrats and the Republicans pretty much playing with the nation like some really shitty game of D&D. “I cast stimulus!”, ”No no I cast Iraq invasion!”, “Oh no wait Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act !!!” Obama is no less a joke than Bush. Bush was a kid with a silver spoon who got in over his head while Obama has basically proven to be no more than an ambitious political hack. In the end, they both suck but while Iraq definitely gives Bush the edge on presidential fuck-ups, I’d wager that if you had a choice of someone to invite one over for Bar-B-Q, beers, and a football, you’d probably rather invite Bush.
Anyhow, the point of this post is that my reaction to 9/11 was to conclude that politics is bollocks. A huge “you need a wheel barrow to carry ‘em” set! Each side rallies their side in the media, neither trusts the other, but the fact of the matter is that Democrat or Republican, no matter how you try to spin it, it’s just a set of big stinky hairy balls.
So, I finally just gave all that a big cartman “Screw you guys, I’m goin’ home.” and I just focused on music, family, and friends. It seemed a lot better option than getting worked up over some stupid politician’s empty words. That’s not to diminish the lives lost (both military and civilian) but the sad thing is that all those lives lost happened not because they had to but because someone decided that their cause was more important – someone in a position of power who was safe from the explosions.
Oh, but my god told me…
No, your god made fucking hops and barley – he also made women. Fuck politics. You want to do good in the 21st century? Drink a beer and put your arms around the person you love. I’ll tell you what, I know that I’d rather be listening to music than strapping a bomb on myself to kill strangers for some bullshit ideal.
You want my ideal? Listening to Deer Tick with the woman I love. How’s that for a fucking ideal?