You know, they say we forget.
The Republic line (I’m not calling them Republicans again until they start calling the other party “Democratic” instead of “Democrat”) , distributed through the various layers of the Message Machine – from Cheney to Limbaugh; from Hannity to Rumsfeld – is that those of us who oppose this most disastrous and ill-timed of regimes – well, we just forgot all about 9/11. If we remembered, we would support Junior Bush and all the follies of his administration, from Iraq to Katrina. We would be United, which, in their minds, means that we would shut the hell up.
But, the fact is, I do remember. I remember seeing a strange “We are Being Attacked” headline and siren icon while lurking on Drudge that morning, thinking about what wack thing he was talking about now, and then getting a call to turn on the TV. I remember spending the rest of the morning watching the second plane hit, the towers fall, the dust in the air. Unlike the Kennedy and M.L. King assassinations, this was a moment we shared in different places; not on the networks, but on the various all-news cable channels, jumping from here to there to see, to feel, what was happening. I picked up my son from school that day like all the other parents, nervous and unsteady, just wanting to hold my boy.
I remember going to New York the next summer, feeling the injured souls of the natives of the island, going to view the rubble while my family slept.
Oh, I remember 9/11, alright. I remember it a lot more than Bush and his coniving minions, who went into hiding until they devised a way to twist it those thousands of dead victims their political advantage. While I sat open-mouthed in my home, watching in horror, they were making plans to seize the deadly opportunity. They emerged with another of Karl Rove’s brilliant political strokes. They decided to call it WAR.
It wasn’t War. But they gained so much power by calling it so. When 9/11 happened, Bush was already a failed president. He didn’t make any friends when they bludgeoned our democracy within an inch of its life by radically stopping the recount in Florida in 2000. His feed-the-rich initiatives, jammed through a compliant Congress, were too much for most people. But a War president – well, people give those fellows a whole lot of lee-way, don’t they?
In the one honest moment of his presidency while standing on the rubble at Ground Zero, Bush promised retribution and then gave us anything but. Bin Laden was just another wedge issue, another way to get things they wouldn’t otherwise be able to achieve. Sure, he invaded Afghanistan and gave us increased poppy production and a puppet regime. But, just like the day before and the day before that, the Bushies started working right after the planes hit to invade Iraq. Now the door was open and who could question them? Who would dare?
For five years now, Rove has used 9/11 like a political get-out-of-jail-free card, justifying and excusing every outrage and mistake. The War King could not be questioned, lest the terrorists win. In the mid-terms of 2002 and in 2004, the Republic party prevailed because of this fear-mongering. It’s something no one but them could have succeeded at, because nobody but them would have the naked ambition and lack of morals to try.
It is this kind of hubris that has lead Bush in recent days to say something even more ridiculous than usual. In his political speech from the Oval Office tonight, he said it again. The fight against Islamic extremists, he said is “the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century, and the calling of our generation.”
This is nuts. Not that someone as dim as Bush would know the meaning of the words they are putting into his mouth, but an “ideological struggle” has to have at least some arguable qualities on both sides. An “ideological struggle” is something upon which reasonable people can disagree, that can be debated and countered logically. If one side is, well, like us and the other side is a bunch of otherwise-powerless religious nuts, bent on making their points through suicide and random acts of violence, that’s neither ideological or a struggle. We win and we can’t lose that one.
There are ideological struggles that need to be fought, alright, but it is with Bush and with ourselves. Are we going to be a nation of laws and justice or a nation where the means justifies all ends? Are we going to be bound by the words of a Constitution that respects the privacy of our homes and ideas, absent a court warrant, or are we going to allow every inch of our life to be examined and every orifice searched? Are we going to allow greedy men to profit from fear to line the pockets of their friends and to build their power? We win all those, too. But, by “we”, I sure don’t mean George W. Bush and his devious handlers.
Desperate times call for desperate measures and the Bushies are pulling out all the stops. To them, to question is treason; to deny “unity” on their terms is unpatriotic. But, no, it’s not going to work, not this time.
After he loses one or both houses of Congress, this will be the last 9/11 anniversary that Bush will be in any real power and the last time he’ll be able to use that tragic day for any political purpose. If he had a soul, he’d be on his ranch on September 11, 2009. He’d reflect on the victims of 9/11/01 and he’d wonder what he could have done different to heal the nation and improve the world.
As it is, justice demands that he be alone that day with his empty thoughts, never knowing the damage he did; damage far worse than anything done on 9/11 or since.