I tried hard to avoid all the media coverage in the week or so leading up to the tenth anniversary of the 9/11/01 attacks. I couldn’t, because every outlet had that story, even sports networks like ESPN. But some of it was good. The radio show Marketplace had a daily feature, The Economic Legacy of 9/11, which showed exactly how much it has cost us, such as all the money that could’ve been spent on economic and social development that now goes into homeland security and anti-terrorism efforts, for one big aspect. Most other coverage would get turned off, because I just did not want to hear how politicians were going to use the anniversary to either promote continued fear or promote their other ends.

Finally on the actual day I got sucked into some of the emotional aspects, mostly as a result of Garry Trudeau’s Doonesbury episode featuring longtime characters BD, the (former?) gung-ho military guy, and Zonker, the hippie suntan champion. More than any other thing I saw that day, certainly more than the usually happy comics that on Sunday showed a whole family gathered around a flagpole magically appearing in the front yard, Doonesbury captured it for me.

On Sept. 11, 2011, not only were issues brought to our shores that the rest of the world had long faced already. That date was the point at which, looking back, it became obvious that we were losing our way, perhaps had been for a long time. We’ve managed to compound the damage Osama bin Laden did to us with our efforts to recover from and avenge the attacks. In the last decade, we’ve embarked on three “wars,” none of which have done anything — anything — to defeat terror. We’ve abridged noble legal principles, national and international. We’ve driven our economy into a ditch. We’re just as suspicious of “the other” as we’ve ever been, and that suspicion has been multiplied if “the other” has brown skin or a Middle Eastern name. Our politics is polarized. Our haves are sprinting away from our have-nots with an attitude Marie Antoinette might’ve found a bit crass. And the majority of Americans don’t seem to care as long as they can still watch “American Idol” and get the latest smart phones for the kids.

It’s not that I don’t care about the people who died on 9/11/01. It’s that looking at what happened in the ten years since is pretty hard to take. I know that’s a hell of a downer to end this post on, but the only other solution I can come up with is to somehow ignore all of this. Not only does that not seem good, it seems pretty hard to do when there’s so much evidence.


About songdogmi

I'm a longhaired almost-hippie stuck in the inner suburbs of a major rust-belt metropolis who's thoughtful, creative, and kind of geeky. In exchange for a paycheck I run around in a cubicle maze most days. When I escape, I play music, hang out in coffee houses, dink around on the computer, take naps, and think I should be off in the woods somewhere. Every once in a while I get in my car and drive far, far away, though I've always come back so far.
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4 Responses to 9/11/11

  1. maxauburn says:

    This country has lost it’s way.

    Insane health care costs, corrupt & evil government.

    This used to be a country to be proud to live in…

    • songdogmi says:

      It’s not as bad as it could be, but I don’t think the U.S. can claim to be the shining beacon that we are told we are.

      I would be happy if we claimed we’re pretty good and trying to get better. Thing is, I don’t think we’re trying to get better in the ways that would be worth bragging about.

      • maxauburn says:

        “Thing is, I don’t think we’re trying to get better in the ways that would be worth bragging about.”

        This country needs:

        1) To get rid of ALL religion.
        2) Free medical care for ALL!
        3) to get rid of ALL corrupt politicians.

        Those 3 will never happen, which is sad.

      • songdogmi says:

        Wouldn’t disagree with you there — either thre three points, or the conclusion, unfortunately.

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