Monday, September 12, 2011

It's now 9/12, can I go back to being an asshole?

Hey, at least I waited a day.

So another 9/11 has come and gone, and we say goodbye to yet another day of watching chaos and horror and destruction on a 90 minute loop so that we "never forget", although what we aren't supposed to ever forget by being shown this footage I'm not quite sure of. I'd think that those that choose to honor instead of forget the dead do so by celebrating their life rather than their untimely demise, but that never really seems to be the theme with the media, does it? So the only thing I can really come up with is this idea that America is not secure and we should be afraid, very afraid, or that sick motherfuckers exist, which is something I don't think we really would ever forget even if we tried.

So again we are subjected to lectures from very serious right-leaning pundits about the proper way of conducting yourself on this day, which apparently involves eagle gifs and flags and tales about how they learned on 9/11 that voting Republican is the only way to go to keep us safe because after the attacks Bush had a bullhorn and that was really inspiring and all. And all of this they figured out as they were watching it unfold on their televisions that were hundreds to thousands of miles away from Ground Zero, which is why they can tell people like 9/11 widows and first responders when they are being totally out of line and doing things other than shutting the hell up and posing for patriotic photo ops - that sort of distance they were lucky enough to have gives one perspective on the real way to grieve, you see.

But even with eagle gifs, wingnuts can't completely feel in touch with this holiday without finding some sort of faux-outrage to scream about how liberals hate America, as it's tradition. And normally this would be targeted at the head liberal usurper in chief, because really, is there anything you can't blame on Obama these days? But sadly, if you mention Obama and 9/11 in the same sentence now, it might just bring up the fact that it was Obama, not Dick Cheney, not Erick Erickson, not John McCain, and not George W Bush that actually got America's Public Enemy #1, instead it was the America-Hater himself, and that shit is just awkward.

Luckily for them, Paul Krugman stepped up to the plate, and will now be your representative as to what is really wrong with America this year (psst! Spoiler Alert: It's liberals again!). Let's see what radical, extremist, America-hating tripe KThug managed to bust out to make American Baby Jesus cry this time:

What happened after 9/11 — and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not — was deeply shameful. Te atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neocons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons.

A lot of other people behaved badly. How many of our professional pundits — people who should have understood very well what was happening — took the easy way out, turning a blind eye to the corruption and lending their support to the hijacking of the atrocity

And now there must be screaming and shouting and moral grandstanding up to volume 11 because it's just not right if there's a liberal out there somewhere with a column that we haven't completely made into a pariah for daring to suggest that perhaps some people might of had the wrong reaction after the attacks, because as we all know, if you say love America enough, you can't possibly ever be wrong. Even if you were horribly, disastrously, and completely wrong. But fuck you, it's 9/11, and you are not allowed to point that sort of thing out. Feelings, and all.

So let's look at some of the reactions of some of those directly affected by those attacks that were hurt by Paul Krugman's heartless comments. And by that I don't mean victims or families of victims or the thousands of New Yorkers or folks in DC that were smack in the middle of what when down that day. Instead, I mean right-wing bloggers.

Erick Erickson:

If he speaks for liberals, liberals are truly disgusting. I assume and believe that most liberals reject this and hope many of them will be vocal about the disagreement. And the New York Times might want to rethink using Krugman’s conscience as that of a typical liberal.

Flopping Aces:

“Years of Shame”? Mr. Krugman has exhibited an unconscionable moment of shame for which he should forever be embarrassed. As you can see, he is as cowardly as the terrorists themselves… a hateful hit and run on a day of remembrance and mourning, demonstrating that he, himself, is guilty the accusations he levels at others.

And I just have to link this one because I absolutely love that someone has the gall to lecture Paul Krugman about his "partisanship" on this holiest of holy days and then two posts later comment on the very serious event that was cheering George W Bush and not Barack Obama (because everyone hates Obama, amirite?), which isn't partisan or petty at all guys, really.

Your more nuanced, "serious" conservative is merely clucking their tongue and talking about how Paul Krugman totally shouldn't do things like point out that for all the chest-beating idealism about "freedom" that came from the 101st Fighting Keyboarders, we sure did fuck that up quite a bit and put the country on a road for the worst. But it's okay because they are sure that other, more rational liberals would never reflect on 9/11 through this sort of prism that accurately reflects the reality of the situation (so don't even think about talking about it, liberals. You don't want to be an asshole like Paul Krugman, do you?).

(Side note: At first I thought it was kind of strange that they decided to go with "Sounds of Silence" for the tribute song this year. I mean, I know that interpretations differ, but the song seems to be making a pretty strong point in regards to living in ignorance or "silence" while the truth is right there staring at us in the face, and warns against society turning away from it and towards comforting falsities for guidance instead. But seeing the reaction to Krugman's column, and considering how critics of the handling of the aftermath of 9/11 were treated as if they were borderline treasonous, makes me think that the choice was perhaps quite apt. Sorry, just something I was thinking about today)

I feel if anything, I've earned the right to be cynical while watching what has unfolded during the past ten years. And I feel no need to keep quiet about it, because the effects of these mistakes are still with us to this very day. Find me one thing in Krugman's post that is not true. Tell me one mistake Washington or the DC media reflected upon and learned from. People did behave badly post-9/11, and often for selfish reasons. We did take a moment of national unity and turn it into one of the most decisive partisan issues of the past decade. And yes, some of them know damn well that is what happened, and they really don't like it when you make it a salient point in their minds. I have a hunch these are the same people that are shrieking the loudest about what Krugman said. Shut up. Shut up. Shut up.

I'm obviously not going to take the high road here. I'm not going to reminisce without partisanship, or without politics, because the fact is that what happened cannot be divorced from these things. I'm not going to fake my way through that, or forget anything that has happened since for the sake of protecting the feelings of those that were wrong, tragically wrong, about the path this country should take at that point. And those who are still taken as credible to this day, as if their full truckload of fail from that time never existed.

Perhaps for a while, the politics and the bickering could have been separate from the memorial. I know that in the aftermath, we did have this euphoric sense of national unity. I know that some of this is an attempt to find that unity again.

But I also know that it was squandered for political reasons then, and I know that it's often squandered for political reasons now.

And I know exactly who I hold accountable for that.