Today is, of course, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks by these wretched madmen.
I’m sure the web will be crowded today with analyses, reflections, and personal stories. I won’t rehash my own anecdotes of that day here, particularly since I’ve done so before.
If one considers just how many people have shared tales of how they were supposed to be inside the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, but for such-and-so reason their plans were cancelled at the last minute, we can assume that the building was capable of holding several million people. Come to think of it, my older brother is one of them. I’m not kidding. His meeting’s venue was changed to a skyscraper a few blocks away.
As I was thinking back to what a seminal event that day was in our history, I jotted down in chalk some poolside notes as I often do when I want to preserve whatever it is I’m thinking about. I wanted to share these musings with you. I suspect that in, say, fifty years, historians will agree that the inflection point that marked the peak of the United States in terms of prosperity, prestige, and power, was precisely 9/11/2001, and it was all downhill from there.
I will say one very small anecdote about that day, however, and I’ve mentioned it here before. On that morning, my wife was holding our newborn child when we were watching the television as the first tower collapsed. I immediately turned to her, pointed to the television, and said “This changes everything.”
Little did I know how prophetic that would turn out to be, because the delusional Islamic zealots who thrust the world into this darkness immediately set our once great country on a path which, ultimately, will make the United States little more than an appealing venue for future tourists who want to check out the remnants of a former empire, much like people gawk at the Roman Coliseum and the Greek Parthenon in the modern day. At the moment, we all get to hang out and watch it slip lower with each passing week.
The list below is not exhaustive, but I offer below five important changes which have taken place since that dreadful day:
The Rise of Atheism
Even as a kid, I thought one of the dumbest utterances I heard from people who fancied themselves to be intelligent was something along these lines:
“Ya know, most of the murders that have ever occurred in history were because of religion.”
It had to be the most common Clever Thing To Say in freshmen dorms across the country, and it was always a surefire applause-fetcher at comedy shows. I suppose some extraordinarily vague notion that there was something called a “crusade” about a thousand years ago led them to this conclusion. The poor knowledge of human history by our fellow citizens can lead them to some curious conclusions.
The actual murder-leaders, such as Genghis Khan, Stalin, Pol Pot, and Hitler didn’t have religion on their minds one little bit when they slaughtered tens of millions of people. A more accurate freshmen dorm pontification would be: “Ya know, the desire for land is responsible for more murders than anything else.” Which leads one to the conclusion that we should be shunning real estate agents, not religion.
In any case, because the 9/11 attacks were quite clearly compelled by Islamic terrorists, suddenly All Things Religious had a smear upon them. But my view is that humanity threw the proverbial baby [Jesus] out with the bathwater.
There was this vague sense, however, that if one of the world’s largest religions was so deeply anchored with hatred, oppression, and violence, then all religions must be tainted. This also meant that utterly tiresome atheist celebrities became prominent, such as Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris.
Notice the inflection point of the chart below around the year 2001.
Indeed, if religions were growth stocks, then atheism would be the only profitable one left. It’s really a shame, because I think people need faith more than ever. And yet they’re convinced we’re all just random and we die with no meaning.
Personally, I think faith is an intensely personal pursuit, and I’m as uninterested in hearing the rantings of an atheist as I am those of any other faith-based group (although atheists have that same characteristic that vegans do, which is the ability to be particularly annoying due to their intense sanctimony).
Team America: World Police
What’s the old saying? Never let a crisis go to waste. Well, they sure followed that rule here.
In true federal government fashion, they constructed a vast new monolith under the umbrella of the clumsily-named UNITING AND STRENGTHENING AMERICA BY PROVIDING APPROPRIATE TOOLS REQUIRED TO INTERCEPT AND OBSTRUCT TERRORISM ACT OF 2001 which, of course, happens to spell out USA PATRIOT.
And this thing was law the very next month. So on the heels of the “peace dividend” of the 1990s, America went rushing back into the role they loved so much, which was to spend trillions of dollars roaming the Earth and trying to compel others to do their will. It’s painfully ironic that, on this solemn day, the memories of the absolutely humiliating retreat from the multi-trillion dollar Afghanistan debacle are fresh in everyone’s minds, having taken place only days ago.
The Nanny State
The PATRIOT act was the supercharger of this, of course, but the role of government is our lives is greater than ever. It seems there is virtually no aspect of what we do, what we buy, whom we communicate with, and what we say that isn’t under the watchful gaze of our betters in D.C. And I won’t even get into the whole “vax” thing, since that subculture is well-established within these digital walls.
Going through airport security used to be a simple affair that was no more complicated than taking one second to walk through a metal detector to make sure you didn’t have any loaded weapons on you (although, incredibly, you were absolutely welcome to bring box cutters on board back on 9/11, as the terrorists precisely did).
These days, of course, you practically have to strip down to your underwear to get through. One can only imagine the literally billions of times that shoes have been donned and doffed, pants belts have been removed and replaced, and laptops have been extracted and inserted, all thanks to the grotesque sub-humans at the top of this post.
Being attacked made weapons cool again. The first Gulf War was the amuse bouche to this, since it shook off the stigma of Vietnam, but after the towers fell, America could not wait to start blowing things up. Well, twenty years and trillions and trillions and trillions of dollars later, we all know where it landed us. A series of lost wars, and a permanent loss of status on the world stage. Being an American was the Platinum Card of citizenship in 2000. These days, it’s become an awkward embarrassment.
Our Relationship with Money
The PATRIOT Act cost money. Establishing the Nanny State cost money. God knows that the wars cost money. And paying the country not to work last year cost money. To say nothing of all the cash thrown directly to the personal friends of Jerome Hayden Powell who haunt the canyons of Wall Street, creating the most grotesque wealth distribution in human history.
Ya know, I’m not that old, and in my adult lifetime, the following ideas were honestly taken seriously:
I mean, honestly, they were really getting serious about this……..
- The budget should be balanced every year;
- Deficit spending is undesirable;
- The Constitution itself should be amended to require balanced budgets;
- We can, and should, have a plan in place that will pay off the national debt completely.
That picture is real. Honestly, it seems insane, I know, but they truly wanted to do that. But the very idea of eschewing debt and “knowing the value of a dollar” is just an old-fashioned joke now. People have become completely numb to it.
The idea of a person even having one billion dollars seemed virtually unreal not that long ago. Yet now, the public doesn’t even blink that, in one year’s time, Jeff Bezos has one HUNDRED billion extra dollars that he didn’t have before. It doesn’t’ even faze the public. Money has become completely abstract, and it falls from the heavens in unlimited quantities (although it mostly winds up in the hands of the chosen few).
And this, largely, is all thanks to one man and the banking cartel which is his master:
A Different Speech That Night
I’m sure most of you watched the President speak from the oval office that night. I immediately found the speech to be weak and clumsy, and, frankly, written with the same skill of someone composing a high school graduation speech, complete with elementary wordplay and attempts at inspiration. (To say nothing of the constant, pointless hand gestures, which indeed kick off the entire speech).
If I were to fantasize some kind of alternate history, I think that, on the evening of September 11, 2001, I would imagine George W. Bush sitting in front of a television camera and offering this speech to the good citizens of the United States:
My fellow Americans. As you know, today our nation was deliberately and viciously attacked by Islamic terrorists, aided and funded by Saudi Arabia and provided support by the nation of Afghanistan. As commander-in-chief, I have ordered the full strength and manpower of our nation’s military to provide assistance in New York City and Washington D.C. as well as to compose a military response to any and all governments we believe were involved in this attack.
My pledge to you is that these military responses will be swift, will be surgical, and will be terminated after their successful completion. This nation will not be seduced into another lengthy foreign war based upon these provocations, but we will have our vengeance, and we will have it very soon.
Strategically speaking, however, it would be a devastating error for us to fall into the trap set for us by our enemies abroad and become entangled in conflicts that could cost this nation both blood and treasure for decades to come. Instead, you have my solemn pledge as your President that, after emergency and rescue efforts have been completed, and we have had time as a nation to mourn our loss, we will be focused body and soul on divesting ourselves from any dependence upon the Middle East, which was the origin of these attacks. Only one hundred years ago, that very region was a barren wasteland of poverty, yet today they hold dominion over the earth for one and only one reason: oil. Their lucky accident has brought them trillions, but this perversion on the world stage is about to end, and they will find themselves isolated once more, at least from this country.
This nation, of which I am honored to be your President, will endeavor on a bold journey to cease our need for any resources from that region, as we will direct the trillions that would have been wasted on warfare and instead invest them in our own independence from a region which has become nothing but a nursery for terrorist attacks. As their economy is starved from the usurpation of our own wealth, America will return to its rightful place as the leader of its own dominion and the director of its own fate and fortune. We will no longer pretend that the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an innocent in this world, nor any of the surrounding regions which have offered no value to our people other than the energy that happened to be found underneath their feet.
But for the moment our focus must remain on the rescue, restoration, and the healing. We are all hurting, but we will recover stronger, and we will rise above the threats that our enemies have provoked. Whether my actions are politically prudent is unimportant to me. I am your elected leader, and my solemn pledge was to lead to the best of my ability. I will do so, even if you decide on new leadership. With a full heart and a clear path for what I believe is in the best long-term interest of the nation, this is the course which I ask you to follow with me. Pray for those in mourning today, and pray for our nation and what I know will be a great future for this Republic. God bless you, and God Bless the United States of America.
Can you imagine………can……..you………imagine………..what kind of position we might be in as a country had this been the path decided? No Gulf War II. No Afghanistan. An utterly different political path (with Presidents whose names we probably don’t even know). Total and complete energy independence. A national debt probably less than half its current size. And, most delicious of all, the ability to tell Saudi Arabia to shove any nearby fencepost up its ass whenever we felt like it. What a staggering difference such a decision would have made. Jesus, what a shame.
Good God, People
I will close this fantasy with a simple thought.
The deluded animals at the top of this post were all Muslim and shouted out allahu akbar as they deliberately killed themselves, the innocents on the planes, and the innocents in the buildings that were hit. God is Great, they declared.
These people didn’t know God. God has nothing to do with this. A great god – – even a totally made-up one like theirs – – doesn’t do this.
Human beings are human beings, but the light within them is not assured. Mohamed Mohamed el-Amir Awad el-Sayed Atta wasn’t a man. He was just a homo sapiens. A living organism capable of thought and action. But there was no light in him. Look at his face. There’s nothing behind those eyes.
If you want to see God, look elsewhere.
Look at a four year old seeing their friend at school in the morning. That is God.
See the expression on the face of someone who has adopted a dog who has been waiting in the shelter for months for a loving family. God is there.
Look within the heart of a person who sends money to someone in need of help, whom they’ve never met, and who will never thank them, and recognize that God is there.
Consider the people here on Slope who sent cash for a disabled man here in my town. They weren’t thanked. They weren’t recognized. But they felt something inside. That feeling was God.
God isn’t some bearded superman waiting in the clouds, willing to use his magical powers to help those who worship him the strongest and bow to him with the most fervor. What kind of pathetic, insecure deity would that be? Fuck that guy! Hey, god, if that’s you………you suck!
Look in the mirror instead. You don’t need to die to see God. You can already see him, right there looking back at you. In every good impulse you have. In every charitable act you perform. In every moment of tender connection you feel with any other living thing. When you know you are a part of something vastly greater than yourself, then you can see your true self.
These terrorists did not know any god. It was just make-believe. A sick fantasy. You, however, do not share their fate. You know God, because you live with him each and every day, when you’re at your best. Collectively, we comprise this wispy “thing” we’ve all been trying to figure out for thousands of years. We are all part of that body.
But bodies can have disease. Bodies can be assaulted with malignant impurities. And a healthy body rejects them or has them excised.
The creatures at the top of the post were those malignant tumors, and they excised themselves from the greater good. Their souls have died out in a spiritual dead-end. Regrettably, they took many others with them, as well as the nation’s fate as a whole.
The goodness and God-ness within us all persists, however. That, at least, is something we can celebrate on this otherwise wretched anniversary. Take that look in the mirror. You are part of a goodness that cannot perish.