Sunday, September 18, 2011

9/11 and Americans' Remarkable Incapacity for Self-reflection

by Daniel Patrick Welch

When Lois Griffin gets elected mayor of Quahog by pandering to the stupidest and most meaningless references to 9/11, audiences roar. But when that same scenario is replayed over and over again in a largely successful attempt to separate people from their intellect, their conscience and their instinct for self-preservation, no one apparently even knows what's happening. Never Forget! Shriek the flag-wavers and cheerleaders of empire, as if such a thing were even possible.

For the past ten years, every march to war, every Free Speech Zone, every step in the criminalization of dissent--the whole ball of wax has been accompanied at every turn by the mindless repetition, the fear-and-fascism-drenched threat not to question or even think too deeply, because "9/11 changed *everything.*" There is a blunt and chilling meme floating around facebook and other internet fora, subscribed either to the Palestinians or some other victims of empire's vented rage to avenge the events of that day: "Your 9/11 is our 24/7."

Yet Americans so lack the capacity for self-reflection that we apparently prefer to continue to see ourselves as eternal victims instead of the initiators of one insane war after another.

In all of the parades, all of the cheers, the self-congratulatory pomp and circumstance with which Americans greeted the supposed murder of Osama Bin Laden (seen instead with horror by much of the world), there was nary a glimmer of the careful introspection one might expect from mature adults. Instead, there seems to be this constant recapitulation of the above scene from Family Guy. No questions asked, no effective movement against the wars, no real interest at all in grasping the long range consequences of the actions of our government. Nothing, really, beyond the throwaway line, "How much will it cost so we can feel safe again..?"

It is a truly frightening and depressing time to be alive. The political system is so warped that the two monopoly political "parties" in the US, who pretend to represent different interests, are in collusion on all the most basic questions of the day in service to the corporate interests who pay for their elections. Worse, the electorate has still not caught on, rendering ever more prescient Jay Gould's famous boast that he "could hire one half of the working class to kill the other half." Indeed, people are so bamboozled that our political circus continues unmolested, focusing on non-issue distractions like the debt ceiling and cutting the deficit (while still spending more on war than all the other countries in the world combined....!). Even worse, the so-called "left" allows itself to be lulled to sleep by the charm of a Democrat president, a black man no less, whose actions would have been vigorously and rightly opposed were there an R after his name instead of a D. What a farce.

Article continues here

No comments: