I'd like to forget.
|We didn't realize that as went the towers, so would go the country|
9/11 was what Imperial Japan had hoped Pearl Harbor would be, but wasn't. Within weeks we were beginning to turn on one another. I had OSU Football tickets for September 15 that year. Of course I did. The game was postponed and moved to October, OSU's bye week that year. My wife and I went to that game in October, warry of any airplanes that might be overhead. On the way, we heard on the radio news (I always listen to the game news when I go to a game) a story about some pushback against the late Rush Limbaugh. Apparently he said something about the Democrats going after Bush and it had everyone upset. That was in October. A little over a month after the attacks. The threads were already beginning to fray.
On the day of the attacks I recall the late Peter Jennings slamming George Bush for his absence and apparent inaction. A criticism that picked up speed in the weeks following. I also remember race peddler Al Sharpton being interviewed and accusing us of racism for assuming that the attackers were Muslim. Even though by then much of the information was being driven by what we knew. Clearly this was going to be what Japan wanted Pearl Harbor to be, not what Pearl Harbor became.
A big problem was that our president was an empty suite. A man over his head. When he arrived at Ground Zero and gave a rousing pep rally speech, that ended his positive contributions to the cause. His 'Our civilization is under attack, quick! Go shopping!' call muddled the response and confused a nation. He was clearly not prepared for an opposition party that was immediately more concerned about making sure he didn't benefit politically from the attacks than actually fighting the ones who attacked us. Recall that, until the attacks, our nation was still wracked with protests, charges of an illegal election, and calls to have his presidency scrubbed since he was not a valid president. It wouldn't take long for his opponents to recover that priority. Not to mention his 'It's the Religion of Peace!' moment, which played into the post-9/11 theme that the attacks were horrible, so what did we do to make them hate us? After all, we had met the enemy, and it was us.
Within months, it was easy to see things begin to fall apart. From the AP musing on whether it's appropriate to call the attackers terrorists (a problem we apparently resolved on January 6th, 2021), to reports that the Flight 93 passengers maybe weren't so heroic, or nobody said 'Let's Roll!', it was easy to see the writing on the wall. American liberalism was clearly more concerned with continuing the post-Cold War deconstruction of our nation than fighting to preserve it.
Of course the fabled 'New Atheists' made bank on the attacks, being able to be interviewed by journalists with a straight face as they insisted the problems of the world were always because of religion. Seeing our general appraisal of religion, especially among younger Americans, after the attacks compared to before was like night and day.
When professor and scholar Ward Churchill made his hateful '3000 Eichmanns' statement about the 9/11 victims, he eventually lost his job. Which was fine by me. But I was stunned by the debate in the media. It was reported as '9/11 victims as Eichmanns who got what they had coming - a polite discussion tonight on the evening news.' Again, no 'we vow to remember the 7th of December' there.
Now I don't pretend that this all began with 9/11. I recall Max Lucado, that smooth Christian writer who rose to prominence with books that presented the Gospel message in very vanilla terms. When everyone was rushing about saying 'Don't let this change us! That will let the attackers win!', he had a different take. He wrote an editorial that said he hopes it does change us. Our nation's only hope is if it does. He pointed out that , if we were honest, we shouldn't want things going in the direction they were going on September 10th, 2001. In hindsight, and with an honest appraisal of all those years ago, he was clearly correct. By 2023, a growing number of Americans are committed to nothing other than continuing the vision and the goal of those hijackers on that bright Tuesday morning.
Sorry to be a David downer. I know this is a time when everyone remembers, and rightly pays tribute to those who lost their lives and those who gave the last full measure of devotion. Nonetheless, this seldom comes up anymore. It's as good a time as any to state the obvious. Unless things turn radically and quickly, the epitaph for that day will not be 'a day of infamy'. It will be 'and that's all she wrote'.