Federalize It Or Let It Go… Ten Years On
Well my dearly fellow Dirty Americans, looking ten years on… ten years upon the still-stagnant blank mark that remains Ground Zero. That we discovered a schooner in its midst might be the only bit of fluff in an otherwise murky cloud.
What have we accomplished since? Vengeance, certainly. Bin Laden with two caps and a burial at sea. His organization Al Qaeda disjointed (though not quite a shambles). Longtime nemesis Saddam with a rope around his neck… not sure where he’s been buried (or else scattered) particularly. And the world is again America’s oyster, presumably?
Possibly not. But there’s plenty of mulled whine about on that subject, today especially. One decade on, I think it best we pay our last respects to this tragedy that has so molded our current national identity. As the title reads, either make it a federal holiday (of mourning; eventually to be the foundation of future three-day weekends and time-and-a-halves) or let it go. It’s been a shitty enough decade for America. What with the recessive economy, the dual+ wars, the oil spills and Katrinas and Tea Party phenomenon. The ten-year embarrassment that has been our shared cultural dilemma. Namely, how many buckets of blood for every drop; how many eyes for an eye?
So far there have been nearly one million people killed[i] during our military tenures over Iraq and Afghanistan, over one-and-a-half million injured. Far more casualties in the former than the latter, though it had little if anything to do with the September 11 attacks. And I don’t care to go into the thousands of billions of dollars we’ve spent; what’s money, when billions are let slip by in unpaid corporate loopholes? What’s money indeed, given the lives squandered and likewise taken in the process? May every smart bomb cost a trillion dollars, every drone strike a billion! Perhaps then they would be used more sparingly in future, and throw a bit more cash into the incestuous MIC economy to boot.
That’s what it comes down to, right? Money? Tea Partiers and their erstwhile chums, I do indeed address you! For all the ranting and raving about government expenditure, how much of that hostility is directed towards the ridiculously bloated military budget, which is as much our national pride as its shame? Seeking instead to cut out hallmark programs like Social Security and Medicaid, regulatory bodies such as the EPA and FDA, funding (albeit incredibly scant at that) for NPR and the arts, for Planned Parenthood? Mere spectres in the broader financial scheme of things. But necessary to many, detrimental really to none save those who perhaps don’t benefit from them; either for lack of necessity or no lack of malice.
What has society crumbled to, that we seek to wall off our borders and cut down our own citizens? Was this perhaps the result of foreign machination, of some radical Islamist peril? Or have we (and by that I mean you, who know full well your identities) been duped into fearful submission, blinded by hatemongering and rhetoric and political libel (you don’t support our troops?) into patsying ourselves (you, but by now I mean the rest of us by extension) into bending subservient to the aims of an indifferent, selfish, and short-sighted oligarchy of the well-to-do?
Short answer: Yes. Yes, we have. And by that I mean you, you mindless ring-a-dings who voted those Tea Party certified freshmen into the House of Representatives last year. I’m so pissed I could spit, seeing the bizarre rubble that still is the Ground Zero of our fallen twin towers. A monument to self-pity, a goddamn blemish upon our national pride, moreso than any default might have been. (Because what’s money?) Where is the wherewithal, the keep-calm-and-carry type attitude that supposedly pulsates within the red-blooded heart of every American? Are we so vain? Are we so weak? So feeble?!
I daren’t attempt a goddamned answer, so depressing the expectation. Thin-skinned, ten years still on. Either make it a fucking federal holiday[ii] or drop it already.
Dan Rudy is a writer and lackaday currently based out of Portland. Short stories and other articles are generally updated on his blog, Rudian Days.
[i] This figure bothered me; digging deeper it seems the Unknown News figures are startlingly high. A much more conservative figure is given by the Iraqi Body Count site, at around 111,000 dead.
[ii] And name it something better than ‘Patriot Day’, whilst we’re at it. How about the novel approach of simply calling it ‘Nine Eleven’? We already know it’s a day. Need that be said?