On this day eight years ago, four commercial airplanes were hijacked and crashed into buildings and a field. Thousands died. This is the first anniversary of that terrible day, though, that the Terrorists will not still be winning.
Have you finished composing your "where I was" blog post or, god save us, your #whereiwas Tweet? Have you muted MSNBC's deplorable annual encore performance of the televised deaths of thousands? Have you remembered to never forget? Good. Fine.
Shortly after (or maybe during) that day, our president at the time, a little fuckhead no one liked, handed over the reins to the most psychotic elements of his administration. In the vast national wave of jingoism, paranoia, dread, and fear that followed, he and his friends led us into an unrelated war they'd been planning beforehand, allowed the CIA to wiretap and torture anyone they liked (and encouraged the CIA to wiretap and torture even more than they were comfortable with!), and regularly insisted that our memory of that day should not be sullied with critical thinking or expressions of anything other than still-palpable fear. This played better in the sorts of places that had nothing to fear from international terrorism, but plenty of formerly reasonable-acting people in the major targets did play along, both out of personal conviction and partisan duty.
In fact an entire cottage industry of dudes who were Changed Forever On That Day thrived on the internet. Bloggers, all of whom were self-professed Former Liberal Democrats, were suddenly freed to be racist, bloodthirsty warmongers. They were rewarded with traffic and mainstream legitimacy (even as they ritually attacked the MSM as terrorist-loving fifth columnists). Most are still treated as Serious People, even though their defining characteristic was a hysterical response to a crisis.
But we don't even need to feel bad about the Joe Kleins, Chris Hitchens, Andrew Sullivans, Glenn Reynolds, Charles Johnsons, and Peter Beinarts of the media world. Because, whatever, they are as responsible in their own ways as Wolfowitz for the Iraq tragedy, but their magical ride on the patriotism express has ended.
Barack Obama is the president now. Regardless of what you think of him as a politician or a man, he admirably refuses to engage in 9/11 rhetoric. He does not operate from the cynical assumption that his audience believes that America Can Do No Wrong, that to criticize a war is to be a literal traitor, that to not worship the president is to spit on the graves of soldiers, that the correct response to a tragedy is to create a thousand more. He doesn't talk like that. And so, fucking finally, the anniversary belongs to the latte-sipping out-of-touch coastal elites who witnessed it.
On 9/12, people in New York (and DC) did not feel as "great" as Glenn Beck. They just felt like shit. They felt scared and confused and depressed. Many of them were drunk. And only an idiot or an actual terrorist would want to always feel like it was 9/12/01. And eight years later, normal people, with brains and souls, have decided that some emotional distance from that disaster is healthier and wiser than trying to recapture the dread.
So thank fucking christ that the Commander in Chief is no longer subjecting the nation to death porn.
No, this year it's limited to a nutty little cult leader on basic cable who is encouraging his radicalized band of fanatical followers to invade the cities where the tragedy actually happened in order to shock the populace back into fear.
Glenn Beck is an actual terrorist, and the people attending his rally in DC tomorrow are al-Qaeda in America.