9/11: Weird silence

September 11, 2008 by barbara

barbara writes

9/11. We all remember this day. The senseless, tragic end of lives. The end of innocence, some called it. Michael Bloomberg said this is the anniversary of the day our world was broken.

In addition to endings, today marks the anniversary of the beginning of something insidious and extraordinarily dangerous. It’s the date when the United States government was seized by George W. Bush’s dark and sinister, secretive and punitive, classist, racist, ageist, sexist, bigoted, faux religious cabal.

September 11, 2001 is when our collective moral compass and our Constitution were highjacked by the Bush Republicans and may, for all I know, be mouldering alongside Jimmy Hoffa. Read more.

Today – 9/11 – marks the date when the United States government began to resemble the Taliban, under the arguable “leadership” of George W. Bush, the man who fronts for Cheney, Rove et al and covers for their henchpersons. Yes, amazingly, there are women among them. The latest someday-pretender to George Bush’s presidential throne – Sarah Palin – is a perfect fit with pretender du jour John McCain, the man who would be Bush.

9/11 has been used as a cudgel on the American psyche. It has been used (and abused) as a distraction, a fear-mongering device, and a brazenly false front for pre-emptive war(s). Among other things.

Meanwhile, by and large, the Obama/Biden campaign remains silent while the Bush Republicans mock all of us. Even their own. The McCain/Palin people are playing out the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on the American people (well, one of them – in Bush World, there are so very many, it’s hard to keep track), laughing at all of us. At our behind-the-scenes nit-picking and public puffery. And in the midst of it all, the magnificent orator Barack Obama has been rendered mute.

Today – 9/11 – is visited with the ghosts of those who perished seven years ago. So much gut-wrenching grief. So much blind belief that BushCo would do all the right things, focusing on the deep needs of the anguished families, friends, nation left behind. When did we first realize BushCo had shamelessly glommed onto 9/11 as its rationale for every illegal and immoral thing it did thereafter?

Who believed on 9/11/01 that George Bush would totally flim-flam all of us, over and over again, about pretty much everything? That America would truly be broken over the subsequent years of Bush’s reign? That John McCain would follow in his shallow footsteps seven years later, lying his way toward the November elections?

Today – 9/11 – is also visited with the ghosts of the 2004 presidential election. The erudite blathering of the publicly wooden man, John Kerry, who pontificated and polited George W. Bush right back into the Oval Office. Election fraud notwithstanding, Bush's re-election was due to Kerry’s failure – absolute failure – to jump on the lies of the rat-infested, rageful right and stuff ‘em right back down their lying throats.

Remember how we waited and waited for something to happen? How the next thing we knew, we were trekking to the polls, about to get our butts kicked?

Did we not learn anything from that? Anything at all?

Today – 9/11 – used to make me sad. Now it makes me sad and very, very angry.

Who will break the silence for this country? Who?

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Comments

susan | September 11, 2008 - 2:06pm

One thing I'm not going to do anymore is blame Kerry and Gore. Yes, they appeared wooden, or "blathering", but as we're seeing, it's very hard, if not impossible, to respond to swiftboating.

Why? Because it's so simplistic and effective. Make an accusation, no matter how false, and it sticks. The candidate then spends the rest of the campaign trying to refute the lie. Which makes him or her look like more of a liar. When I said to people who were crowing about Sarah Palin "telling it like it is", that she was telling lies about how she wanted it to be, they responded, "Well, all politicians lie." But apparently not swiftboaters or other self-serving interest groups who pretend to be digging out the truth.

The Republicans have figured out how to play this brilliantly. All they need to do is cast doubt in enough voters' minds to make it close, then they can easily steal the final votes in the various ways we've seen, whether purging voter registration lists or providing too few voting machines, or monkeying with the machines themselves.

And the other thing they've figured out is how to reduce very complicated issues to very simplistic phrases. We suck at that. Bill Clinton was the master of doing it in a non-cynical way. I know, he liked to talk, but he could state the problem in three sentences, then walk us through the solution in five more. And it wasn't cynical because he believes that government can help ease people's burdens. The Republicans, the current breed, tell people that government is the burden. So they can give glib answers -- "get the government out of your way" -- and that's about all most Americans have attention for these days.
I hear you on the rage at all of this Barb, but I think we need to be more forgiving of Kerry and Gore. Look how even the brightest and most popular of our candidates falters when the Republicans start their jujitsu and flip our strengths into our weaknesses. Educated and articulate = elite and arrogant, ie. They play to those who see their lives going backwards, losing their jobs and houses, telling them that it's liberals and big government that's doing it to them. Well, Bob Herbert covered that in the NYTimes a few days ago.
We're all saying, "fight back", and I agree, but not sure just how you do that.
My one thought is that you have to lighten up when you respond. Keep a twinkle in your eye, a smile on your face. You have to seem bemused by their nonsense. Gore, Kerry and now Obama, seem to retreat to their intellect, and go wonky. And Americans don't like smart.
Obama should take a lesson from Sen. Amy Klobuchar, by the way. She does a great job of making the skirmish look fun. She keeps a sense of humor while delivering withering one-liners. She's very smart, but never comes across as too smart.
Well, as I've said many times, it takes one set of skills to win an election and another to govern. The Repubs have mastered the former and are clueless on the latter. The Democrats learning curve on the former remains to be seen.

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barbara says (not verified) | September 11, 2008 - 2:37pm

You are generous with your defense of Kerry (and my man, Al Gore). As you may have perceived, I am growing weary of candidates who allow themselves to be manipulated into talking statues in order to pander to . . . whom? Soccer moms don't like that. NASCAR dads don't like it. Erudite politicos, educators, commenters don't like it. Republicans don't like it. Democrats don't like it. Who likes it? To whom is the woodenness directed? If it's a defense, it stinks. If it's an offense, it is a miserable failure. Who is calling these shots? I agree that Clinton, W.J., had a gift for deflecting and then deepening the debate. But the genius of his genius is that he spoke TO the people, not over our freaking heads. hell, I'm part of the effete corps, and I find it beyond tedious. But if it's wink, wink, nudge, nudge that's called for here, bring on Eric Idle, the consummate twinkler.

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barbara says (not verified) | September 11, 2008 - 8:44pm

As you can see, barbara is rather torqued about this whole eight-year pattern of genteel electioneering. That said, I need to clarify something. I am not exhorting Obama and Biden to go ballistic. (Some folks are, however.) But I do expect them to speak with something more like their outdoor voices, calling the Bushites on the bullshit. And I expect other Democrats to go forth and do likewise. Democrats with bully pulpits. Lord knows, my wrath in this tiny corner of the planet is not particularly influential. I don't have powerful, influential connections, but I do have the common sense of a commoner. And what I'm saying is the "strategy" of the past two elections is a losing strategy, assuming there was one. Smart white men attempting to be boys their mommies could be proud of at all times while dazzling . . . well, attempting to dazzle . . . the peasants with their cerebral grasp of things? It's. Not. Working. Time to out the elephants. Time to tell the truth, e.g., "Lies make me angry. John McCain is lying." Connect the dots. There are only two of them! And about the Sarah Palin fiasco? As others have noted, blame McCain, all the time, loudly, clearly. The moose stops there. Period.

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Poet (not verified) | September 11, 2008 - 9:53pm

Here are three reasons why it would be good if Obama/Biden didn't win:

1. The economic s__t is getting closer to hitting the fan and whoever is the next president will inherit such a screwed up mess that they will assume Herbert Hooverian dimensions legacy-wise from "the American people" (as Nancy Pill-osi loves to say).

2. When this happens(hyper-inflation, food, fuel, and merchandise shortages, and brownouts as a regular feature of life) than the dumbed down ignorant public will look to whoever is in power at the moment to "fix" it or blame them for the situation..

3. The exteme economic austerity that will result will lead to either:

The dawning of the Age of Acquarias
(with a Democratic-Socialist government similar to those of Scandanavian countries finally getting its chance to develope here)

or

Civil unrest and armed conflict within the country and its government being siezed by our very own home-grown, all-American boy Hitler running the show. (My nominee for this position is Mitt Romney--thick as a brick and dumb as a stick).

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susan | September 11, 2008 - 10:41pm

Hi Poet. Nice to be back in touch. Your argument for the upside of a Palin/McCain win is the same one I used for the upside of a second Bush term. "He made a mess in Iraq, let him clean it up." "The economy will go to hell and once people feel the pinch we'll have a sweep in 2008."
Well, he's declaring "victory" in Iraq (can someone tell me who surrenders to whom in this victory?) and the economy is in Hades and heading south and a sweep doesn't seem likely. But it's good to get started with a consolation plan I guess. Only this time I'm not sure the country really will survive the old man with the hot head and the young Gov with the hot bod. Hope I'm wrong.
Also, as of this afternoon I detected a whiff of blowback starting against McCain. Maybe it's the pedophile sex ed ad, maybe it's Obama keeping his cool in the face of the lies and attacks, maybe it's wishful thinking.
But maybe we should lighten up.

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Peggy (not verified) | September 12, 2008 - 1:26pm

As a lowly commoner (and someone who is reminded every so often to "cool my jets") I don't feel like lightening up, that feels more like 'making nice.'.... I'm tired of all the bullsh*t! I want a spot light on that elephant in the room, I want it exposed to the light so we can ALL see it for what it is and stop fearing it. The light won't lie.... and hopefully those who don't shield themselves or hide..... will recogize the truth and act accordingly.

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susan | September 12, 2008 - 3:35pm

Hey lowly commoner, didn't mean we should lighten up on the horrors of a Palin/McCain presidency or the lies or the wreckage of our country or any of that. We all ought to be stomping that elephant, firing our jets, whatever we can.

I meant -- and not even sure I still do -- that it's the panicky DO SOMETHING!! that we need to stop. I think that there's a contagion when we all start piling on with the criticism of the campaign. Shouting fire in the theater and all that. We fuel our own downfall and give the Repubs no end of joy when they feel us flinching and twitching and bitching. We look like a campaign coming apart at the seams when we should just look -- angry and more committed to victory than ever. Obama has to remain above the fray and not get rattled, and I think he's doing that.
That said, how're we gonna win this? I think that the campaign should refute every lie, every day, with a simple email to all of us in their vast data-bank. They've been genius at raising money through the internet, now they should use it in reverse. Instead of using it to rake in the money they should use it like a, um, leaf blower, to blast us with clear info.
I see this as a very simple thing to do.
False claim of the day: Obama supports sex ed for kindergartners.
Fact: Obama supports protecting kindergartners from pedophiles.
Add links to the support materials.

Don't gum it up with a lot of words, but give folks the ammo to refute the lies. So when a colleague or co-worker brings something up --"He's gonna raise our taxes." you've got the facts at the ready. "Do you make over $250,000 a year? In fact, his tax plan will reduce taxes for 95% of the working Americans . . . "

Make us all part of his truth squad. Stay focused, stay rational, stay pissed as hell.

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MOha (not verified) | April 3, 2009 - 5:17pm

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