Badtux the Snarky Penguin

In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin.

Religious fundamentalists are motivated by the sneaking suspicion that someone, somewhere, is having fun -- and that this must be stopped.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The day nothing changed

On September 11, 2001, I got out of bed as usual. I drank my morning coffee, showered, got dressed, and headed to work, thinking about the product we were wrapping up, a NAS front end to a DVD-RAM storage silo, and what work remained to be done before it was ready to be released. I'd been working for the company for five months by that time, after the best job of my life had gotten acquired and the staff laid off, and was focused only on making sure I stayed employed at my new job. As I passed by the exits to the airport, the electronic signs said "Airport Closed". Odd, I thought. I wonder what that's all about?

I got to work around 8:30am, and my boss asked me, "Did you see the towers go down?" I said "What?" "The World Trade Center towers." "No! What happened?" "Airplanes crashed into them."

I went to the Internet and checked a couple of news sites. They were all crashed. I went to Slashdot (this was back when Slashdot actually mattered, rather than just being a place for trolls to hang out), and they already had a couple of articles online and had links to mirrors of wire articles and such already. Then I sat back to consider. A couple hours later, I went back to work.

In the days that followed, one phrase was repeated, over and over again, a phrase which confused the dickens out of me: "Everything has changed." But what changed? This wasn't the first act of terrorism against American citizens. Oklahoma City, remember? WTC 1993, remember? Reluctantly I had to conclude that the only thing had changed was that my fellow Americans had become bat-shit insane, willingly accepting huge expansions of government power (the "Patriot Act", the Transportation Safety Administration, etc.) in order to "keep them safe". As a nerdy white guy who'd taught in inner city schools and more than once walked to the door of a crack house to talk to parents, I had to conclude that the majority of my fellow Americans were not only bat-shit insane, but they were also craven cowards.

Which, unfortunately, is God's own truth. What 9/11 brought forth was the reality that the majority of Americans are craven cowards, shuddering in fear behind the gates of their gated communities and behind the heavy doors of their armored SUV's, shuddering in fear of dusky brown people, of their fellow Americans, of anything and everything. And the biggest culprit is the Baby Boom generation -- the most coddled, least-connected to reality, most craven generation in American history, a generation with an inherit ignorance (due to overcrowded schools during their upbringing) and sense of entitlement that is only surpassed by their craven cowardly nature. It only took one volley of bullets at Kent State to make them abandon their principles and become craven corporate cogs. It only took two jet airliners crashing into two buildings to make them abandon every principle of American freedom in exchange for a fictitious "safety" provided by a Big Brother government.

So what did 9/11 change? Utterly nothing. If 9/11 had never happened, something else would have triggered the reflexive asshole-pucker of the craven baby boom generation, a generation which every day shudders in fear of anybody and everybody. Or someone would have engineered something. The only good thing about 9/11 happening when it did was that it happened during the regime of the most corrupt, most incompetent, least-connected to reality administration in American history. A competent administration with the same totalitarian instincts as the Bush administration could have crowned their President as Emperor for the duration of the "war on terror", which, like the "war on drugs", is a perpetual war that cannot be won because it presumes, like Communism, that human nature can be changed with sufficient application of force. While the Bush Administration has come close thanks to the fact that the majority of Congress is as craven and cowardless and principle-free as the majority of the American people, they have come nowhere near assuming full imperial powers, otherwise I would not be posting this right now -- I would be in some gulag or "re-education" camp somewhere learning how to be a good little Republican and cower in fear and terror like the rest of the American poulation. However, we cannot rely on imperial incompetence to preserve the American republic forever, which is why the fact that, to put it bluntly, the majority of the American public is a bunch of bat-shit insane craven cowards is disturbing, to say the least.

So what changed on 9/11? Nothing. Utterly nothing. The risks facing this nation were no different on 9/10/2001 than they were on 9/12/2001. The craven nature of the Baby Boom generation was no different on 9/10/2001 than it was on 9/12/2001. Nothing changed, other than that the most incompetent, most corrupt administration in American history managed to put together a successful propaganda campaign to convince similarly craven members of their generation that they were the saviors of America against some sort of imaginary existential threat. But frankly, given the instincts of Karl Rove and his ilk, that was a given anyhow. 9/11 merely gave him another tool to use as part of his propaganda campaign of terror against the American public -- it did not change anything fundamental.

So why do I stick around if the majority of my fellow citizens are craven cowards who will willingly give up their freedoms in exchange for feeling protected by a Big Brother father figure? Well, I'm not quite sure. One possibility may be that I hold more hope for the younger generation, which is far more cynical and less risk-averse than their craven baby-boomer elders. Or maybe it's that I'm too scared to take that leap, leave everything I know behind in order to splash down someplace in some culture foreign to me. I'm not sure. The only thing I am sure of is that 9/11 changed nothing -- except the rhetoric of some men of power who use it to do evil against the Republic and the Constitution that they swore to uphold and defend.

-- Badtux the Remembering Penguin

Posted by: BadTux / 9/11/2006 12:01:00 AM  


Nothing changed is right. I am so ashamed to be a part of the baby boomer generation and their incessant whining. They want freedom but don't want to lift a finger to make sure they have it.

Somebody else might do it for them if they wait long enough. Gaagh!
# posted by Debra : 11/9/06 4:01 PM  

You stick around for the simple reason that you hope to in some small way help fix this country and world.
# posted by BBC : 11/9/06 4:05 PM  

Condo Rice says "We're safer, but not yet safe". Another attack is immiment.

The only thing this government has proved is how phony and corrupt they are. They need to be fired, they work for us and they have been failing, and destroying that which we have entrusted to them. They need to be fired now.
# posted by niCk(Mem Beth) : 12/9/06 6:33 AM  

And the biggest culprit is the Baby Boom generation -- the most coddled, least-connected to reality, most craven generation in American history, a generation with an inherit ignorance (due to overcrowded schools during their upbringing) and sense of entitlement that is only surpassed by their craven cowardly nature. It only took one volley of bullets at Kent State to make them abandon their principles and become craven corporate cogs.

Utter BS, sorry.
# posted by SB Gypsy : 13/9/06 9:26 AM  

By your reckoning, if the boomers elected Raygun all by ourselves, then Clinton was elected by gen-x, and Bushco was elected by gen-y. Doesn't make much sense if you try to parse it. The boomers don't have that kind of power, if they did, pot would be legal, dammit! :)

You ignore the whole Heritage Foundation people - you know, the vast rightwing conspiracy - who have executed a 50 year campaign to take over the govt and make the US into a police state. Who have trained up a whole coterie of young republicans to slave away for the wingnut faction in Congress. Who took over via Newtie, and haven't let any reasonable legislation go forward since.

There's plenty of us boomers that are working our asses off, trying to defeat these thugs.

A week ago you called me to task for bigotry, because I lumped together all of Islam, blaming the Palestinians for something that's happening in Africa. You were right, I was not thinking rationally. Talking about "moderate muslims" to me is like waving a red flag in front of a bull. All I see are enslaved women.

I already issued a mea culpa. I'll be waiting for yours.
# posted by SB Gypsy : 13/9/06 2:01 PM  

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