Gray Flannel Dwarf

9/11/2006

Pleading the 5th.

I dunno what I can say about the fifth anniversary of 9/11 without sounding like I’m politicising about it. But really… no one, not the people, not the politicians, ever did what they said had to be done — stand up and avoid being fearful. If they’d done that, we wouldn’t be in the state of scrutiny we’re under now.

People always talked about “not being afraid to fly” as an example — “get back on the planes, travel, show that you’re not afraid”. But that’s as far as we’ve gone. Really, people are just as scared as ever, and they used that as an excuse to rationalise expanded surveillance and allow intrusion into personal lives.

The fact is — wiretaps, ability to hold US citizens w/o access to lawyers, even the “free speech zones” — the grounds for these things is fear. The fact that we, as a nation, allow them — or at least haven’t expressed a unified outrage, is evidence that this underlying fear has never dissipated.

“Get back on the plane, show them you’re not afraid.” check

“Get back out there, speak your mind, show them you’re not afraid.” Oops.

“Get back on those telephones, call your friends, show them you’re not afraid.” Oops.

And what I really can’t fathom is the people who say that it won’t be used against your good ole god-fearin’ Americans. Give the government the power to do it, they will. Give corporations the laws, they will use them for their own good. Give individuals the power to persecute others, they will! For chrissakes, we have journalists under DHS criminal complaint due to filmmaking? Prime example of giving someone — in this case, a Someone — an inch and them taking a mile.

There’s nothing wrong with vigilance in a post-9/11 world. But there is a lot wrong with going at it vigilante style, which, it seems, is how we’ve spent the vast majority of the time doing it, since then.

All I ever hear these days, in response to these sorts of thoughts, is something akin to “9/11 changed everything”. Yes, maybe that’s the case — and for all I know, maybe it is a war against a different, changing enemy. But that makes the 2,996 people who died front-line soldiers in this new war — and somehow, in the aftermath, we’re all less free than we were before. So if they didn’t “die for our freedoms”, a term bandied-about far too often, what, then, do they represent? Our way of life? Sorry, that answer fails too, because that way of life went the way of the dodo thanks to post 9/11 legislation. That I really can’t think of much we have gained due to the changes in the post 9/11 world, it only goes to illustrate how much we, as Americans, have lost.

Commemorating those lost on 9/11 makes me also think about the freedoms we’ve lost since then. Five years later, the fears of the American public must still remain — that’s the only way I can understand why we’d let our freedoms be trampled. People say America has come back, is stronger than ever, and isn’t afraid to fight a war against terror. But if this were truly the case, we wouldn’t allow our own freedoms to be so strongly curtailed in the process.

As far as I’m concerned, this is a non-partisan issue, other than the fact that too many people have fallen for the ruse that it is such, that somehow sitting on one side of the political fence or the other automatically makes one fall in the right or wrong camp. Take a step back at this notion, for a second? How ridiculous are we? Isn’t such a divide exactly something some scheming terrorist mastermind out there would look for? Aren’t such statements a freaking big neon sign with a blinking arrow reading, “I’m With Stupid”?


Tags: , , , — cswiii @ 12:26 pm