Thursday, September 11, 2008


Watching the real-time replay of the coverage of the events of the day on MSNBC, I was struck by the surreal experience of knowing what’s coming, that at 9 am another plane was about to strike and at 9:37 the Pentagon would be hit; That just before 10, the south tower would fall, and at 10:27, there was one minute left until the same fate would befall the north tower.

And I knew that I would again watch George Bush say that he would seek and bring to justice the “folks” who perpetrated the attack. Aside from the offensively benign colloquialism, we all know how well that worked out now, don’t we?

The other night, in the midst of an argument with some Republicans about the election, a woman pulled 9/11 out of her ass and asked me how Barack Obama would protect us. I responded first by asking how John McCain would protect us (given both the nature of terrorism and McSame’s stellar military record, which apparently we’re not allowed to assail since he’s a “hero”), then pointed out that it’s doubtful Obama would ignore a memorandum stating “Bin Laden Determined to Attack Within U.S.” That, as the ostensible CEO of the country, he would surround himself with smart people whose advice he would actually comprehend and, more importantly, heed. (He’d also probably stop reading “The Pet Goat” and get to work right away.)

I don’t live my life in fear of another terrorist attack. There's really very little we can do about it. But I do live in fear of what we’re doing to ourselves, to our infrastructure, our economy and our standing in the world. I mostly live in fear of our freedom being slowly chipped away in the name of “national security.” Yes, September 11, 2001 was horrible. Yes, we did reap a bit of what we sowed. And yes, it could happen again. This is the price we pay for living in the country that, at least on paper, prides itself on liberty. The Right is so fond of pointing out that “Freedom isn’t free,” but they choose to ignore the more difficult, but more important tenet that Freedom also isn’t safe.

Me, I’d rather be free.