As some of you may have noticed, I’m not one for droning on about 9/11 and the subsequent ideas of remembrance that a lot of people in this country have about it.
Everyone remembers where they were, sure. I was asleep. I had a night job, and slept right through it all. I didn’t have a cell phone at the time, nor did I care that I didn’t have a cell phone. I learned the news after logging into AOL Instant Messenger when a friend said “this is so f—ed up”, and I had to ask “what is?”.
No, I don’t care to indulge in an excessive amount of 9/11 remembrance because I feel far too insignificant to truly understand what it is that I’m exuding emotions over. It has been a scant 17 years since that day, and we are still living in the direct aftershocks of the event. We’re not done with 9/11 yet. We’re still riding in its wake. And that wake is turbulent and nervy.
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Think of America as a serene pond. September 11th was an enormous boulder dropped in the center. The ripples moving away from that impact represent 9/11’s fading memory. Now, all of the splashes made by the water originally sent skyward by our terror boulder are also interacting with those ripples in localized, swift events. This complicates the fabric of our nation’s reaction and grief. Then, other bad actors out there in the world see what a splash was made and begin hurling their own stones.
Eventually, the turbulence no longer appears as concentric circles that a person could trace back to their original impact. Instead, the once-serene pond is now practically frothing, making every impact appear as powerful as the next.
So when television talking heads make ridiculous comparisons between 9/11 and anything, I shake my head. It confirms that this word-factory on the screen has less understanding of the subject than I do.
Then…why should I be listening?
Joe Scarborough confirmed this for us once again this week, directly comparing the election of President Trump to the events of September 11th, 2001.
Scarborough’s piece, titled “Trump is harming the dream of America more than any foreign adversary ever could,” begins with the virulent Trump critic chronicling various foreign policy blunders committed by previous White Houses following the fateful terror attacks on September 11, 2001. The culmination of such “tragic lessons” — including then-President George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq without sufficient evidence tying Saddam Hussein to the attacks and subsequent death of 5,000 U.S. troops at a cost of $2 trillion — Scarborough writes that America’s diminishing position on the global stage under President Trump, makes the current administration more dangerous than the 9/11 attacks themselves.
The former Republican Congress also argues “[s]ixteen years of strategic missteps” not only set the stage for then-candidate Donald Trump’s brand of populism to propel him to the highest office in the land but has also “lent a sympathetic ear to neo-Nazis and white supremacists across the globe.”
“For those of us still believing that Islamic extremists hate America because of the freedoms we guarantee to all people, the gravest threat Trump poses to our national security is the damage done daily to America’s image,” he continues. “As the New York Times’s Roger Cohen wrote the month after Trump’s election, “America is an idea. Strip freedom, human rights, democracy, and the rule of law from what the United States represents to the world, and America itself is gutted.”
Scarborough commemorated the attacks during Tuesday morning’s broadcast by reading excerpts of the controversial op-ed and extended his criticism of the president. “America is an idea,” he warned. “You gut America of an idea, that is when you do the most harm.”
The utter imbecility, (and cojones), to believe that you, as a human being still standing after those towers fell, has the right to make this sort of comparison is beyond me. I don’t possess whatever characteristic it is that allows Joe Scarborough to maintain his illusion of authority.
And that’s okay.