The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Honestly, on this, the 14th anniversary of the day that has been used to justify… so much… I’m not really sure I have anything to add (other than, of course, happy 9-11 to all, even the haters and losers; what did we all do before The Donald?)
One of the things that 9-11 did spawn, of course, was blogs. This one will celebrate its own 14th birthday in a week or so. Fourteen years… represents over a quarter of my life, but something like 90% or so of my daughter’s… and she (and countless millions of her contemporaries) have not known a world before September 11th and the official national state of paranoia and Global War Against Everyone and Everything Terror.
Indeed, fourteen years is so long (representing, I think, much of, if not the majority of time since Al Gore invented the internet) that “blogging” as I once knew it has largely been replaced by social media, which, since its a game I refuse to play by and large, has left this blog in the dust (not that it was ever not within proximity to the dust).
But, as some of you know, I’ve also spent most of my working life in Downtown Manhattan, just a hundred or so yards from the World Trade Center complex (and the day itself resulted in the loss of the job I then had, as the firm I was with lost the use of its office space from a building one block North of the WTC, offices with a clear view of the events at the WTC. So, working in proximity to the target (and near such other targets as the New York Stock Exchange and the New York Federal Reserve Bank), one
tries to function without the endless maudlin hysteria that, alas, seems to have gripped the nation, a grip not loosened apparently in fourteen years.
Don’t know. A cold, realistic assessment will acknowledge that this nation has been an empire since approximately 1940, when FDR extorted Churchill for access to numerous military bases owned and operated then by the British Empire in exchange for the lend/lease of military equipment (which, let’s face it, Churchill kind of needed), and what had been an impressively expansive military presence anyway became the most widespread global empire in the history of the world (an empire, of course, that is fraying because it no longer pays for itself, though we insist on maintaining it and the hundreds of garrisons and hundreds of thousands of troops we must “forward deploy” abroad to keep it together)… and of course, it was blowback from maintaining this empire that led to 9-11, the formation of ISIS, the current “refugee crisis”, etc., etc. Meaning, we were already largely a permanently mobilized praetorian state, with many of the unfortunate post-9-11 attributes (the surveillance, the permanent never ending wars on everything, the scapegoating of “the other”, etc.) largely already in place… But still, 9-11 seemed like an inflection point, if nothing else, to take a lot of this out into the open. Which seems really disconcerting to me… especially as I consider countless young people who never grew up in the “pre-9-11 world.” Which was more than just the ability to talk to other human beings through some means other than via a computerized intermediary.
Seems… like something has been lost. Something really important. Hey, what can I tell you?