I’m intentionally posting this the day after 9/11 out of respect and consideration for the day and those impacted most by it.
I remember rolling my eyes every time I heard someone insinuate that 9/11 was something other than what we’d been told it was. Even when I was a raging liberal, I don’t think I wanted to believe that we were ruled by people so evil and deranged they’d be willing to orchestrate a terrorist attack against their own citizens to advance their interests.
But the past 3 and a half years shattered a lot of my illusions about the world that I live in and the way it works.
And if I’m being honest, I don’t think 9/11 was what the government told us it was.
I don’t blame people for wanting to believe it was just a group of angry Islamic terrorists that hated us and wanted to hurt us. I want to believe that too.
But I don’t. Or more accurately, I can’t.
There’s an inevitable feeling of helplessness and hopelessness when you realize the people and institutions that are supposed to lead us have actually put us in danger and decline – and they did it on purpose.
But that’s not the point.
The point is that America is not its government, and it never has been. Not at our worst and not at our best.
America is a country forged by an indomitable will, a reckless audacity, and a commitment to an ideal – even when execution leaves something to be desired.
And no matter what you think happened on 9/11, we all know what happened after.
The people behind 9/11 – the ones in suits, not turbans – they knew what would happen. They knew Americans wouldn’t take something like that lying down. They knew that even in the face of horrific tragedy, they could count on the American people to come together, incensed and insolent, to let out a battle cry instead of a whimper.
They knew that Americans and especially New Yorkers wouldn’t cower.
Maybe they just think of us as gullible and easily manipulated, but I think it’s deeper than that.
I think that on some level, the people that run our country know we’re special.
Even if they have no regard for what sets this country and her citizens apart from the rest of the world, and they do everything in their power to destroy it, they know there’s a distinctly American spirit of defiance, determination and the self assured delusion required by greatness.
And even if it was used against us, I think it’s still a positive thing.
Yesterday, you probably saw a lot of people post some variation of “the country you grew up in no longer exists” juxtaposed with imagery of the Twin Towers before the attack. And I get it. But I don’t know if I think it’s true.
Every apparatus of power in this country is rotten to its core, standing in direct opposition of the will of the majority.
They think we’re subjects instead of citizens, and are desperately trying to pummel us into submission.
But with the White House, the Senate, big business, big tech and every 3 letter agency positioned against us, we’re still fighting.
We’re still boycotting, we’re still protesting, we’re still suing. And believe it or not, in a lot of cases, we’re winning.
Of course, when you successfully torpedo what was the most popular beer brand in the nation and Bill Gates steps in to purchase it, it’s easy to get discouraged and feel like nothing matters and nothing you do will make a difference.
And if I’m being honest, I’m not sure I have an answer to that.
But if your fellow citizens weren’t on your side, they wouldn’t need a billionaire to step in and save gay beer. They wouldn’t have invested so much time and resources into silencing right leaning voices on social media. And they wouldn’t need to bring back COVID so they could rig a second election.
(Also, I hope it’s obvious I’m not trying to draw equivalencies between a dude in a dress and 9/11 but trying to make a point about American resilience but feel the need to make a disclaimer because of how willfully dense some people can be)
9/11 is a horrific stain on our nation’s history that took thousands of American lives (both on the actual day, the aftermath and the wars we never should have been a part of), and there’s no circumventing its solemn nature. But it also brought out the very best of us. It’s a reminder of what the American people are capable of in the face of extreme adversity, no matter who stands against us, and I think it’s just as important to remember that as it is to remember what we lost.
I don’t think we’re the exact same country that we were before 9/11. But I think the American spirit is alive and well, I think our country is defined not by our politicians or influential lobbyists but our citizens, and I think America – as in the people I share this country with, and the values that made us what we are – will always be worth fighting for.