Monday, September 11, 2006

SUPER MONDAY. The weather was pleasant in midtown Manhattan today: light breeze, mostly clear skies. It was obvious from the state of the streets and sidewalks that a fair number of people had taken the day off from work, though traffic was heavy at rush hour. Roving gangs did not fall to their knees in prayer, nor did they beat up Muslims.

As night fell the two beams shone up again from Ground Zero. A lovely tribute: ethereal and silent.

I took moments out of the day to scan blogs for 9/11 tributes. My initial findings showed a tendency to anger -- not toward our attackers, but toward Americans who disagreed with the Bush Administration. Futher investigations, alas, revealed more of the same.

Some few observed a momentary suspension in their otherwise continuous accusations of treason against unbelievers, to strike a suitably valedictorian tone on the sacred day before commencing the next round of abuse. But most could not wait so long. They beat their chests in self-tribute for being wiser than their college classmates. They called the millions who support the Democratic Party "repulsive clowns," and claimed the citizens of New York City have lost their patriotism. (Fuck you, Brookhiser.)

When belligerence wouldn't serve, they went for bathos. They told us we didn't understand the stress their Leader was under, and let's see you do better, you're so smart. When that didn't work, they urged us to watch people falling out of the World Trade Center -- wherein, for all I could tell, subliminal edits of Saddam Hussein rubbing his hands with glee had been interspersed to reenforce the message.

Somewhere in this favored land, real 9/11 victims and survivors mourned, hopefully without the interference of Ann Coulter or Dorothy Rabinowitz. Flags flew at half-mast, and maybe people talked about what had happened five years earlier. Five years is a long time, though; inside a shorter interval, at the end of the Second World War, British voters threw out Winston Churchill, deciding his usefulness was at an end. Western Civilization did not crumble: behold the wisdom of the people!

Maybe this is what worries the bloggers so much that they turn from blaming Bin Laden, whose depraved idea was 9/11, to blaming the Democrats on its late anniversary. These bloggers posit an endless war, requiring an endless reign of the leadership they endorse. But for all their talk about World Wars III and IV, real people persist in perceiving real problems, like where their next paycheck is coming from, and how they will cope with catastrophic illness in a land without healthcare -- and, in fact, whether the belligerence of their current leadership is making them safer than they might be.

Not the honored dead, but the prospect of electoral defeat, animates these blog "remembrances." For them, 9/11 has the same importance that Super Bowl Sunday has for McDonalds and FedEx. We will soon see what kind of return on investment they achieved.

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