The Real Enemy
Looking at the Destruction of the Trade Towers
For years I have watched my friends argue about how the Trade Center Towers were destroyed on 9/11, whether by our enemies or by insiders. The disputers seem to think they disagree about the facts, but the facts are clear enough. It had to be an inside job.
I have seen videos of the twin towers as they fell. There were explosions coming out the sides of the buildings well below the area that was collapsing from being hit by planes. People who are into an analysis of such engineering matters as structure and demolition can’t reconcile those videos with a belief that the commandeered planes alone made the towers fall. I trust those who keep bringing up the question of who did that job. I trust them because they are willing to look squarely at a possibility most of us prefer to ignore: that our enemy is not outside our borders.
So, what is the real controversy? Is it whether someone on "our side" done wrong and covered it up? Or is it more whether all people are basically good, too good to put such a big bad over on us? And how do you reconcile the two if you believe, as I do, that someone done wrong and all of us are basically good?
I know many who cling to the idea that we are good. Maybe we elbow one another trying to survive, but no one would purposefully be that destructive unless they were our sworn enemies. I know a few who want us to confront what the evidence shows, the betrayal of the people by our own. These are not opposing ideas. From my experience, both sides speak truth.
When I was growing up in the 1950s, I believed (as children do) that life was very promising, that things were improving, and that there was a plan, a safety net, you know, with the grownups managing well enough. I was eager to get on with a successful life. Then, I learned two things. One, in 1945 someone made atom bombs and dropped them on a lot of people. Ouch! And, two, I myself was capable of doing harm. That capacity to be destructive, multiplied by all of us, was taking its toll. By the time I was 18, people were talking about the demise of the planet.
Reminds me of a poem by Ogden Nash. He calls it "Terra Firma" and mentions alarming situations. He ends the poem, "I daily feel more terror/and less firma." Me, too!
But I am not a pessimist. This is a wonderfully significant time to be alive and to witness the very evident struggle between our basic goodness and our capacity to do harm, each of us ranging somewhere on that scale, with a small minority every bit as willing to kill people as, say, oats. Think Henry Kissinger, Dick Cheney. And whoever is unseen, rewarding their perfidy. Those few are willing to ruin the planet they stand on. Nuts? Yes. And they walk around in business suits and have influence. This means the rest of us have big work to do. We want to keep the planet for our grandchildren, right? Then, as the hippies used to say, we have to heavy up! Or, as the Virginian in Owen Wister's novel put it, play winning poker with the hand we're holding when the trouble starts.
What sort of heavy can we be? What winning poker is required? The hardest thing I have ever done has been to confront the magnitude of harm some few do--and still keep my faith in the goodness of human beings. I know people who think that if you even look at negative facts you'll get more negativity. There is truth to that, but it does not extend to ignoring real and present danger. Aren't "they" counting on our naivety? They are waging war directly on the American people, a situation so preposterous we won't, they hope, even see it until it's too late? How can we stop the damage if we don't look squarely at it, identify those few and nullify their power? We must see the betrayals and stop those guys. After all, they have no power but what we give them with our heads in the sand.
I want a pleasant world where honest people can feel safe and get ahead. But it's already not like that. And I'm skeptical about our ability to manifest that pleasant world by ignoring the violent, who are basically good but dangerous, and the puppeteers who manipulate the economy and stand quite ready to write the planet off so they can win a game they alone are playing. Don't try to understand them. What they do doesn't make sense. They are crazy. And I don't know about you, but nothing in my childhood prepared me to confront such danger among our own leaders. I've had to put it together lately.
The confusion comes from having false ideas of who opposes us. Just as there is no real difference between Democrats and Republicans, since both parties are run by the same hidden powers, there is also no guarantee that our entire government is not bought out by big money, by an invisible clique who care nothing for us, the people. It was not Bin Laden who was the enemy. He was just a decoy.
I'm not suggesting we lose our compassion. Surely we can find within ourselves an impulse toward destruction, and perhaps we're just lucky to be sane enough to restrain ourselves. But compassion doesn't mean letting them make off with the planet. Some of us are still using it.
Who was it who said one should have “eyes cold as ice and heart on fire”? Find out who is doing what. That's the "eyes cold as ice" part. Turn the situation around so our grandkids can have a planet. That's the "heart on fire" part.