In the midst of the 9/11 media coverage, this opinion piece by Kathleen Parker really stood out for me. Insanity. Partisanship as extreme sport.
What do you think? Has our entire nation gone mad?
I've excerpted. Here's also the link.
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/opi … 455.column
Kathleen Parker Washington Post Writer's Group
2:13 p.m. EDT, September 12, 2011
WASHINGTON -- The legacy of 9/11 can't be fully measured even now, but perhaps the most damaging aspect can be found in our national discourse.
Taking the long view, it is possible to see the roots of today's political dysfunction -- the hate, fear, anger and resentment -- firmly planted in the soil at Ground Zero.
Did Osama bin Laden envision such a thing when he plotted the attacks? Probably not. He might have imagined that we would retaliate, and this would cost us lives and treasure. But he couldn't have known that we eventually would lose our common sense of who we are. This has been the big surprise of 9/11 -- an ongoing, self-perpetuating act of American self-destruction.
Something was unleashed 10 years ago that bears our scrutiny. It wasn't only evil, though the attacks were certainly that. The event was so cataclysmic and horrifying that it caused a sort of emotional breakdown in the American constitution. Simply put, it damaged our collective soul and seems to have released a free-ranging hysteria that has contaminated our interactions ever since.
A nation cannot heal itself without self-awareness. On this score we have fallen short. We seem not to want to recognize that we don't have a problem; we are the problem.
Putting it bluntly, 9/11 caused us to go temporarily insane. Being for or against the war, first in Afghanistan and later in Iraq, divided us as wars do, but this time was different. Friendships ended, marriages suffered, people crossed the street to avoid those with whom they disagreed. Ten years later, we are still at war. Tack on the global financial crisis, stagnant unemployment, the further dissolution of trust in our institutions and we have all the ingredients for moral panic.
... Emotional excess and a lack of self-control in the public sphere are but two of the manifestations of our unraveling.
... we are one people with a common enemy and ... the cure for hysteria is purpose.
As we reflect on the events 10 years ago, it would be nice if all sides could resolve to invite America's better angels back to the huddle. Another terrorist attack would put things in perspective, all right, but our survival ultimately depends on our willingness to marshal reason and restraint against the emotional terrorism that surely will bring us down.
At the risk of sounding bossy: America, heal thyself. Please.
I agree that we need to stop treating people as "the enemy" just because they're not of the same political party, they aren't from the same part of the country, they subscribe to a different religion or philosophy, or they otherwise bring a different perspective to the table. However, the state of political discourse in this country is far from the worst it's ever been if you take a look at US history, which has had Congress literally brawling, a vice president in a duel to the death, and even the Civil War all over political disagreements.
"Did Osama bin Laden envision such a thing when he plotted the attacks? Probably not. He might have imagined that we would retaliate, and this would cost us lives and treasure. But he couldn't have known that we eventually would lose our common sense of who we are."
Um, I think that's exactly what he envisioned and intended. That's why it's called terrorism. It's purpose is to spread fear and terror, which makes people (including presidents) do stupid and counter-productive things.
Osama was plenty smart enough to play on the same paranoid and hysterical elements of American society that kept the Cold War going for decades at enormous financial and social costs to the US, not to mention a nearly endless stream of criminally stupid foreign policy decisions that drove people around the world to hate and resent the US. It's free recruiting for al-Qaeda.
I think he understood exactly what he was doing in his choice of target and the impact of an attack on American soil. The event has brought home the reality of a 'war' on terror and it is no longer something that happens out there somewhere, it inflamed the political situation and allowed the hawks to treble their attacks on the middle east creating a definate divide that unifies the Muslim countries in opposition, whether willingly or unwillingly. It also deliberately fulfils a key element of the biblical forecast of armageddon hence the coming end of times depression that is a desolate black hole in the bible belt affecting the whole mood. I believe his intentions were to put the US into a specific position by relying on the stupidity and the greed for arms profits of key members of the Bush administration.
I think that at this point he has out-thought and out-played the US making it impossible for you to elect some intelligent leaders who can back away from the middle east. He has significantly increased the chances of Israel ending up as a radioactive hole in the ground. He has also helped to knock the US economy sideways just as it faces the imminent threat of collapse under its own mis-management.
Wow...well said. I actually agree with recommend1 for once...with the exception that I don't think Osama was smart enough to figure out each particular strategy and detail. He had help from a team somewhere. He may have just been the one who could get it done. And naturally, in my opinion, some of the problems developed after 9-11 could not have been perfectly predicted symptoms. However, 9-11...and the period we fall into currently as a Nation...where we seem to gravitate towards a black hole as part of the cycle of all nations over history...are contributing factors to the root cause of the "insanity" we are now a part of.
The modern idea that your enemy is stupid is a child of modern media - just because Bin Laden became the 'most hated' does not mean he was stupid and would need a 'team' to be able to think. All the evidence points to him being seriously smart, and anyway the whole scenario and its potential after effects are not that hard to figure out from outside.
I think a lot more people's views of specific things have been skewed even further than they were before the attacks. The change that happened after 9/11 was deep and still hasn't changed.
Too much dysfunction, distortion and misinformation, so much so, that almost basic interaction among citizens can be categorized as scary.
It stems from our leaders and media. Too many morons trying to tell other people what is best for them, based on a willful ignorance.
In times like these I'm sure glad I have my guns and religion to cling to!
How 'bout you, Cags?
Good to see you.
Gotta go for the night.
Ciao for now.
As an aside, after 9/11 I had several Americans tell me that I had no idea what it was like to live under the threat of terrorism!
I can't help thinking that this lack of perception, of goings on in the rest of the world, if typical, says rather a lot about the causes of 9/11.
Yes, I believe a healthy proportion of Americans lost their marbles after 9/11, choosing fear and paranoia over intelligence and reason.
Just a bunch of nonsense if you ask me. She wants to pin political dysfunction on 9/11, how so? 9/11 caused us to look at terrorism differently. Before muslim extremists knocked down the towers there had been numerous other attacks by muslim extremists against us including a previous attack on the trade center. These were considered criminal acts, the belief that a small group of extremists could be arrested and tried, problem solved! But no, unfortunately, for many reasons America is hated by a large percentage of muslims, at least 10% of the muslim population support jihad against the west and many more passively support those efforts. Blame Israel, or oppression, or lack of education, something like 95% of Afghans are unaware of the 9/11 attacks, but for whatever reason we are hated and now we're forced to have to protect our citizens and our borders from jihad both passive and extreme.
That's not insanity, or over reaction, it's logical, measured, and prudent response to a threat. None of this though has to do with the current fiscal crisis or dysfunction in government. If anything there has been consensus from both parties in battling terrorism. The dysfunction has arisen as a result of the hard left turn in the democrat party. The dems have been taken over by extreme progressives pushing a socialist agenda so naturally there's going to be push back. Again, this isn't hysteria, though the yseful idiots would like to portray it as such, it's a rational response by a center right nation that wishes yo remain a beacon of freedom on this globe, and believe me, we will!
Rome thought it could never fall either.
Do you believe that the Empire at its height ever thought it would be a have not country in Europe? Dig anywhere in Europe and you will see the remains of that 'eternal' empire.
How does America remain a beacon of freedom on this globe if it spends itself into the dark ages?
I saw bits and pieces of that insanity on display in Tampa last night.
Both. Most galling was the audience clapping when they said the 30 year old without health insurance should be allowed to die. Just a week prior, they clapped when it was said that over 200 people had been killed on death row in Texas under Perry.
Can we rename the GOP (and its wholly-owned subsidiary, the Tea Party) the Party of Death?
In San Francisco they have once a year something called 'Saint Stupid's Day Parade'.
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