The Guns Of September
What greater proof of virtue can there be than voluntary suicide?


You’re probably wondering if I got as weepy as you all did on Sunday, on the tenth anniversary of September 11. So let me hasten to assure you that of course I did. The memory of that day will live with me for years to come. Hardly a moment goes by that I don’t mourn what we lost, and celebrate our resilience and triumph in the face of overwhelming odds. Looking back, it’s amazing that it all turned out so well for us. But I guess that’s what makes this a great country.

Which is why I, and the rest of us on what you wingnuts call the hard Left, have been weeping tears of true patriotic joy these past few days. We progressives were so far down in the dumps after the Rethuglican Supreme Court stole the 2000 election from the rightful president — Albert Arnold Gore, Jr., son of Albert Arnold Gore, Sr., and father of Albert Arnold Gore III, the hillbilly dynasty! — that we literally could not believe our luck when al-Qaeda came calling on that gorgeous September morn, seeking some long overdue payback for a millennium of western cultural hegemony, Bach masses, and bacon sandwiches.

Sure, we had to pretend for a while that we were all on the same side. It wouldn’t have been seemly for us to take a victory lap with the towers still smoldering. So we did what we always do when faced with something even we can’t immediately misrepresent or lie about: We feigned outrage — even though we joyously knew we had it coming! — and then set our internal alarm clocks ticking down the hours until we could safely start to undermine *&^%BUSH@#$!% like the nasty little cultural sappers we truly are.

We went into full-fledged Grief Mode, just like when Lucy died but more so, always plotting how best to turn the “tragic” events to our advantage. As we held hands and sang “Gaia Bless America” on the Capitol steps, you never noticed the shivs behind our backs.

You know now the litany of our grievances: the widespread (or at least widely reported) outbreak of unprovoked (and largely imaginary) attacks on peaceable American Muslims. The betrayal of our nation’s core values in our blatant “overreaction” to something that was, after all, just a criminal matter. The establishment of a fascist police state. The missed opportunity to have the rest of the world like us, instead of fear us.

As that sterling avatar of contemporary liberalism, Paul Krugman, put it the other day: “What happened after 9/11 — and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not — was deeply shameful. T[h]e atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neocons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons.”

I couldn’t put it any better myself. September 11 meant that no longer could white, “Christian” America take for granted the permanence of its racist hegemony and its imperial overreach. Amerikkka’s chickens, as the former spiritual mentor to His Serene Majesty the Emperor Barack Hussein Obama II, Lord of the Flies, Keeper of the Hoops, Master of the Greens, Bringer of Kinetic Military Action, Vacationer-in-Chief, Slayer of Osama, Atomizer of the Economy and Protector of the Holy Cities of Honolulu and Chicago famously shouted from the pulpit of the Trinity United Church of Christ, had come home to roost.

So off we went, beetling away in academe and in the pages of the New York Times, whittling the Bush administration down to size for having the temerity and bad taste to actually fight back, to think that 9/11 was an act of war instead of something that could easily be handled in a single episode of Law and Order, or maybe The Real Housewives of Atlanta. We insulted Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld et al. daily on the editorial pages of the nation’s leading newspapers, and exposed their deepest secrets in the news pages — and with complete impunity! Even when our reporters were fencing stolen government secrets, nobody brought down the hammer; even I have to admit that, as fascists, the Bushies made pretty good fluffy bunnies.