Thursday, September 11, 2008

9/11: Why do they hate us?

In looking at Keith Olbermann's deranged "special comment," I just realized why the left hates us so much.

They think the Republicans stole 9/11 from them, and they're mad because they think 9/11 is theirs.

Remember watching tv in the following weeks and seeing the abject pain in everyone's eyes. The news anchors were shell-shocked, as one would expect. They were right there when it happened. I remember bawling at Howard Ludnick of Cantor Fitzgerald telling about the loss of nearly 700 employees, and Jon Stewart's perfect tearful fuck-you to the terrorists.

And I was hurt too. I didn't move from my couch for over a week. I won't ever be the same, for better and for worse. We are all American, so it happened to me.

But not like it happened to them.

After 9/11, the whole world was American. But who bore the most direct losses? As much as those of us in flyover country decry how the left-wing media is concentrated in the coastal monopolies, the heart of the coastal elite was worst hit in the attack. From the uper-wealthy Democratic financial services guys to the overwhelmingly Democratic media to the Democratic leaning union fire, police, and port authority officers - their side of the political divide got hit worse than ours did.

And now it's eating Olbermann alive that the Republicans "hijacked" it and made it the foundation of their will to lead.

He thinks we're exploiting the event that belongs to him. Because how can anyone in the Midwest who didn't know anyone personally killed have any idea what Keith Olbermann or Anderson Cooper or their producers and camera people went through that day. Their whole lives must have been turned upside down - physical reminders greeted them at work, at home, at play. They have memories of friends they'll never see again.

He doesn't believe us when the red states say: "We are all American" yet use his pain to advance policies he disagrees with. We've taken something from him that didn't belong to us and used it against him. The way that the right suspects the left of using faux-environmentalism to kill business (because the left thinks business oppresses us), the left suspects the right of using faux-patriotism to kill civil liberties (because the right thinks that overly permissive society oppresses us). And there are enough wackos on both sides to confirm the worst suspicions of the other.

In the seven intervening years, the lines have been drawn. The two sides no longer listen to the others. So when I see Olbermann then:
I would never doubt the sincerity of your pain.
And Olbermann now:
You shed your phony crocodile opportunistic tears over 9/11.
I don't think simple hypocrisy can explain the extent of the sheer unhinged outrage. Because the 9/11 video was pretty innocuous. I went back and looked at what prompted his first statement, Fox's John Gibson mocking Jon Stewart's 9/11 response, and it's disgusting. I never thought I would say this, but Olbermann was right to bring it up. He's wrong now, but for too long he's been sitting and stewing and watching the right take his pain and use it against him. No wonder he accuses us of "hijacking" - he thinks we are doing what the terrorists did to him.

The right gets it wrong when they say the left is ignoring 9/11. I think they're consumed by it. Look how possessive Olbermann is and how angry that it's been stolen. Look how angry he is that the Republicans are trying to "terrify" him. How dare they, he says, when he was already more terrified than they can ever imagine. The right thinks that the left has abandoned 9/11 and tries to shoulder the responsibility alone. The left sees us stealing what is theirs, and it is driving them crazy.

I bet that quite a bit of the left feels this way. This hit them where they live. And I think the elites and media tastemakers had a big impact in causing this wingnuttery to reach critical mass. If the media can build a frenzy about Britney Spears, I doubt they would be any less effective in building frenzy when they are actually being sincere. Hence, Daily Kos, Democratic Underground, my crazy ex-friends, etc.

They doubt our sincerity. While it's certainly tempting to tell the left to fuck right off while we skip to the presidency with another 51% win, that's not the right course. Olbermann is probably beyond hope. But looking toward the future, I think the best option to help everyone is to expect better from the Republican party. If Republicans expect to be believed that the protection of America is our highest and most pure driving interest, we should act like we are pursuing a higher calling. We're not.

As much as we want conservative principles embodies in our laws and leaders, wouldn't it be better if we could do it without alienating 49% of our countrymen?

No comments: