Tuesday, September 11, 2007

So it's 9/11 again

One of the things that I've always resented about the wave of pseudo-patriotism that swept the country after 9/11 and that has manifested on its anniversaries is the sudden compassion that people from the South, from the West, and from other ultra-conservative areas show for New York City. I lived basically in the South, that is in North Florida, when 9/11 hit and suddenly the town, where you'd see Confederate Flag bumper stickers on a lot of cars, suddenly took up the cause of New York City. Which is not saying that there aren't people there that are genuinely compassionate, but instead that many of the people who seemed to manifest compassion probably didn't think that highly of New York City in the days before 9/11.

Although it was by most standards a very brief period, I did live in New York City right after High School and I can tell you that the things that I thought were great about it, the openness, the many different cultural opportunities, the mix of people from all over the world, were things that conservatives usually hate. Acceptance of gays?! Modern Art and other egg headed things?! People from foreign countries speaking their own language, and non-white countries at that?! New York City has served as an American Sodom and Gomorrah for American conservatives for a long time, an example of what could go wrong in the rest of the U.S. if sneaky liberalism gets its diabolical claws into things. But suddenly all the conservative pundits, magazines, papers, TV channels love New York. And here's the kicker: if you actually like New York as it really is and you object to what the conservatives are trumpeting then you're not just unpatriotic but you're dishonoring the memory of the people who died in NYC on 9/11.

Of all the nerve. They've appropriated a city for their own purposes, making it a symbol that has nothing to do with the actual place and that signifies something probably opposed by most New Yorkers themselves: rampant conservative patriotism and the destroying of civil liberties at home, not to mention the two wars that are now being fought in the name of New Yorkers killed on 9/11.

So what to make of all of this? Well, sometimes the worst thing that can happen is a backhanded compliment by your enemy. And there sure have been a lot of backhands given by this administration.

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