Last Sunday, on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the Nobel Laureate, Princeton University Economist and NY Times columnist, Paul Krugman, set off a real political dirty bomb.
The Years of Shame
Is it just me, or are the 9/11 commemorations oddly subdued.
Actually, I don’t think it’s me, and it’s not really that odd.
What happened after 9/11 — and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not — was deeply shameful. The 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.
A lot of other people behaved badly. How many of our professional pundits — people who should have understood very well what was happening — took the easy way out, turning a blind eye to the corruption and lending their support to the hijacking of the atrocity?
The memory of 9/11 has been irrevocably poisoned; it has become an occasion for shame. And in its heart, the nation knows it.
I’m not going to allow comments on this post, for obvious reasons.
Now, I’m not sure I quite agree with everything Krugman said, but I found reactions to his remarks telling.
As to be expected, right-wing political pundits had a field day diss’ing Krugman for his less than flattering assessment of how some politicians capitalized on 9/11 and misled America into war. One of the more thoughtful, analytic responses came from the always clever Fox Noise talking heard, Greg Gutfield, who proclaimed to his esteemed learned viewers, “Go to hell Paul Krugman, you bitter, bearded buffoon.” When you don’t have anything intelligent to say, just shoot the messenger. (SOP in many circles.)
I am always fascinated by the “religious” nature by which so many American conservatives treat their own patriotism. E. G. If a conservative Republican country singer wears a shirt made to look like an American flag, he’s a true patriot. If Michael Moore wore the same shirt, he would be strung up for desecrating the American flag. In the world of right-wing nationalism, criticizing your own country is an abomination, even though constructive criticism is what democracy is all about.
As is often the case, John Stewart and company at the Daily Show, masterfully exposed some of the hypocrisy of Christian-conservative-Republicans responses to 9/11, using their own words:
In case the proverbial jury is still out on the values of Republicans in general and Tea-Party patriots in particular, consider if you will, the response of the audience at the Tea-Party Express Presidential Candidates debate on Monday, September 12th. Moderator, Wolf Blitzer asked Rep. Ron Paul,
What should happen, if a healthy 30-year-old man who can afford insurance chooses not to buy it—and then becomes catastrophically ill and needs intensive care for six months?
Not surprisingly, the libertarian, who doesn’t believe the government should even provide traffic lights, ducked the question. Paul reminded us that once upon time there was no such thing as Medicare. Blitzer wondered emphatically, “But Congressman, are you saying the society should just let him die?”
At that point, the audience, clearly composed of some of the most compassionate, religious people in America broke into cheers of:
LET HIM DIE! LET HIM DIE!
Anyone who thinks the Republicans and the Christian right in this country own the “moral high ground” is delusional. Patriotism and religion cannot always camouflage greed, bigotry, xenophobia, provincialism, and selfishness.