By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
If it wished, the left could have seen an America that had matured and progressed over the last 50 years. It could have taken pride in an America that didn’t lock up millions of Arab-Americans, where the level of hate crimes barely flickered upward. And while Attorney General Ashcroft has strained to stretch and snap constitutional guarantees, a resilient American civil society and a democratic, if flawed, court system have offered effective resistance. Two American citizens have been stripped of their legal rights and declared enemy combatants. That‘s two Americans too many. But it is only two. This is not martial law. This is not fascism. This is not Chile or Argentina or East Germany -- not even close.
Especially for the left, September 11 a offered a unique opportunity to come back home, to find commonality and identification with a society from which too many progressives and radicals have felt alienated and estranged. In the suffering of September 11, the American left might have taken the hand of its fellow Americans and together searched -- at least for a moment -- for what unites rather than divides us.
But American leftists are surprisingly ready to brand those who depart from their views as “fascists.” The left, already tiny and isolated, has too frequently derived its industrial-strength self-righteousness from its own marginality. The left actually fears engagement with the broader society around it. It chooses self-loathing. Or, better, the loathing of all those common folk in whose name and interests it claims to be “struggling.” So when millions of ordinary Americans, shocked and frightened by September 11, and moved by the scale of the human tragedy, and wanting to do something, put out a flag, the American left responded too often not with compassion, but with scorn.
What has been truly staggering over the past year has been the dogmatic refusal of much of the left to simply say “yes.” Yes, America was attacked. Yes, we unequivocally mourn the unprovoked death of 3,000 fellow citizens. Yes, the window washers, the cooks, the secretaries and, yes, even the stockbrokers who were incinerated that morning a year ago were guilty of absolutely nothing, except showing up to work on time.
Instead, from the left, we get a steady stream of “yesbuts.” Yes, to all the above -- but we killed more people in Vietnam. Or yes, but we created Osama bin Laden (a patent lie). Or yes, but we starved more babies in Iraq. Or yes, but . . . well, you fill in the blank: But what about the oil pipelines? But what about covering for the Saudis? And so on and so forth ad nauseam. Every possible explanation from the left except the one obvious and true explanation right before our eyes: that a conspiracy of highly educated, religiously motivated zealots -- as opposed to impoverished and oppressed freedom fighters -- ruthlessly massacred 3,000 of us a year ago. And would have just as easily killed 10 times as many in the same barbaric onslaught. Period.
On this anniversary of September 11, without guilt or hesitation, I mourn their deaths. And I mourn a political culture whose moral compass has been driven awry by ideological rigidity from all sides.
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