Welcome to La La Land

So that effete little prince who cross-dresses as a cowboy and loves to don macho uniforms sometimes sporting medals he doesn’t seem to have earned is planning to run for his second term on the basis of what happened in New York on 9/11, is he? And he’s so lacking in decency and good taste that he dares to present this here, in New York City? All this simpering sentimentality over 9/11! This guy really knows how to tug at the heartstrings, doesn’t he? This whole damned (and I mean damned in the religious sense of the word) convention is nothing more than a slick — very pretty, very slick — lie.

What did Bush have to do with 9/11 except to allow it to happen because he was too arrogant and ignorant to pay attention to Clinton’s warnings about al Qaeda? The 9/11 Commission seems to have been able to find plenty of indications that something major was about to happen. Even strong indications that whatever was about to happen would involve hijacked planes. To not have enough airport security to prevent four — count em, four — planes from being hijacked at the same time, and then to not even notice that four planes had been hijacked until they began to crash into buildings — and then, once aware that something was amiss, not be able to figure out what to do about it, has to mean that those responsible for protecting public safety were not only asleep but in a deep coma.

And what has he done since then for this city besides showing up three days later for a photo-op? His immediate REAL response was to betray us by not allowing the REAL reports on air quality at the WTC site to be released, thus poisoning all who worked there and everyone who lived near there. How many of the workers at the site, who could have been protected by at least wearing a mask, are now sick, probably damaged for life? Yeah, now he calls them heros. I guess they just weren’t heroic enough or important enough to protect their safety by telling them the truth. The police and firemen who sacrificed so much that day certainly aren’t being rewarded like heros — they’ve been working without a contract for two years. Or, in the Bush every-man-for-himself ideology, they should have figured out for themselves that the air was poisonous and not believed the reports that the air was safe? Oh, there’s a long list of sins against the city, a history of utter contempt for the city and its suffering, the most recent being that remark about the “unseemly scramble for money” by city officials afterwards. Only a bunch of psychopaths could act like this and then come to this wounded city to claim credit for how noble their response has been. Their response? Establishing the huge, incredibly expensive, meaningless “Homeland Security” department, taking away the workers’ rights to do it, which seems mainly tell us to buy lots of duct tape, to issue dubious terrorist alerts based on a color scale — and, of course, the amazing decision to attack Iraq while ignoring the real terrorist danger.

Yeah, McCaine has to tow the party line if he wants to advance his political career. I can understand that. I can understand Giuliani, too. I’ve always known that he’s a man of overriding political ambition. If anyone in the Republican party has a right to talk about 9/11 he does. He went to the site immediately, at great personal risk, and the city owes him a lot for the calm way he handled the aftermath. At least the officials in NYC had been aware ever since the first attack on the WTC that something was going to happen, had planned for this, and had held disaster drills for years. I know this, and know this began long before Giuliani was on the scene, because I worked for city government. But he deserves full credit for steering the city through impossible times. Even so, shame on both these men for pandering to Bush!

Then, of course, there’s Pataki. A notably weak governor who can’t ever get a state budget passed on time, to the point where last year the Assembly rebelled and overrode his veto. He will introduce Bush for his acceptance speech, He also has his political ambitions and knows how to pander. A perfect courtier for the effete little prince. We’ll see how long it takes Bush to turn on him. Bush has a charming habit of doing that to his “friends.” What’s weird about Pataki is that he seems to actually believe the lies and the garbage about why we’re at war in Iraq and that it has something to do with 9/11. He’s said that he wants to include a piece of that statue of Saddam that was famously pulled down, thus “liberating” the Iraqis, in the foundation of what gets built at the WTC site.

Yes, they’re all still insisting that the war in Iraq is part of the “war on terror” to the point where it becomes impossible to tell which they’re talking about. In spite of the fact that it’s perfectly clear that Iraq had no connection to al Qaeda. Wrong religious sect for one thing — al Qaeda had ties with Iran, and maybe Bush didn’t know the difference between the two countries? Well, a large portion of the country still believes there was a tie between Iraq and al Qaeda, and that if Iraq didn’t have weapons of mass destruction, they would have gotten hold of them.

Of the people. By the people. For the people. We’ve managed to govern ourselves by this principle for a very long time. Either the State exists for the people, or the people exist to serve the State. These are two extremely different points of view. If you believe the state exists to serve the people, you believe that people are capable of intelligent choice. That’s why we’ve had free public education in this country. If you believe that the state is superior to the people, then you believe that an elite must subdue and control the “masses” because the “masses” are a churlish mob. Thus, if you’re a member of the elite, it’s not only OK but a duty to deceive the “masses,” lie to them, it’s for their own good. And who are those inferior masses? That’s us, folks, you and me and everyone we know, unless we happen to be members of that elite governing group. We’re those churlish brutes, and that’s how we’ll be treated. We’re expendable. That’s why there’s so much security around Madison Square Garden. To protect the elite from us churlish brutes. That’s why the Republicans are lusting for violent demonstrations to prove we’re the churlish brutes. That’s why there will be so many arrests justified or not, every incident reported by the media, true or not, instigated by the police or not. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

There are those who understand this all too well. There were those who understood in ancient Rome, in Germany, in Russia, in every country throughout history that lost its liberty or its chance for liberty. That’s why that army of people in Sunday’s demonstration was chanting: This is what Democracy looks like. Well, folks, which is it going to be? Do we lose our Republic and allow ourselves to be conned into Empire?