The last month or so has been memorable, and on so many levels. Terrible on so many levels, too. Memories of so many recent calamities resonate with unreal clarity if only because, perhaps, we are walking so close to the edge. And I mean We as in humanity. The edge of the abyss opened twenty years ago today and we have, all of us, been teetering there ever since – only now the gathering storm of unchecked climate driven catastrophes seems to be pushing us closer and closer to that edge with each new Twitterstorm. And as a species we seem completely incapable of rising to the challenges of the moment – because so many people have made it their business to prosper, politically or economically, by dividing us. Labels are tossed about with reckless abandon and love of and for our fellow man has fallen by the wayside. Hate has flourished along the edge.
In a way it is kind of hard to imagine that most of these calamities can be traced back to the proxy conflicts of the Cold War. More to the point, real fissures surrounding the abyss began to appear soon after the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. The American policy of Containment was then the order of the day, and that policy simply stated that if the Soviets made a move on the board we had to counter, or contain that move with one or more of our own. We countered the Soviet’s move with the CIAs clandestine war in Afghanistan, whereby we trained and armed the Mujahideen for almost a decade, and after we (finally) armed these freedom fighters with Stinger missiles the writing was on the wall. And a point of fact is here in order: while the Soviets were loading up their Antonovs and Ilyushins in the dead of night, much the same writing appeared on the wall dividing East and West Berlin. The Soviet Union collapsed under the weight of all their varied internal contradictions, and, no longer of any real use to the United States, the CIA simply left Afghanistan. Gee…does that have a familiar ring to it? And, oh, by the way, one of the people most angered at this abandonment was a Saudi national who had been fighting alongside the Mujahideen for years, a middle aged and ultra-religious millionaire named Usama Bin Laden.
The rest is, as the saying goes, History.
Historians are still coming to terms with the first rough draft of the history of that day, perhaps because historians, like everyone else, have grown more partisan. But do consider, please, that there is no such thing as a ‘partisan historian’ and you’ll understand why a ‘first rough draft’ remains incomplete, and at best incoherent. Riven with impossible conflict (re: the impossibly incoherent demands of political correctness vs the need for a wide variety of voices to challenge the intellectual development of students), teachers and professors have looked on in dismay as one red line in the sand after another has pushed historical and cultural literacy further and further out of reach – or closer and closer to the edge. College professor are startled by the apparent reality that often more than not half their incoming freshmen students can’t read or spell worth a damn and that their attention spans are, to put it mildly, brief. More troubling still, many new students in the Humanities come to class with a hard-wired set of beliefs – surprisingly, and more often than not, their parent’s beliefs – so those professors trying to teach History or Political Science or Sociology walk into classrooms full of closed minds. I think this is called inherent bias, but don’t quote me…okay?
Us and Them, ya know what I mean?
All I know with any certainty is that 9/11 and all the forever wars that followed were George W Bush’s wars. When W was campaigning for president in 1999 and 2000 he explicitly sided with Israel over any kind of just settlement of the Palestinian Conundrum and that one act more than any other caused Bin Laden to light the fuse. Again, even before the election. That disastrously contested election, the one Al Gore should have contested, the election AL Gore won.
The abyss started hissing and steaming one December evening after the Supreme Court tossed Gore v Florida. Please read Anthony Kennedy’s dissent again. Please. Permanent, deep fault lines appeared in America, fault lines readily enlarged by Newt Gingrich and the Fox News Noise Machine (great name for a heavy metal band, don’t you think?). Ws popularity began fading despite all kinds of disingenuous propaganda (Saddam has Weapons of Mass Destruction! “Start the duck and cover drills, Dick! Worked like a charm last time we ran that play, right?”
But truly, I don’t want to sit way up here in the cheap seats taking potshots at W. I would like for you to consider, however, that The Day of Atonement falls on the 15th-16th of this month, but that, just maybe, September 11th, 2021 was George W Bush’s Day of Atonement. Please, watch the speech he made today, out on a field in Pennsylvania:
Did you catch his comments regarding the January 6th 2021 Insurrection? And the forces that unleashed this event?
History is all about memory. The Memory of Place. Of Space and Time.
My memory of this day will forever be defined by Ws words as he stood out there beside our field of dreams and finally, resoundingly, spoke the truth. God Bless, indeed.
Work on The 88th Key. Yup. I’m trying. And I’m also very distracted. Erica is quite ill now, seriously so, and a best friend’s significant other is as well. I am being pulled in impossible directions with each new day, stuffing my own medical issues back inside the little anxiety closet I call my own, yet I am happiest when I consider that I am still here and able to help. But…writing is a way to consider the events of the day, to order those things that so often seem to exude disorder. I will write. It’s what I do now.
And oh, one more thing. I’m also working on a new short story I’ll post just before Halloween. Title is The Boo Angel (yeah, (c) 2021 Adrian Leverkühn | abw blah, blah, blah…). I think you’ll like it, but you’ll see a bunch of stuff on 88 before that one posts.
Later…and be safe.