That Day After the 9-11 Attacks

Americans were simply stunned by the events of ten years ago. The effort to digest the full meaning of the event and make it real and not some cheap movie from a thriller novel gone national nightmare took a day or two for many of us. A look at what Thomas Martin Sobottke wrote in a journal he kept for over 12 years, ten long years ago, prior to taking up blogging shows both the struggle to take it all in and the rising determination of Americans to carry on the that struggle. That determination is still there and may be even stronger in 2011.

He wrote on 13 September 2001 (not able to sit still and think) for a few days afterward:

All is changed. Did I really see those jets slam into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York? The Pentagon attacked? The President unable to fly in safety into Washington? Strangely, I feel no sense of vengeance; no desire to strike blindly in hatred. There is however, an iron, ongoing, and unyielding resolve to do my part to set right this terrible wrong and to protect our nation. There has been a terrible miscalculation. Our enemies perceive us as weaklings. No, not militarily or economically but spiritually and morally. They could not be more wrong. Americans squabble with each other too much. We are distracted by amusements and material comforts. We had, until Tuesday, enjoyed the luxury of our complacency. No longer. Everyone I associate with is fully resolved to see this thing through. For the time being, partisan politics is irrelevant.

Ten years ago the focus was on the United States and the interests of all of us. We had each other’s back. But now, politics are polarized. Both major parties and the entire political spectrum shares the blame for this.

But the real fuel and center of gravity for the polarization of America is coming from the now far-right fringe Republican Party and its attacks on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, Foodstamps, the refusal to get serious about jobs, a rising ethnic prejudice that may bleed into increasing racial bigotry if certain people are elected in 2012.

In short, conservatives and Republicans have it in their power to cut off the fuel for this polarization and the center-of-gravity of politics moving us into “squabbling too much.” The acceptance of reforms and measures for our people who even a majority of Republican voters support, and progressives who merely wish to maintain what human beings need to simply make it in this world is not the source of political polarization in the nation.

Struggles for Justice would like to say that liberals, progressives, populists, Socialists, and whomever are all agitating for huge changes in American society that conservatives just cannot allow.

But the left is simply playing defense all the time and the political center is even too far to the right for Ronald Reagan to move in these days. What is being defended and supported are things that are anywhere from forty to sixty and more years old. We’ve lived and prospered with government aiding us in solving our problems and helping spur those elements in our society that are private and detached from the government sphere.

President Obama has continually compromised and reached out to his opponents and they have smacked him in the face every time. So much so, that his political base is losing faith in him. That may be a key part of the far-right strategy. But Americans of all backgrounds and political loyalties should stop blaming the left, Democrats, and the President for this bitter political polarization.

When the Koch Brothers, Freedom Works, the Republican Party and the Tea Party move the political center so far right and challenge things that were rightly thought sacrosanct by most Americans and still largely are so, they play right into the hands of the very enemies who attacked us ten years ago and who we still fight worldwide.

It’s up to Congressional Republicans if Americans will get any movement on creating real jobs in any numbers. It’s up to the Tea Party and the Republican Party to grow up and do the right thing. To start working with other Americans. If they do not, the majority of citizens in this nation should reject them soundly at the ballot box in 2012 and give President Obama a second term, and elect a decidedly more progressive Congress. Were the Republican Party to move deftly to the old political center, they’d defeat Obama and the Democrats handily.

But most importantly, the kind of cooperation to pass the president’s job’s bill in a form crafted by all, and to do it boldly and promptly would let the world know America still works. It would be a blow to our enemies.

The greatest value set before us in the past ten days has been the conservative value of responsibility.

Members of Congress have the responsibility to serve the people of the United States. They have the responsibility to get our economy moving before November 2012, out of human compassion for a lot of families who are hurting.

What’s missed by Congressional Tea Party conservatives is that our national security depends on a functioning national government. The refusal to work with the chief executive at all, and to actively undermine the executive branch at all costs borders on treason.

Struggles for Justices’ editor remembers that horrible day ten years past. Why have those on the right forgotten the full implications of it: the need for our people to unite?

The lesson we learned in the wake of the tragedy about being unified in purpose as a people has somehow escaped the political right, or they are attempting to destroy government and in doing so, destroy the ability of the United States to adequately defend our people and geographical borders. Our military operations since 9-11 have been aimed at striking to protect Americans from harm.

Which side are you on? Do you support the United States and its people and their welfare or don’t you? Conservatives on the right bent on nothing but defeating Obama and dismantling the government that serves the people have a lot to answer for.

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