The Newtown Pentacle

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cacophonous pause

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6,210 days ago…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Yesterday, one spent his day participating in several call in meetings with the various folks I work with. On my last call, with Access Queens, the reopening of the Cortlandt Street MTA station, which somehow took the powers that be seventeen years to rebuild, came up. The seventeen years thing stuck with me, however. It also occurred to me after the call that there’s an entire generation of voters who will, next year, be pulling the levers in the voting booth whose formative years and world view were entirely shaped by the Terror Wars. They grew up in a country that’s now on a permanent war footing, and have never known anything else. 

Did 911 really happen seventeen years ago? Seventeen years? On a Tuesday morning.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The level of optimism in pre 911 America was total, for those of you who have forgotten or were too young to perceive it. Back then, the politicians and pundits were talking about the end of history after the end of the Cold War with the now fallen Soviet Empire. They gloated about the weakened Russians, proclaimed that the neoliberal agenda had prevailed, and generally behaved like a rich bully in a bar room. Then, those two planes came screaming down the Hudson.

I lost friends that day, but others lost everything they loved. Vengeance, we all cried. Bomb them into the Stone Age, we said. Kill, kill, kill. If you’re not with us, you’re against us. French Fries were renamed Freedom Fries. “They” hurt us, so we hurt “them” back. Let’s Roll…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Seventeen years later and we are seemingly coming apart at the seams. Reactionary populism, division of the electorate into ever smaller slices and interest groups, Americans at each other’s throats over relatively minor political issues… All of this was present back then, but not to the degree it is today. The Terror Wars are just a fact of life now, and it’s normal for American Soldiers to be deployed overseas in combat zones. The Freedom Tower, rebranded as just “One World Trade” is open, and is where you’ll find a memorial museum which is a very popular destination for foreign tourists. Personally, I’ve never managed to well up the courage to visit it. 

I also don’t like to visit my father’s grave, as I’d rather remember him as he was before cancer ate him alive. 

Seventeen years.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 11, 2018 at 11:00 am

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