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Happy Patriot's Day!

Hey, happy Patriot’s Day, everyone!

Yes, it’s the phony-baloney holiday cooked up by conservative senators before the ashes of the Twin Towers had cooled so that we could ‘commemorate’ the terror attacks! And what better way to commemorate the senseless death of thousands than to loudly assert your loyalty to the homeland and impugn the patriotism of anyone who dissents?

I got scolded at work yesterday – and keep in mind that, for San Antonio, my workplace is pretty liberal – for mocking the notion of Patriot’s Day. It was implied that I was disrespecting the memory of the dead by belittling a day allegedly crafted in their honor.

What was I supposed to say? That I don’t believe for a second the people who came up with Patriot’s Day gave half a shit about the victims of the terrorists, but were just looking for a convenient hook on which to dangle their jingoism? That what really upsets me is the fact that my own memories of 9/11, my own emotions and reactions to the closest thing I’ve ever experienced to a war on American soil, are constantly being evaluated, mediated, officiated? That I can’t possibly have a moment of quiet contemplation about what the attacks did to my country, to the people I love, because I know that dissimulating fucker in the White House is going to trot out sometime today and shit all over it? That as much as I think this is an important day that we should be honoring the victims, America’s leaders have done everything in their power to make me dread each anniversary, that each of the past six years has done more to soil that honor? That no matter how much I might want to think good thoughts and maintain a patriotic attitude today, all I can think about is this disgraceful war against a country that never wronged us? That I almost never meet or talk to anyone who was in New York on 9/11, but every fucking day in this highly militarized town I see some 23-year-old vet hobbling around on a mechanical leg or being pushed down the street in a wheelchair? That no matter how hard I try, I can’t shake the absolute certainty that what we have done in the intervening years since 9/11/2001 is absolutely, demonstrably, measurably worse than what was done to us?

Instead, I just shook my head and said “sorry”. I don’t know what I was apologizing for, but I do now: to every person who died on September 11, 2001, to everyone whose lives were torn apart by violent fanatics, and to every Iraqi who suffered and died in our pointless, hapless invasion and occupation, to every soldier who’s been crippled or killed fighting a war that our ideologically blinkered leadership couldn’t be bothered to plan: sorry. Happy Patriot’s Day.

Comments

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archaica
Sep. 11th, 2007 03:35 pm (UTC)
Man, you and I are on the same wavelength.

My first thoughts on hearing the planes hit the Twin Towers were, "Well, shit, they're gonna fuck this all up now," and God knows if they haven't lived down to my expectations.
ludickid
Sep. 11th, 2007 03:53 pm (UTC)
My first thoughts were "Holy shit, what the fuck, what the fuck is happening?" I remember listening to it on NPR, and they had their Pentagon correspondent talking live about a possible military response, and then all of the sudden he was like "Uh, they're telling us to leave now, something's going on in the building". Minutes later they confirmed a plane had hit the Pentagon. In my car, commuting to work, I was in a near-panic that the ludicrous 1980s Chuck Norris fantasies were coming true: there really was going to be an invasion of the U.S. by bloodthirsty terrorists.

Nowadays, I just sit around and occasionally think, hey! Did we get bin-Laden yet, or is he just a picture on t-shirts, an image to throw popcorn boxes at, like Emmanuel Goldstein?
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lester22
Sep. 11th, 2007 03:42 pm (UTC)
Agree 100%. Making September 11th into a mourning holiday is entirely a jingoistic response to a tragedy that has been bastardized by false sentimentality, shameless hucksterism, and misguided and unnecessary violence against innocent people.

Besides which, I'm pissed that W appropriated the name of the original Patriots' Day, which nobly celebrates the beginnings of the American Revolution, for his own purposes.
gillen
Sep. 11th, 2007 03:45 pm (UTC)
"We've all gone crazy,
Mourning all day and mourning all night
Falling over ourselves to get all
Of the misery right."
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manningkrull
Sep. 11th, 2007 03:43 pm (UTC)
My Patriot's Day gift to you and all my friends is me not posting about the great new brand of hairspray I just tried.
ludickid
Sep. 11th, 2007 03:53 pm (UTC)
God bless you, Manning Leonard Krull.
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See you in hell! - ludickid - Sep. 11th, 2007 06:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
ortho_bob
Sep. 11th, 2007 03:45 pm (UTC)
Send your scolds a link to the Naomi Klein piece from yesterday's Guardian and underline the bit about how there were two lobbying firms devoted to hooking up security-oriented businesses with the right people on Capitol Hill in Washington prior to 9/11 -- there are now 543. (Not 543 security-oriented businesses, note, but 543 lobbying firms for security-oriented businesses.) There are some real patriots for ya work chums.
ludickid
Sep. 11th, 2007 03:57 pm (UTC)
The more I read about the ungodly degree of profiteering going on in Iraq, the more I think, where are all the 'patriots' on this issue? These are corporations who are literally making millions from the blood of American soldiers -- witness the weekly convoys of empty trucks across dangerous, insurgent-infested terrain (accompanied by military escorts) for no reason than to justify their outrageous cost-plus expenditures -- and nobody seems to have a goddamn thing to say. I mean, didn't we used to hang people for this shit?
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fiberpunk
Sep. 11th, 2007 03:47 pm (UTC)
Here's what I figure: Patriots Day is the day on which I promise not to use any horrible, tragic, monstrous event to score cheap points in service of the agenda I had anyway.

But on Sep. 12, the Armenian genocide proves that Starbuck is a man, damnit.
ludickid
Sep. 11th, 2007 03:58 pm (UTC)
If I refrain from making cheap political points, the terrorists have already won.
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tamisevens
Sep. 11th, 2007 04:13 pm (UTC)
incredibly well said, Leonard.
ludickid
Sep. 11th, 2007 04:24 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Tami.
drownedinink
Sep. 11th, 2007 04:17 pm (UTC)
I think I'm going to celebrate Patriot's Day by watching 1776 again and wishing that Howard da Silva's Benjamin Franklin, William Daniels' John Adams, Ken Howard's Thomas Jefferson would come to life and save us all.

kudaspeaks
Sep. 11th, 2007 04:20 pm (UTC)
Plus horny Blythe Danner! Bonus!
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lunchcat
Sep. 11th, 2007 05:12 pm (UTC)
Perfectly said. My husband and I were having this same conversation this morning but in a far less eloquent way.

Every time I hear someone talking about Patriot's Day, all I can think about is going to a Red Wings game a week after 9/11/01 and seeing dozens of women wearing red-white-and-blue American flag track suits and sucking down their 32 ounce beers. I realized, oh, shit, we've made a mockery of it already.
scottvond
Sep. 11th, 2007 06:35 pm (UTC)
Patriot's Day is the day they run the Boston Marathon, the Red Sox play at 10 am, and kids in Maine and Massachusetts get the day off. They should call today 9/11. It's easy to remember that way.
stevegreen
Sep. 11th, 2007 07:17 pm (UTC)
Isn't it the duty of a patriot to question the motives of the government they elect?
cleversimon
Sep. 11th, 2007 11:49 pm (UTC)
It used to be. But on 9/11, EVERYTHING CHANGED.
lucifrix
Sep. 12th, 2007 02:24 pm (UTC)
May I link to (or copy/paste) this on my journal? I'd love more people to see it...I just wish the right people would see it.
ludickid
Sep. 12th, 2007 02:25 pm (UTC)
Sure, be my guest.
( 36 SHOTS LICKED — LICK A SHOT )

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ludickid
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Leonard Pierce is a freelance writer wandering around Texas with no sleep or sense of direction. If you give him money he will write something for you. If you are nice to him he may come to your house and get drunk.

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