Sunday, September 14, 2008

It would be impossible for anyone to come to the defense of that Daily Kos 9/11 cartoon, right? Wrong.

A note from Radarsite: After posting this article to the History Channel Boards I started wondering if anyone would actually write in to defend the Daily Kos' publication of this cartoon. No, I decided, that would be impossible. They might find a way to attack me, but no one in their right mind could defend that hideous cartoon or that despicable website that published it. And yet, incredibly, unbelievably, they have. To me, this response is even more disturbing than the cartoon itself. Although the author of these comments addresses me repeatedly by name, I am deleting his. However, if anyone wants to read these comments for themselves I have provided the link above. Normally Radarsite posts a commentary at the end of an article. But in this case I will not. I will not reply personally because, even though these comments were directed at me, I feel that they are in reality directed at us all. I await your responses. - rg

From The History Channel Boards Re: The Daily Kos: Beyond Outrage, Beneath ContemptSep 14, 2008 6:35 AM > Can someone, anyone, explain this to me? > > http://radarsite.blogspot.com/2008/09/daily-kos-beyond > -outrage-beneath.html
I can...but you won't like the answer. I can...but you don't WANT ananswer: If any Democrat or liberal out there does not immediately and passionately condemn this post, and condemn this vicious traitorous website and everything it stands for, if any Democrat or liberal out there does not at oncedisassociate themselves from this horror, then you are indeed the enemy, and I hate you as vehemently as I do al Qaeda. Perhaps even more vehemently, because you have the arrogance to consider yourselves to be Americans. Therein lies the problem, Roger. Since I am not about to do what you have demanded, you will immediately label me, as you said, the "enemy". This is a sickness common to the right; you feel that you MUST have 'enemies". Not just to help you sort out friend from foe, you actually need them to justify your very existence. Before you condemn me however, I would ask only one thing: that you be honest enough to read what I am about to write--in its entirety. You still will not like me, but if you are HONESTLY seeking an answer to your question (assuming it was notrhetorical) I will give you one. I suppose that a dislclaimer is necessary at this point: I lost a very good friend whom I had known since childhood that day. He wasn't a policeman or firefighter, just one of the office folks desperately trying to get out of the building. He didn't make it. Now, for your answer. It would help if you understood something of the grieving process we ALL suffer when tragedy of any sort occurs, from losing a job, to death of a loved one, to facing our own deaths, to deaths on a scale, or under circumstances, that we cannot even begin to wrap our minds around. To this day, the Holocaust, the Stalanist purges, the Pol Pot regime, the Bataan Death March, the fire bombing of Dresden, and others like them are events that I can comprehend intellectually, but not emotionally. Could I take another person's life? Sure. Could I kill 1,000 people at once? No. Would I feel some overriding guilt at being the agent of another person's death? Only if I was an unintentional agent. That being said, the grieving process follows a pretty standard path: first, there is denial that whatever the tragedy is has happened, or is happening. Then, once forced to acknowledge it, we get angry, for we don't like to suffer pain of loss (and if you believe that people grieve first for others, you are wrong; we grieve first for ourselves, then for others). As the anger begins to cool down, we begin to bargain. "God, if you take away this disease, I will go to church every Sunday, and build a shrine in your name!" We promise that which we have never been able to achieve before as a gesture that we are serious. It doesn't have to be to God; it can be to a doctor, ("cure my child, and I'll give everything I have to your favorite charity!") our spouse or parent ("If you will forgive me and take me back, I will change my ways!") the bargaining is pretty straightforward. But when fate pursues its inevitable course, we enter into depression. We can't shield ourselves from the truth with denial; our anger hasn't done us a bit of good; and whatever force(s) in the universe that control things seem to want a higher return on their investment than our good intentions. At some point during the depression, we come to a realization--that whatever it is that has made us grieve is not going to change, to stop, to reverse itself, so we must accept it. We don't have to be happy about such acceptance--but we acknowledge that things are what they are. If you are outside when it begins to rain, you don't have to like the rain, but you accept the fact that you are wet. Acceptance is a crucial point in the grieving process; it allows you to move on in your life. It doesn't mean that you forget what (or who) made you grieve, nor does it mean that you stop feeling sad; it simply means that this thing did, is, or will happen, and nothing is going to change it. When the twin towers were struck, do you remember your first reaction? I remember mine. "No--this can't be happening! I refuse to believe it!" That's denial. A part of the denial is a false hope: "Okay, this is bad; but they'll be able to get out..." Then the shots of the buildings collapsing: "NO! Buildings just don't fall down like that!" False hope: "They had enough time to get everyone out. Those poor people who jumped didn't have too; they just panicked..." Then the anger begins: "WTF just happened, and why?" As the story comes out, and it becomes clear that terrorists are trying to hurt this country, that anger becomes rage: "This isn't your g-damned backward third world country, you a$$holes; this is the USA!" The rage intensifies: "find the f**kers who did this, and kill them; painfully, if possible. Then kill any of their friends with the same idea, then kill their families; hell--find out where they came from and nuke the whole f**king country back to the Stone Age!" We lash out at Afghanistan: "God, let us just go in, grab Bin Laden, and kick the s**t out of anyone who gets in our way. If he puts up a fight, please make sure his death is slow and very painful..." Then comes a period of depression. We have searched for him and not gotten him. The a$$hole keeps eluding us." (A return to anger). But then we come to acceptance. We have cleared Ground Zero; we have buried the dead. We have supported the families who had direct losses; we have honored the heroes of that day. Each in our own way, we have tried to understand what Abraham Lincoln understood 143 years ago at Gettysburg: But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. But we Americans have a couple of problems with tragedies of this sort. This first is an almost congenital belief that we are (or should be) immune from the same problems that the rest of the world has. We are not. Then, too, we have a large portion of the population which needs to justify their continued anger and hatred against others outside this country--and we do this by great public displays of mourning, even 8 years after the tragedy. Are there people who are still genuinely mouring? I'm sure there are; but the majority do so because it has become expected of them (and certainly, with sentiments such as those you expressed on your blog, perhaps you can understand why someone would rather mourn publicly than be accused of anti-Americanism) . But there are an even smaller number who continue to use the tragedy for blatanlty self-serving means. This is not the first time it has been done; "Remember the Alamo!" "Remember the Maine!" "Remember Pearl Harbor!" are examples of tragedies which were used for blatantly political causes. (Please note that I DO NOT impugn any of them; I merely state the truth: that they were used as ignition points to fan the flames of both patriotism and hatred in this country, ) The British cartoonist who drew the picture is under no compunction to share our ingrained societal outrage. He may, in fact see our annual mourning as an exercise in ghoulishness, picking at a wound, not letting it heal, as a way to justify our behaviors abroad (and at home). Finally, why would the Daily Kos call it ghoulish? Perhaps because they understand that Dubya used the tragedy to further his own presidency, and that perhaps giving the country a chance to heal would have been better. Also, when you look at the history of Republican politics, there has ALWAYS been an amorphous external enemy or a heinous internal enemy against which to rally the faithful. And that is what the Republicans need to do: to use 9/11 as a visual image around which the faithful can rally. One need only look at Sarah Palin's acceptance speech at the GOP convention to see that they pulled out every patriotic image to flash on the sceens behind her; a constant reminder to the faithful of who the "real" patriots were. It is this reckless willingness to divide the people into "patriots" and "non-patriots" based on their adherence to proper modes of behaviors that is a Republican staple, and leads to assinine statements such as this: ...then you are indeed the enemy, and I hate you as vehemently as I do al Qaeda. Perhaps even more vehemently, because you have the arrogance to consider yourselves to be Americans. Given that trian of thought Roger, how long will it be before you can rationalize calling someone the "enemy" because he comes from a different part of the country, or has a different color skin, or worships differently than you do? There is the answer, roger. I told you that you wouldn't like it; but it IS th truth.
A PS from Radarsite: It seems that that entire response in support of that DK cartoon posted at the history Channel has mysteriously disappeared. If this was the decision of their moderator, I applaud them. Unfortunately however, it's too late. The article has already been written and I am not going to delete it. Someone wrote that response. Someone thought those thoughts. And you published them. Moreover, I believe that these comments did not originate in the mind of one lone lunatic, but accurately represent the opinions of those associated with the publication of those cartoons. For these reasons I am leaving this article untouched. If the History Channel wishes to make any statement regarding this issue I will happily post it - rg

©2007-2012copyrightMaggie M. Thornton