Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Post of the Week Created with Sketch. The Space Between 9/11 and Year Zero

 
911
The aftermath of 9/11 in New York City

The terror attack on September 11, 2001, was undoubtedly the transformative event of my youth and shapes my worldview as an adult. Now we bear witness to the next generation’s defining moment: an unprecedented national lockdown and social upheaval. Like 9/11, the mindset of the people who live through it reflects both the environment of what came before and the reaction to everything that comes after. There haven’t been straight lines drawn between 9/11 and the current cultural, social, and political chaos that is occurring in America now. Rather we’re living in a pendulum that those in power would rather see blasted off-course into the heavens than swing back to a state of balance between natural rights, freedom of thought, liberty, and law and order.

9/11 united the country in patriotism and civic responsibility, and in an instant it became clear what President Reagan meant when he said “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” America enjoyed a generous peace dividend in the 1990s, thanks to the strong leadership through the Cold War of Ronald Reagan and a tightening of domestic conservatism. We had relatively good standing both within and beyond our borders. Patriotism wasn’t a value to be shamed. We celebrated our heroes with the understanding they were flawed men, much like each of us – but also with the potential for greatness that only America offers the opportunity to realize. Civic duty was instilled as a way of life and fragile institutions were only as good as the people we trusted to keep them. When our way of life was threatened, we fought, hard. When the choice came down to submitting to politically correct ninnies or survival and victory, Americans for the most part chose the latter. There was no room for weak-kneed career politicians nor milquetoast military bureaucrats. Our common purpose was clear and our conviction strong.

But after years of a war that was growing unpopular and brewing fears of economic ruin, cultural decay, and political unrest the hope that President Obama promised never materialized. His lasting legacy will be that of ushering in an era of shame and apology for American strength. He and the Democrats sold our liberty and exceptionalism for good favor in the eyes of globalists and political elites. Working-class Americans stopped being thought of by the political class as the backbone of an industrial and innovative powerhouse that was the envy of the world. They were an unenlightened underclass to be put up with at best and eliminated at worst. Now the political and cultural chasm widens each day into an impassable abyss, and Reagan’s words ring with an ominous tone. The young generations are coming of age with a feeling of American disgrace that leads to an unsustainable path. It is inclusivity at the cost of individuality; honor in victimhood over honor in personal responsibility; redefining our nation by the sins of our founders, not the circumstances they overcame.

And we have no leaders to stand up for the American values that are being trampled to death under the jackboot of an irrational mob. Politicians are conforming to a path of least resistance. The easy thing is to point a finger at some deeply ingrained wrong that gives groups of people both permission to be perpetual victims and to keep them segregated by identity politics. We witnessed too long our political leaders in both parties be more concerned with petty infighting and posturing for self-serving interests than to listen to the people they serve and act accordingly.

The hard thing is to look at the devastation in cities caused by a combination of arbitrary lockdown rules and allowing mobs of rioters to rove the streets. We are desperate for leaders who are willing to risk political slings and arrows to stand strong against the utterly destructive wave of chaos drowning whatever common sense, decency, and moral fortitude remain. If Republicans won’t defend Roosevelt, Lincoln, or Jefferson from being slandered, degraded, and eventually erased, how can we expect them to defend us? They keep proving their unending devotion to retaining their own political power, citizens, and history be damned.

Will 9/11 be the last of these momentous events that led to a better America, defined by not by conquest, or fear, or apology – but liberty, morality, and virtue? Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” This implies we are moving slowly, but steadily toward a more just society. But judging by his actions during the Civil Rights era, it takes more than just being a bystander to fate. We must be active in bending the arc by engaging and defeating an anti-American mob that would lay claim to its own historical truth. It prefers we erase everything deemed problematic, restarting our nation at woke Year Zero.

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous words were a paraphrase of a sermon by abolitionist minister Theodore Parker in 1853. Parker said, “I do not pretend to understand the moral universe. The arc is a long one. My eye reaches but little ways. I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by experience of sight. I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends toward justice.” By this, we have to ensure an arc of history towards justice – a curve that started as a vision at America’s founding, bent continually towards a more perfect Union through civil war, world wars, and social unrest. By sitting idle as the progressive left marched to break our curve by destroying our ideals, we risk losing our country.

Do we stand on the accomplishments of our past leaders despite their flaws and moral shortfalls? Do we persist because of our yearning for that piece of their vision, guiding us to always be better? Or do we cede our future to a generational mentality that thinks grace cannot overcome our sins and our history is unbearably offensive that we must reimagine our nation as one not worthy of a history at all?

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  1. David Foster Member
    David Foster Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    What I saw is that immediately after 9/11, the overt expression of anti-American sentiments became much louder and more overt. And this was echoed by left-influenced organizations such as public schools, some of which banned the display of the American flag as ‘provocative’ or ‘non-inclusive’.

    • #1
    • July 1, 2020, at 9:00 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  2. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker

    David Foster (View Comment):

    What I saw is that immediately after 9/11, the overt expression of anti-American sentiments became much louder and more overt. And this was echoed by left-influenced organizations such as public schools, some of which banned the display of the American flag as ‘provocative’ or ‘non-inclusive’.

    I agree with you. I think we had enough collective confidence in America’s forthrightness that we were able to fight back before it became overtly political. The apologies began when GW made overtures to leftist who claimed the racism card against Muslims-despite there really being no mass persecution of Muslims here. Obama just turned that up to a ten on the apology tour. If 9/11 happened today, god forbid, I have serious doubts we could muster enough political courage to defend ourselves.

    • #2
    • July 1, 2020, at 9:12 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  3. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    David Foster (View Comment):

    What I saw is that immediately after 9/11, the overt expression of anti-American sentiments became much louder and more overt. And this was echoed by left-influenced organizations such as public schools, some of which banned the display of the American flag as ‘provocative’ or ‘non-inclusive’.

    I do recall this as well, but I also recall that it was rejected by a large majority of Americans. Evan Sayet was one of those, who converted to conservatism as a result. He calls himself a “9/13 Republican.” Here’s an article about it, which includes:

    “What surprised me, what rocked my world, is what I metaphorically call 9/12. That’s the days, the weeks, the months and now the years after 9/11 and my liberal friends’ response to it,” Sayet told The Daily Caller’s Ginni Thomas.

    “Here’s the most obvious case of good versus evil of my lifetime — perhaps the only case of good versus evil that hit anywhere close to home — and not only were the liberals on the side of the terrorists, but they were engaging in the most horrible slanders against the victims.”

    I’m hopeful that we’re going to see the same thing as a result of the current Wokeist unrest and riots.

    I’m seeing a few signs of it. Eric Weinstein, Bret Weinstein, and Heather Heying (Bret’s wife) are all flabbergasted by the actions of BLM and the Wokeist mobs. They are not yet ready to move to conservatism, and perhaps they won’t. They are utterly fed up with the Democrats.

    • #3
    • July 1, 2020, at 10:00 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  4. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    David Foster (View Comment):

    What I saw is that immediately after 9/11, the overt expression of anti-American sentiments became much louder and more overt. And this was echoed by left-influenced organizations such as public schools, some of which banned the display of the American flag as ‘provocative’ or ‘non-inclusive’.

    I do recall this as well, but I also recall that it was rejected by a large majority of Americans. Evan Sayet was one of those, who converted to conservatism as a result. He calls himself a “9/13 Republican.” Here’s an article about it, which includes:

    “What surprised me, what rocked my world, is what I metaphorically call 9/12. That’s the days, the weeks, the months and now the years after 9/11 and my liberal friends’ response to it,” Sayet told The Daily Caller’s Ginni Thomas.

    “Here’s the most obvious case of good versus evil of my lifetime — perhaps the only case of good versus evil that hit anywhere close to home — and not only were the liberals on the side of the terrorists, but they were engaging in the most horrible slanders against the victims.”

    I’m hopeful that we’re going to see the same thing as a result of the current Wokeist unrest and riots.

    I’m seeing a few signs of it. Eric Weinstein, Bret Weinstein, and Heather Heying (Bret’s wife) are all flabbergasted by the actions of BLM and the Wokeist mobs. They are not yet ready to move to conservatism, and perhaps they won’t. They are utterly fed up with the Democrats.

    I think it may have something to do with hijacking a just cause. When the officers involved in George Floyd’s killing were arrested & charged, riots ensued anyway. And worse, the government was complicit in the violence. Then they came for Confederate monuments, then Columbus, Jefferson, Roosevelt…The mob is insatiable and the original goal was devoured by tyrants and political opportunists. 

    • #4
    • July 1, 2020, at 10:06 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  5. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Jenna, this is a great post.

    I’m not as optimistic as you about history moving towards justice. Historically, it’s been quite a mixed bag. It was European civilization that gave us the worst horrors of the 20th Century, Nazism and Communism. These terrible ideologies were adopted by non-European countries too, like Imperial Japan and Communist China. But they were made in Europe.

    The New Testament teaches that things are going to get much worse before the end, not better. I have no idea if we are on the verge of the End Times, or if there are thousands of years to go.

    The current Wokeist and BLM violence has been a long time coming, and the underlying anti-American narrative has been growing for a long time, too. It’s a complicated situation. It is true that by almost every measure, black Americans have many more problems than white Americans, statistically speaking. The Wokeist narrative blames this entirely on racism, which I think is false. Anti-black racism may be a small contributing factor, in my estimation, but pro-black (and anti-white) racism is also widespread.

    Personally, I think that the main source of the problems faced by many black Americans is bad behavior on the part of black Americans, most notably in the form of: (1) a much higher level of crime, (2) a much higher level of illegitimacy and fatherless children, (3) a culture that suppresses education and achievement as signs of “acting white,” and (4) an attitude called “the soft bigotry of low expectations” that does not hold individual black people accountable for their own actions.

    The incidence of these problems are statistical averages. Not every black American has these problems, and many white (and other) Americans have the same problems. The challenge is that dysfunction is more heavily concentrated among blacks.

    I think that honest discussions of these problems is suppressed, and has been suppressed since the 1980s (if not earlier). As a result, the overwhelming explanation presented in the media and academia is systemic racism, which I think is a false narrative.

    My hope is that we are witnessing the final death-throes of this ideology, which is becoming hysterical in its claims as the plausibility of its arguments has been undermined.

    • #5
    • July 1, 2020, at 10:31 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  6. Dantès Member

    Thanks Jenna,

    The end is beautifully written. The thoughtful Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote often of the importance of living with grace. Eventually the fight will be one for survival. Until then, Happy Fourth!

    • #6
    • July 1, 2020, at 11:10 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  7. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    I think that honest discussions of these problems is suppressed, and has been suppressed since the 1980s (if not earlier). As a result, the overwhelming explanation presented in the media and academia is systemic racism, which I think is a false narrative.

    There was a change, and I think it was a bit after your time frame, when progressives changed strategies from directly challenging the merits of traditional values head-on (because they couldn’t) and worked instead to undermine Americans who believed in them by created a victim class while simultaneously making them dependent on govt welfare. I think it transcends race, but because it’s such an obvious narrative to perpetuate based in our history, it was a useful tool in the culture wars. And it’s doubly effective because average Americans truly want to right moral wrongs, the left took advantage of this, and that the Right doesn’t fight back with the same vitriol as the Left. But I also think there’s an element of existentialism here that we are still products of our decisions- and here is an opportunity to choose the direction of our country by the decisions we do, and don’t make.

    Thank you for the thoughtful conversation. I appreciate your feedback-as always!

    • #7
    • July 1, 2020, at 11:59 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  8. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker

    ElGuapo (View Comment):
    I think that honest discussions of these problems is suppressed, and has been suppressed since the 1980s (if not earlier). As a result, the overwhelming explanation presented in the media and academia is systemic racism, which I think is a false narrative.

    Happy Independence Day to you, too. I hope there’s fireworks a plenty for you!

    • #8
    • July 1, 2020, at 12:01 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  9. Unsk Member

    Great Post Jenna. 

    “It prefers we erase everything deemed problematic, restarting our nation at woke Year Zero.”

    As I have written before I believe there is actually purposeful, systemic racism in our government, but it comes not from those sectors of the society the woke mob wants to accuse. I believe that the Frankfurt School inspired Commie/Progressives have long wanted to destroy the economic viability of the working class and as much of the middle class as much as possible, knowing full well that minorities would be hurt far the most, to bring them to a state of utter and desperate despair where they will in desperation support the utopian promises to grant them a socialist paradise here on earth made by the Progressives if only we let these Progressives take total control of our government. 

    So as a consequence if we are going to erase everything deemed problematic, I think we should start erasing with the Nihilistic Progressives who done their best to bring down our economy, our Republic and the middle and working classes. 

    • #9
    • July 1, 2020, at 1:26 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  10. Nerina Bellinger Member

    @Jenna – another great post. I envy your clear thinking and articulate writing. Well done!

    • #10
    • July 2, 2020, at 7:01 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  11. Jon1979 Lincoln

    David Foster (View Comment):

    What I saw is that immediately after 9/11, the overt expression of anti-American sentiments became much louder and more overt. And this was echoed by left-influenced organizations such as public schools, some of which banned the display of the American flag as ‘provocative’ or ‘non-inclusive’.

    Remember, you have to be in your mid-20s to have any real-time memory of 9/11. For anyone under the age of 24-25, it’s simply history, and many of them have learned it through the prism of the Howard Zinn-style of playing up all the flaws of American history. If Jeremiah Wright came to them and delivered his “Chickens Come Home to Roost” sermon, they’d nod along in total support.

    So you have the people who don’t know any better, but you also have those who do know better, but have no problem attempting to weaponize the hatred as part of their own efforts to get the Democrats back into power this November. They see the anger on the far left and want to channel that into votes in 2020, really without caring what the future after-effects might be (which isn’t new for the Democrats — many of JFK’s people who helped justify the initial escalation in Vietnam were by 1968 among the most vocal opponents within the intellectual class, not for any principled reason, but because the war was now tied to LBJ, and the Kennedy people saw opposing it as the best way to channal the passion of the left toward RFK and restore Camelot to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Strategic alliances with radicals as a path to power has over a half-century of back history in the modern political era).

    • #11
    • July 2, 2020, at 12:04 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  12. Hang On Member
    Hang On Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    “Will 9/11 be the last of these momentous events that led to a better America, defined by not by conquest, or fear, or apology – but liberty, morality, and virtue? “

    I would assert that 9/11 was no such thing. I would assert that 9/11 was a huge cause of fear that caused us to do enormous amount of harm to ourselves. It was easy to take advantage of this fear during the pandemic. 

    The response to 9/11 was truly remarkable in how awful it was. The Department of Homeland Security, the ridiculous measures to board a plane, the pronouncements from the Bush administration (“Islam is a religion of peace”, David Frum’s remarkable line that Bush delivered of “axis of evil” — David Frum has a lot to answer for not least for that, “you’re for us or against us” rhetoric), the FISA courts that are to be used for political spying and sabotage, the wars one of which is still ongoing, the waste of human lives (our own and Iraqis and Afghans and for what?), and the waste of trillions of dollars and for what? This is what I can think off the top of my head. No doubt, there are more instances of how idiotic our response was and born of fear and arrogance. 

    The one step we could have taken – immigration reform – with the recognition that Islam and our own civilization are and have been enemies since the invention of Islam seems to have never crossed the minds of our clueless and non- if not anti-religious elites. These elites seem not to recognize that even though our civilization may have lost its desire to practice religion, that religion still underlies our civilization. Bush and his cohort may be religious, but they have zero sense of history. They have simply bought into the PC feel-good nonsense of the “Coexistence” bumper stickers. 

    • #12
    • July 2, 2020, at 12:47 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  13. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    David Foster (View Comment):

    What I saw is that immediately after 9/11, the overt expression of anti-American sentiments became much louder and more overt. And this was echoed by left-influenced organizations such as public schools, some of which banned the display of the American flag as ‘provocative’ or ‘non-inclusive’.

    I saw that too.

    • #13
    • July 2, 2020, at 5:15 PM PDT
    • Like
  14. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker

     

    Hang On (View Comment):

    “Will 9/11 be the last of these momentous events that led to a better America, defined by not by conquest, or fear, or apology – but liberty, morality, and virtue? “

    I would assert that 9/11 was no such thing. I would assert that 9/11 was a huge cause of fear that caused us to do enormous amount of harm to ourselves. It was easy to take advantage of this fear during the pandemic.

    The response to 9/11 was truly remarkable in how awful it was. The Department of Homeland Security, the ridiculous measures to board a plane, the pronouncements from the Bush administration (“Islam is a religion of peace”, David Frum’s remarkable line that Bush delivered of “axis of evil” — David Frum has a lot to answer for not least for that, “you’re for us or against us” rhetoric), the FISA courts that are to be used for political spying and sabotage, the wars one of which is still ongoing, the waste of human lives (our own and Iraqis and Afghans and for what?), and the waste of trillions of dollars and for what? This is what I can think off the top of my head. No doubt, there are more instances of how idiotic our response was and born of fear and arrogance.

    The one step we could have taken – immigration reform – with the recognition that Islam and our own civilization are and have been enemies since the invention of Islam seems to have never crossed the minds of our clueless and non- if not anti-religious elites. These elites seem not to recognize that even though our civilization may have lost its desire to practice religion, that religion still underlies our civilization. Bush and his cohort may be religious, but they have zero sense of history. They have simply bought into the PC feel-good nonsense of the “Coexistence” bumper stickers.

    I think you’re right on the political response to 9/11. And we’re living in an era in which everyone is hyper-political, so take this as you will…but in the immediate aftermath (which is what I was referring to) was a strong, unified strike. Which we did and most people supported. What came next – the creation of more govt bureaucracy and PC madness, endless apologies for patriotism – became the norm that young adults now grew up in then. The chaos of today is the reverse of what we did after the terror attacks. Our internal battles are being met with weakness, lack of leadership, social justice posturing and political correctness run amok. We need a strong, united, complete response from leaders who will defend our history and American heritage from mobs out for never-satisfied destruction.

    • #14
    • July 2, 2020, at 9:42 PM PDT
    • Like
  15. Flicker Coolidge

    JennaStocker (View Comment):

    I think you’re right on the political response to 9/11. And we’re living in an era in which everyone is hyper-political, so take this as you will…but in the immediate aftermath (which is what I was referring to) was a strong, unified strike. Which we did and most people supported. What came next – the creation of more govt bureaucracy and PC madness, endless apologies for patriotism – became the norm that young adults now grew up in then. The chaos of today is the reverse of what we did after the terror attacks. Our internal battles are being met with weakness, lack of leadership, social justice posturing and political correctness run amok. We need a strong, united, complete response from leaders who will defend our history and American heritage from mobs out for never-satisfied destruction.

    Some hours after the towers went down, there were grainy night images of a heated battle in Afghanistan. I naively thought there was a chance that in the ensuing hours we had figured out who did it, and engaged in a massive punitive counter attack. Boy was I living in an alternate world.

    Instead, nearly two decades later we’re still wandering around Afghanistan trying to make things right. And in the intervening years mohammedans have come to be elected to high positions including in the federal government who are now leading and cheering the anti-fa and BLM rioting and anarchy and calling for the dissolution of America.

    It’s either utter incompetence or smoldering treason, or both.

    [There never was a good and full explanation of what went on in Kabul, I think it was. Just a coincidence? Does anyone actually know?]

    • #15
    • July 2, 2020, at 10:10 PM PDT
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    • This comment has been edited.
  16. philo Member

    JennaStocker: The Space Between 9/11 and Year Zero … There haven’t been straight lines drawn between 9/11 and the current cultural, social, and political chaos that is occurring in America now. 

    I think it is important to note the very strong inflection point in these lines that occurred about six nanoseconds after the U.S. Senate passed Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002. At this point the Democrat Party as a whole…and led by the ambitious group of potential presidential candidates from the Senate…executed a coordinated pivot to begin undermining the President and the activity they had just authorized with their cynical vote.

    JennaStocker: When our way of life was threatened, we fought, hard. When the choice came down to submitting to politically correct ninnies or survival and victory, Americans for the most part chose the latter. There was no room for weak-kneed career politicians nor milquetoast military bureaucrats. Our common purpose was clear and our conviction strong.

    While that maneuver described above didn’t quite pay off as planned with a President Kerry in 2005, the lines do continue rather straight through a Speaker Pelosi (2007) and then the election of a pseudo American pseudo-man to the presidency who very conspicuously refused to even use the word victory when referring to his plans for the engagements of our military personnel in the middle east. [For the record, he later also delivered billions in cash to the front door of the largest state sponsor of terrorism around the world…knowing full well that those funds would be used against Americans (i.e. to kill and maim) and American interests…to the great silence (if not overt encouragement) of his party and supporters (and at least one very stupid Republican Senator….Hi Bob) Many of those same people today continue their cynical political games regarding unsubstantiated reports of the current President not acting on unsubstantiated reports of Russians merely offering to provide such funding. But I digress.]

    • #16
    • July 3, 2020, at 6:05 AM PDT
    • Like
  17. kedavis Member

    A great choice for Post Of The Week, perhaps the best ever so far. It’s particularly gratifying to see it appear in the “sidebar” on the very same day, not a week or more later as has been the pattern.

    I would very much like to hear @jennastocker on the “Flagship” podcast, here we have evidence that her intellect crushes that of Shermichael Singleton “every day of the week, and twice on Sunday.”

    • #17
    • July 10, 2020, at 8:38 PM PDT
    • 2 likes