Thursday, December 11, 2008
A Requiem for the Ramp at "Ground Zero"
New York City, New York--It was an exquisite ramp, a 460 foot-long one that ferried construction and recovery workers into the gaping 80-foot-deep chasm that used to be the foundation of the World Trade Center, but its time had come.
It was a sad day when they made the announcement on December 10, 2008: No more photo-ops, no press junkets, and no more political careers would be built across its span and on the bones and the ashes of the victims whom they were inhaling on their visits. George W. Bush, the Nazi Pope, President-elect Barack Obama--just about all the somebodies came out of the woodwork to be photographed visiting ground zero.
The end of the Bush II era is the filling of this grave and in the construction of a new building complex there. The Bush II administration built two illegal wars, Guantanamo, illegal rendition, illegal domestic surveillance of the American people, torture, and a lawless chaos in government at home that could become a fully-functioning police state. Oh yes, and they were instrumental in wrecking the economy, yet somehow we're still not calling for impeachment in Congress, it's shameful.
The mythology behind 9/11 can no longer be milked as it was in the immediate aftermath of the event, and future attacks are probably coming from the imbecilic overreactions that followed the September 11 attacks. Reacting the same way--with military force--will continue to prove disastrous. The best way to prevent terrorism is to stop engaging in it abroad militarily. If President-elect Obama thinks he's going to use 9/11 in the same way as George W. Bush, he'd better think twice.
The Cult of the Dead Soldier has morphed into the Cult of the Dead Terrorist Victim (never mind the Cult of the Dead Cop). That's a very risky iconography to be toying with, deifying the dead to use as a rallying cry for war. Watching that ramp go is a good thing, its time had come.
The Bush II administration will leave behind no triumphal arches, no libraries but a presidential one to hide his sins a little longer, no parks through public works, no cleaner air or water. While they ruled, all they had to offer was the grave, a hole in the ground in Manhattan. All the warning signs were there. No one heeded them, revanchism (and the ability to profit from it) won out. So mote it be.