It’s our 16th anniversary today.
You’re probably reading this letter, expecting to find one of five-squintillion missives about where people were on that momentous day. What they were doing when they heard the news, or even looked up and saw in the Manhattan skyline on their way to work at the World Trade Center that day? You’ll read reminder after reminder of your influence on our day to day lives, and how things have never ever been the same since you came into them. We’ll be all told how important it is to “never forget” you, and you know it seems like they are bound and determined not to let any of us “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” you out of our brains. So I’m sad to say that I’m left with no other option.
I’m breaking up with you, 9/11.
Please, don’t misunderstand. I’ll never forget the thousands of innocent lives that were lost so uselessly that day. I’ll never forget the images of selfless human beings rushing into the towers, regardless of their own fate, to try and rescue as many people as possible. There were in fact so many life lessons that I was either taught that day, or that I have come to learn in the year 13 years since, that are not the cliché, bumper-sticker bullshit that you have been reduced to. So, this break-up isn’t from any of that; it’s from your value as a cultural artifice of paranoia, blind and stupid nationalism, and tragic hypocrisy that I’m breaking up with.
I’m leaving you because I’m thinking that you’ll never stop being used as cheap and obvious propaganda. You’re going to be like The Nazis one day, you know. People will just invoke you as something other than a passé and irrelevant warning against something that we cannot bomb or kill our way to halting. Terrorism is a product of many factors, but clearly swinging a blind fist connected to a samurai sword at the end of it in a room full of bad guys surrounded by orphans is not the most effective way of containing, reducing, or eliminating its potential threat, nor can they really do anything to threaten it on an existential level.
I’m dumping you, 9/11, because you already fundamentally fucked things up for my life in the 20’s and gave my government a dangerously large, blank check with wish to purchase high-powered, secret legal counsel that have helped craft sneaky detours around the Constitution. And this is thanks to the Legislative Branch rolling over, writing laws that give the Executive sweeping powers and enable the intelligence and military agencies within the government to pretty much operate with zero oversight.
That oversight, in case you are wondering, is supposed to be performed by Congress on the citizens’ behalf. How very kind of them to abdicate that responsibility in the name of “national security.” But let’s face it, 9/11, you were the poster child for the War on Terror. It’s not your fault. The bastards who did that to you are vile, cruel, war mongering, mendacious, untrustworthy cunts of the highest order. History will pitch them right into the same bin of assorted rapscallions of particularly evil repute as Napoleon and Rasputin. They are historically evil, and that is not to be denied, nor is it in any way something I blame you for.
But I gotta get away, man. I really, really do. It’s just too much. You’re too much.
I’m tired of the goddamned flag lapel pins. Nationalism is not a trait humanity needs to survive, and frankly you’re the one who brought about that whole craze. It was understandable for a time, but at this point it’s become just another reminder of the trillions of dollars wasted and the thousands more lives that were cut short needlessly than anything else. And that’s really the heart of this break-up letter, 9/11.
Whether your fault or not, you were the reason we were given for going into Afghanistan. It made sense, because the man who made you happen was in there, or at least near there, and were all understandably a little emotionally raw. But then while we were still hunting that fucker down, you were again dragged out into the public square and used as duplicitous and simply false justification for not only taking our eye off the ball when Bin Laden had just smacked one over our heads into the gap in right-center, but to just dumping so much of our collective worth and value into a goddamned garbage incinerator.
There literally are not enough words in any language to properly frame just how terrible the Iraq War was and will be forever. Maybe a ton of us can glop on a thick coat of national pride and “these colors don’t run” over our acknowledgment of just how bad the war was, but I can’t anymore. I’ve done the whole, “calm, reflective inner-searching” over our anniversary and your meaning in my life. The first couple anniversaries were definitely like that, and I think with good reason. Now, though, I’m half surprised we haven’t started seeing “9/11 Remembrance Party” merchandise at Party City.
And you know what? I’d be totally stoked if that’s eventually what you became. After all, let’s stop messing around and remember that we celebrate Independence Day because that was the day we sent a letter to the British government telling it to go fuck itself…royally. And that the result of that letter was a stern “fuck you” in reply, and that the quarrel between our two countries wasn’t settled over a meal and drinks. It was settled with cannons, muskets and bayonets. The Fourth of July is a big ol’ firework spectacular extravaganza that we only get to have because a bunch of people killed a bunch of other people over a taxation dispute (among other things, you finger-wagging smarmy historian types you!).
9/11, I would love for you to follow-suit with the Fourth. I mean, it’s not like you hear Congress types getting up on the floor and demand we do something about the Lobster Backs anymore. The Gentleman from the Great State of Kentucky does not rise to demand that we fund our Navy to protect ourselves against the threat of British invasion. I mean, kooky Tea Party types will invoke those days in protest of taxes, but they’re kooky Tea Party types, so enough said, really. But you’re not a cliché capitalist distillation of bloodshed and violence, and you’re not a passé collection of bumper sticker patriotism one-liners yet, and that’s why I have to dump you.