3 thoughts on “You Had to Be There

  1. Maha,
    I’ve written about this before here, but I think it’s worth talking about again.

    I grew up and lived in, and around, NYC for 41 of my 48 years. Every day I lived there, I knew there was a possibility of mass death. When I was younger, it was Soviet or Chinese nukes coming from the sky like a “hard rain’s ’bout to fall.”

    In the 80’s and 90’s, it was terrorism. I was in those towers many, many times. And each time I was there, I knew the building I was in was a potential target (my cousin had to climb down 90-something flights in the first attack in ’93).

    Everywhere you go in NYC is a potential target. Since 2003, I live in Fayetteville, NC – near Fort Bragg. It was a target, too. The Soviet’s and Chinese had this as one of their primary target’s. But people never thought about it much down here..

    As hard as the fall of the tower’s was for me, my family and friend’s, it may have been harder on suburban and rural American’s. People who live in big cities always knew that the cities they lived in might be targets. People who live in Moscow, London, Paris, Bombay, Peking, etc., know that feeling, too!

    The other’s, who live in rural and suburban area’s, never experienced knowing what it feel like to be a target. “Who’s going to target that Flea Market in Indiana near me, or the Ice-skating Rink around the corner? They’re going to go to bigger places!” That’s why, when Lakoff talks about the fact that the hit’s were like an individual being hit, it really affected them. I could imagine something like that would.

    The Twin Tower’s, the Statue of Liberty, The Empire State Building, Grand Central Station, the Brooklyn or George Washington Bridge’s, the tunnel’s, Yankee Stadium, etc. These were all places that we New Yorker’s always knew might be hit. We were mentally prepared. It was always in the back of our heads that we might be there when the “big one happened.” We were shocked and stunned and horrified when it did, yes; but still mentally prepared. Every person who went into those building’s that morning knew, “Today might be the day.” They were prepared, as much as anyone could be…

    The rest of the country wasn’t. If you live in a rural or suburban area, you don’t think of yourself as target’s. Why would you and yours be target’s? And when they saw the Twin Tower’s go down, their innocence was lost. They felt that visceral hit. They didn’t understand ‘life as a target.’ Those tower’s stood for our country; how could that happen? Those of us from big cities never had that innocence. We always knew we could be target’s.

    I now think that that’s what the Rove and the other Bush people realized. Something that they could exploit. That NYC, DC, Chicago, LA, and other big cities had proven all along. People in large cities tend to be progressive, liberal, and tolerant of other’s, as a whole – because we all have to live near one another. People in rural and suburban area’s can be insular. So, Rove, Bush and Cheney out went to frighten them. Those in the large cities couldn’t be frightened. They always knew it could happen. They kept voting for Democrat’s. Ahh, but the others could be frightened into voting for “Daddy” after they felt that visceral punch to the gut. And “Daddy” = Bush. It didn’t happen to them, but they were scared. They had no frame of reference.

    This was what won the Republican’s the elections in ’02 and ’04. This, Diebold and voter registration shenanigan’s.

  2. On the subject of how 9/11 imagery impacts right-wingers, I am sure someone, somewhere, must have written about it in Freudian terms as the coming true of their worst fear: castration. The two towers — pillars of capitalism, right? — as phallic symbols, etc.

    I don’t recall actually seeing this idea in print anywhere, though.

  3. You had to be there for the ’88 election.
    I’ve always had a soft spot for Lowell Weicker. Ever since his star-turns at the Watergate hearings. He was a liberal and progressive Republican in the Nelson Rockefeller mode. Jesus, remember when that was possible? I”m getting real old….
    Joe slimed him, over and over and won the election. I’d love for him to lose to Lamont, a straight-shooter. Joe’s slime needs to be thrown back at him.
    Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I despise Joe that much. It’s that I think that Lamont is the much better candidate for what America should stand for and what it needs. Joe is so “Status Quo.” Hey, that might work! “Status Quo = Status JOE!!! If you’re happy with the Status Quo, then vote for Status Joe!”
    “Joe” to Hell, Joe! “Joe” to HELL!!!

Comments are closed.