Why I Hate Righties

There’s some chatter about this CBS story, in which the reporter asks New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin about the slowness of Katrina cleanup. The Mayor replies, “That’s alright. You guys in New York can’t get a hole in the ground fixed and it’s five years later. So let’s be fair.”

Yeah, it was a dumb remark, especially since (as I blogged here) comparing Katrina to 9/11 is comparing apples to oranges.

But that’s not what pissed me off this morning. What pissed me off was what this rightie said (via Daou Report):

What an idiot.

Then again, he’s treating Ground Zero with the same respect the rest of the Left does. It ain’t nothing but a hole in the ground to them.

I’d like this jerk to come to New York City and tell the solid majority of lefties who live here that Ground Zero “ain’t nothing but a hole in the ground to them.” I’m sure he’d get some interesting feedback.

I wrote awhile back about 9/11 being an entirely different experience for eyewitnesses and survivors than it was for people who only watched on television. And if you haven’t read John Homans brilliant essay in New York magazine, “The Long Funeral,” be sure to do so. Homans writes,

New Yorkers tended to want to keep 9/11 (“it happened to us”) for their own, but no one believed that could happen. The grief culture this country has lived in for the past five years began in those spontaneous shrines, but it didn’t end there. Before the week was out, many different interests had moved in to stake their claims on its meaning.

Among those “interests” are righties like the jerk quoted above, who assume Ground Zero belongs exclusively to them. As James Wolcott wrote,

I’m amused, amazed, and annoyed that bloggers thousands of miles away from the actual death and destruction chide the rest of us for “not getting it” and wanting to bury our heads in the sandtrap when, as Sir Lancelot notes, New Yorkers themselves have a saner, wider, calmer perspective as the years pass. And unlike so many of the 101st Fighting Keyboarders, New Yorkers don’t have the luxury of or inclination to demonize Arabs and Muslims and hat-tip Michelle Malkin or run sceered every time a couple of Them materialize in our visual field. Every time we step into a cab or enter a store, there’s a good chance that the driver or manager may be Pakistani or Iranian or Iraqi or Palestinian and they don’t represent the Other, they’re fellow New Yorkers, we all have get on each nerves here as best we can, and if we wanted to hang around nothing but white people concerned about their car insurance and those noisy skateboarders who have no respect for private property we never would have moved here in the first place.

“Sir Lancelot” is Lance Mannion, whose blog post on righties and fear is a must-read. Be sure to catch the conclusion.

Back to Homans, and why the Right’s alleged “respect” for Ground Zero is a sham.

Bush and his administration quickly swooped down to scoop up the largest part of the 9/11 legacy. The justified fear and rage and woundedness and sense of victimhood infantilized our political culture. The daddy state was born, with attendant sky-high approval ratings. And for many, the scale of the provocation seemed to demand similarly spectacular responses—a specious tactical argument, based as it was on the emotional power of 9/11, rather than any rearrangement of strategic realities.

Of course, the marriage of the ultimate baby-down-a-well media spectacle with good old American foreign-policy adventurism was brokered by Karl Rove, who decreed that George Bush would become a war president, indefinitely.

The final military takeover of Manhattan was the Republican convention in August of 2004, with nary an unscripted moment. In the convention’s terms, New York was less a place than a stage set for a sort of 9/11 puppet show.

The memory of 9/11 continues to stoke a weepy sense of American victimhood, and victimhood, as used by both left and right, is a powerful political force. As the dog whisperer can tell you, strength and woundedness together are a dangerous combination. Now, 9/11 has allowed American victim politics to be writ larger than ever, across the globe. When someone from Tulsa, for example, says, “It’s important to remember 9/11 every day,” what he means is, “We were attacked, we are the aggrieved victims, we are justified.” But if we were victims then, we are less so now. This distorted sense of American weakness is weirdly mirrored in the woundedness and shame that motivate our adversaries. In our current tragicomedy of Daddy-knows-best, it’s a national neurosis, a perpetual childhood.

“The country has made a mess of our grieving,” Homans concludes. Exactly.

Homans also describes the squabbling over what to do with the now-vacant space in lower Manhattan. The early plans were all either ugly, or too grandiose, or too plain, and even among the victims’ families there is no consensus about what should be done to memorialize September 11. Any idea anyone comes up with is quickly vetoed by someone else. And the fact is that no physical memorial could do justice to what September 11 became to the nation even before the dust had settled.

For that reason I wish we could put aside all plans and leave the site alone for another five years, or at least until such time that Washington politicians have stopped using September 11 as a one-size-fits-all rationalization for whatever they want to do. By then our perspective will have shrunk down to a manageable size.

Update: Avedon has another reason to hate righties — see her comments on this example of stupidity.

11 thoughts on “Why I Hate Righties

  1. As someone who is a long way from NYC and D.C. for that matter, I am constantly amazed at both the fear and hatred of my more conservative friends about 9/11. Unless and until muslim terrorists actually take the DHS’s list of potential terrorist targets in the hinterlands seriously, my conservative friends and I have a much better chance of being struck by lightening than being the victim of muslim terrorism–as opposed to the homegrown terrorists of northern European ancestry. Understandably as an American citizen, I certainly felt a desire to see my government levy retribution on those responsible ie Bin Laden and henchmen, but I can not get too exercised about muslim protests about America around the globe. I certainly do not nearly wet my pants if I am with someone who appears to be of middle eastern ancestry like some of the right wingers I know, nor do I suggest using nuclear weapons against countries that do not stamp out radical islamic schools. I think that NYC residents do have the right to lead the continued national response to 9/11, and that those of us in the rest of the country whatever our political persuasion should shut up because we really do not have much skin in the game.

  2. Isn’t it possible that Mayor Nagin’s off-the-cuff remark was about the “Big Dig,” in Boston, not New York? I suspect that’s what he meant.

  3. As a New Yorker, your words and the words of others from the Big Apple more clearly articulate what the rest of us only vaguely feel. The emotional hijacking of 9/11 was abominable – and that’s the best I can say about it, as it doesn’t impress my consciousness in quite the same way..

    Agree with you that more time needs to pass before Ground Zero is given the respect it’s due, at least until after the carpetbaggers decide they can’t milk anything more out of it.

    The VietNam war memorial was conceived in 1979 and dedicated in 1982, and that’s probably the proper time frame after Ground Zero is given a psychic rest. The tone of the VietNam memorial is one of the elements I’d like to propose for whatever is built at Ground Zero, for whatever my vote is worth, because 9/11, for better or worse, has come to embody so much more than just the events of September 11, 2001.

    I like to stick it to righties. When they were down on the French, I loaded up on French wine. After 9/11, my right wing coworker peed his pants and cancelled a dental appointment with his Middle Eastern dentist. I, on the other hand, purposely went to a Persian restaurant and had some great shishkabob. His world shrunk and mine expanded. And so it goes.

    The battle of words and ideas with these weenies on the right is one thing, but actions, even dumb consumer ones are fun and a way to laugh and be bold in the face of their chronic fear.

  4. Maha, I’m surprised to hear you say that you hate righties – I know you’ve written previously about liberal anger at injustice vs. conservative hatred directed at people. I’m sure you just wanted a snappy headline rather than really expressing hatred. I don’t hate anybody – if only for the selfish reason that hatred is a drain of psychic energy. It doesn’t affect the object of your hatred (unless you act on it), it just raises your blood pressure. Sure, I sometimes despair at righty stupidity and I’m angry at what the Bullsh regime is doing – but righteous anger can be a good thing if it brings about change for the better.

  5. As a New Yorker, I could not agree more with Moonbat. I am angered by the hijacking of this tragedy by the righties.

    We don’t live in fear or freak out everytime we run into someone of Middle Eastern or South Asian descent. We go about our lives and do not lose sleep about the Egyptian shop-keeper across the street, or the Pakistani doctors in the nearest hospital, or the Algerians who own the local French Bistro. They are New Yorkers, just like we are.

    Timothy McVeigh was a lily-white American war veteran who went on to kill hundreds of people in Oklahoma. Should we be afraid every time we run into a lily-white American war veteran?

    Whatever happens with Ground Zero is none of the business of the righties of the heartland. They should all shut the fuck up!

  6. I don’t I am married to one, who, in 2004, could no longer abide
    Bushie. Voted almost a straight Demo ticket — Bless his heart!
    Guess 25 years with this Lib made a difference (doubt it — think the incompetency of the Bushies did it!).

    Know 9/11 was far worse for the people who actually live in NYC. But must say, my family is “BIG” on Christmas. We just
    couldn’t get “with it” in 2001. It was horrible for every American.

    Would love for it to take a lot longer to rebuild. But, Righties are
    in control. That is one of the most valuable pieces if property in
    the world. And — you better believe some bunch of Righties are
    gonna make a bundle on rebuilding there. Would like to be wrong,
    but doubt it!

  7. Well, you know that it has long been my contention that the farther removed from a tragedy you are, the less tangible it is. This is why I think some of these righties, or people who have never been to New York, or what have you, are more terrified of terrorism than New Yorkers are. I think also that New Yorkers have a different perspective because we have to live with it. I have to walk through a security checkpoint to get to my office every day. There are bag searches on the subway and at every landmark, including the public library. The 6 train was shut down for a while one day last week because a passenger called in a suspicious package. I read an interesting article last week about the proliferation of ugly barriers around important buildings; the eyesores are there to prevent a car with a bomb in it from driving anywhere near the building. It’s subtle, but anyone who has to function in Manhattan on a daily basis notices all the security measures that didn’t exist before 9/11. Or you notice the street vendors hocking photos of the WTC or selling FDNY tee-shirts, or you notice the building fragments that have made their way into Penn Station or Battery Park or the Catholic church near my old apartment. All that is part of living in New York now.

    On rebuilding: At this point, I don’t even care what they do with the land. I’ve been following the memorial construction because I knew one of the design contest jury members. Now the 9/11 families are campaigning for donations because the project is so far over budget. Any construction project on this scale is going to have its detractors — the same thing is happening in Brooklyn regarding the proposed Jets stadium but that, of course, doesn’t garner national interest.

    I’ve also heard it argued from victims’ families that they want a memorial as soon as possible because some of them never got to bury their loved ones and so have no place to mourn, which I think is a fair argument.

  8. Pingback: big breast

  9. Pingback: ebony babes

Comments are closed.