Saturday, September 11, 2021

living inside history

Yesterday, amidst the 9/11 memorials and remembrances I saw numerous people say that it was one time Americans pulled together to mourn and take on the bad guys.  And basically following with an inquiry as to why its impossible now.  Which is strange because while I think we were together in our sadness and shock, how we all reacted was very different. Many turned inward in mourning, began fostering anxieties they may have never had before. Suffered a feeling of vulnerability we, as Americans somehow thought we were immune from (if we thought about it all.)  Others took that shock and turned it into flag waving patriotism and muslim bashing. Actually middle eastern bashing, since anyone who was Arab-looking or non-white was suspect, subject to all sorts of abuse. An indian family who owned the fast food chain where I usually ate lunch in the loop closed for weeks scared out of their mind.  A Pakistani grocery store, that had just opened around the corner debuted the week prior, then promptly closed, only to re-open with a sign emblazoned with a huge flag and re-branding themselves as "American Food Mart."  The sneering and jeering filtered even into the city, into my rather diverse neighborhood where a huge population hails from all over the world. It happened again of course with Covid, this time with Asian-Americans, one of whom, a student whose work we were putting in an exhibit in March, was too afraid to come downtown to deliver it. The more things change the more they stay the same. 

I myself occasionally, though it dips into crazy conspiracy theories I have not really delved into, wondered in those months afterward--as Bush's approval rate went up and it launched a war we were just itching to get into--whether or not it had been an inside job. This seemed crazy. I more thought about how easy it might be to look the other way.  It was neither here nor there.  It had happened either way. When I mentioned it, people seemed taken aback. How dare I? There were obvious bad guys.  Obvious villains.  It was maybe just my general Gen X distrust of authority.  I had no crazy theories, definitely wouldn't die on that cross,  just a healthy distrust of Republican governement in partticular--the same one that was ruled by the rich, war mongering, and had abused power in the past (McCarthyism anyone?) Had ignored the AIDS crises.  Had done super shady things left and right. I am always willing to entertain more realistic theories when the spoils and gains of such nonsense are apparent.  If it was true, we'd probably never know. It it wasn't true, then it didn't matter. Distrust is natural.  Doing so in a way that causes harm to others is not. 

I occasionally try to wrap my head around the Covid deniers, the Q-Anons, the government officials who insist that thousands of people are not dying as we speak.  That it's a worldwide conspiracy to plant chips or 5G or get us to wear masks..well, for what? To comply.  To be obedient.  This seems, on either side of the party line, to be sort of a useless plot with no goals-all it did was fuck up the economy and send people further down the rabbit hole. And you can't hide or manufacture stacks of dead people. What is the gain?  Where is the why? My other favorite conspiracy theory I like to think is true has to do with powerful men, their dirty secrets,  and Jeffery Epstein. The sort of strings you can pull with that leverage.  Again, I have no proof either way, but that's how conspiracies work.  For a lark, last weekm I scanned the headlines of Fox News and found only one tiny mention of coronavirus and it was a piece on how Fauci lied about Wuhan---not about the hundreds dying in Florida daily.   Of course people who rely on certain news outlets don't think we're in a pandemic. Becuase according to the news, we're not. 

What was worse, and more insidious, was the facebook anti-vax articles in my feed the following day after that visit.  This, I imagine, is how misinformation spreads among the gullible.  How one bad source leads to more.  How people, left at home with more free time in lockdown, were mobilized and radicalized in bad directions.  It had everything to do with the January 6th riot.  Everything to do with people injesting horse parasite remover instead of getting a free shot in the arm.  I don't think unity is possible when a good percentage of Americans don care at all about other people. What startled me was some of them were in my own extended family. When Trump won all those years ago, I was less afraid of his policies, having weathered republican regimes before, but more afraid that it gave the monsters a hero-something terrible to get behind and bolster up. The assholes creeping from the corners and free to be assholes.  Also, I look at America and it feels like such a waste in a land supposedly so free--not from the things they think we need to be from (gun control, mask mandates) but from literal nazis. Where the rich get richer and the poor just are dying--of sickness, of hunger. Lack of health insurance. Poverty and socionomic conditions that favor gun violence and mental health disorders.  A world moved by misinformation and "fake news" and mob mentality.  

I am so very tired of living inside history..and a very dysfunctional place in history at that. 

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