The 9/12 Project and National Unity


This photo, from theDaily Southtown, was taken in Bridgeview, Illinois, during a rally for America that turned into a march on the region’s largest Islamic center. It was taken on September 12, 2001.

Does it look familiar?

Here, watch this:

How about now? Now does it look familiar?

When Glenn Beck and his teatard followers first jumped on this idea of returning to the America we were on 9/12/01, all I could think of was that photo up there. Because that’s who we were, a lot of us, on 9/12/01 — assholes, painting our chests red, white and blue and high-fiving our drunken buddies while we beat up Sikh cabdrivers and yelled. That’s who a lot of us were, and boy, were we ever grateful, weren’t we, for Osama bin Laden giving us an excuse for a self-important hoedown.

That’s the kind of thing my colleagues and I were spending our days covering, and it’s why I have ZERO tolerance for hazy 9/11 unity nostalgia. Things were fucking scary for a large number of people, and not just Muslims and people who looked like Muslims, but people who wanted to go to the grocery store without running into a giant, angry mob of hopped-up aggro racists looking for some helpless Ay-rab ass to kick.

I know a lot of people have memories of examples of kindness and decency from those days; all I have is notes of phone calls from people talking about yet another container of pig’s blood smashed on a mosque doorstep (CLASSY) and some dipshit accosting me at a rally yammering about how the “dune coons” were taking all our jobs away. It was high-level horrific, because Lower Manhattan was still actually burning, the entire country pretty much hadn’t slept, andhere come these people.

And in Bridgeview, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, police stopped 300
marchers as they tried to march on a mosque. Marcher Colin Zaremba, 19,
told The Associated Press, “I’m proud to be American and I hate Arabs
and I always have.”

I used to think Beck and his wannabes like Geller were just remembering that period completely wrong. I used to think they were as deluded as every maker of every soul-stirringly horrid 9/11 Tribute You Tube is, and not recalling all the truly horrific things that were done. I mean, it wasn’t like that everywhere. In New York, for example, people actually were extraordinary and kind. So I used to think this whole 9/12 Project was just based on wanting to be something we never were, as a country.

Now, seeing that video, I think Beck and Geller and all the others actually remember this thing right. They want us to be exactly, EXACTLY, who we were the day after 9/11. And damn if we aren’t getting there.


14 thoughts on “The 9/12 Project and National Unity

  1. Please, an overpaid rabble rousing TV clown says something like, “We want to reclaim civil rights,” with a straight face, it can mean only one thing — “All those darkskinned unChristian weirdos have pushed us around long enough and it’s time to return to time-honored American values like lynching, murder, assault and burning down churches with the congregations inside, all in the name of Jesus and George Washington and other icons of dazzling whiteness.”
    Anyone who pretends otherwise — are you listening, MSM? — are accessories to all the crimes that are being committed.

  2. September 12, 2001. We had not yet turned into what we are now. We weren’t paranoid as a nation yet. No planes were flying, except the ones taking Saudi guests of the Bush government out of the USA, and military jets.
    We didn’t have the USA PATRIOT act yet.
    The FISA courts hadn’t started data processing everything on the internets and airwaves yet; to
    do a wiretap legally, warrants were still needed.
    Awful as we were, we still hadn’t started hiding POWs by calling them unlawful combatants.
    We weren’t torturing them, using uniformed GIs to do it. Not on 12/9/01.
    That day, all this was yet to come.
    That day we hadn’t gone to “Freedom Fries” (my local big grocery chain still uses that on their menus, dammit, at their ‘in-house’ diners).
    That day, though, it started.
    Falwell shaking his finger at us.
    Robertson on the teevee.
    Dobson making his sermonization.
    Bush, coming out of hiding.
    Cheney, going into hiding.
    Google earth, getting an illegible wrinkle over the VP’s official residence.
    We hadn’t even heard about the axis of evil yet, on 12/9/01.
    We weren’t fighting two land wars in Asia yet.
    We hadn’t lied our way back into Iraq yet.
    We didn’t know about swiftboating yet.
    Colin Powell hadn’t talked to us about WMDs yet.
    Yeah. We were a better place, even when we were a place full of idiots, jerks and a-holes, on 12 Sep 01 than we are now.
    The idiots, jerks, and a-holes hadn’t been in charge for nearly 10 years, that day.

  3. The video of the hate rally really bothers me. I see nothing about him that makes me think “Ae-rhab” or Muslim. He tells them he isn’t a Muslim. And still the gorilla comes out of his cage trying to pick a fight.
    Jim Crow SC was more hospitable to the people of color than this crowd is/was. Tells me that racist rednecks are not limited by the Mason Dixon line.

  4. Ronald Reagan’s Support
    the Mujahideen/Taliban
    In March 1985 President Ronald Reagan met with a delegation of Mujahideen from Afghanistan in the White House and declared:
    “These [mujahideen/taliban] are the moral equivalent of America’s founding fathers.” ~Ronald Reagan
    The CIA and the ISI (Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency) provided arms to Afghans resisting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and the ISI assisted the process of gathering radical Muslims from around the world to fight against the Soviets. Osama Bin Laden was one of the key players in organizing training camps for the foreign Muslim volunteers. The U.S. poured funds and arms into Afghanistan, and “by 1987, 65,000 tons of U.S.-made weapons and ammunition a year were entering the war.” FBI translator Sibel Edmonds, who has been fired from the agency for disclosing sensitive information, has claimed United States was on intimate terms with Taliban and Al-Qaeda, using them to further certain goals in Central Asia.
    Americans continue to remain dumber than mud, by the way Hamas was created by the CIA & Mossad to counter the PLO. Please go back to Fox and remain hypnotized like sheep !

  5. More Americans have had their lives dramatically changed by the unregulated greed of the Shadow banking industry and their gambling that we had to bail out.
    If Glenn Beck decided to target them he would get a call to knock it off (like Howard Beale in Network)

  6. Half the country takes out their anger on the Muslim community while the other half takes out their anger on the Hispanic immigrant community. God forbid the two should join forces.

  7. Well said. Can we please think ahead and work to financially punish the people inciting violence?
    I refer to AM radio hosts and any Fox News hosts who suggest violence toward Muslims.
    I focused on this with the rw hosts on KSFO and they lost advertisers and money. This tactic finally resulted in them in firing the hosts. They were still free to spew violent rhetoric on the air, but not to profit from it. And their parent company wanted the profit. So they told the hosts to stop with the suggestions of violence or we will stop giving you money.
    If you want to work against inciting violence in corporate America you need to look to see who is profiting from it and challenge that concept.
    Another concept is when you can link the suggestions of a host to inciting a riot you contact the company that provides the insurance for the broadcasters. Make sure they know that their host is inciting violence and organizing a rally. Suggest that they up the Premiums because of a future potential payout.
    This doesn’t stop the hosts from inciting but it does make the link to financial consequences more clear to the owners.
    Again, this is not about the Government censuring the hosts. The 1st amendment is about what the Government can or can’t do. This is about using market forces to make the case that financially it is bad business to incite riots on the broadcast airwaves.

  8. Marcher Colin Zaremba, 19, told The Associated Press, “I’m proud to be American and I hate Arabs and I always have.”
    “Zaremba”!!! That’s not an American name. Who does this guy think he is?

  9. THANK YOU as always A for finally saying something I too remember. Maybe in NYC we were all kumbaya–I have to say I was a little squirrelly for a while despite the fact I resolutely turned off the tube so don’t exactly remember–but do I remember people bellowing about American exceptionalism and ragheads. It never coalesced into We SHall Overcome. It coalesced into It’s Us AGainst Them.

  10. report from the heartland – it wasn’t all kumbaya in nyc. One of my neighbors told my very blonde, very caucasian Swedish wife to get her “fucking America-hating ass out of this country.” But it could have been worse, and I’m glad it didn’t get any worse, because at the time I was living about two blocks from a neighborhood populated mostly by immigrants from primarily Muslim nations.

  11. I’m beginning to understand that America really is an exceptional nation – exceptionally bigotted, exceptionally stupid, exceptionally un-Christian, exceptionally short sighted, and, did I mention exceptionally stupid?

  12. Hoppy, y’know what’s scary? We’re about as good as it gets, bigotry-wise (I’ll give you “exceptionally stupid,” but that’s a function of being too well-fed and decidedly NOT “un-Christian.”).
    A Muslim coworker of mine (orig. from Pakistan) moved to the UK not long after 9/11 (notbecause of), and we were all like “dude, you’re a lot better off, it’s getting pretty ugly here,” and he was like “have youbeen? Fuck these people.”
    Which excuses the current unpleasantness not one goddamn iota, but, well, people are fucking awful, whaddaya want me to tell ya.

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