The tragedy in New York happened six years ago today. It is appropriate to remember that day, and to grieve for those who lost their lives, and those who lost loved ones and friends in that awful event. I can still remember standing in front of the television with my wife, I was too filled with horror and sadness to sit, and that memory still evokes feelings six years later that I would prefer to have go away.
It is also appropriate to ask why we, as a nation, have still not recovered from this wound. This was not a killing blow, and yet six years later its effects still pose a threat to the very fabric of our nation, for we have scratched the wound endlessly and raised it to an inflammation that is nearly breaking us.
Colin Powell raised this point in an interview with GQ. He uses a phrase that I would prefer to avoid on this date, but these are his words.
"What is the greatest threat facing us now?” he said. “People will say it's terrorism. But are there any terrorists in the world who can change the American way of life or our political system? No. Can they knock down a building? Yes. Can they kill somebody? Yes. But can they change us? No. Only we can change ourselves. So what is the great threat we are facing?"
When I was growing up the threat we faced was hundreds of nuclear missiles pointed at our cities and the possibility that we would lose, not two buildings and 3000 people, but 50 or 60 cities and tens of millions of people in a single act of war. Such an attack would result in this country ceasing to be as a functioning entity. The threat was an existential one since if it happened we, as a nation, would no longer exist.
President Bush refers to “Radical Islam” as an existential threat and in so doing he lies for even his fevered, fearful little mind knows that they are nothing of the sort.
As Colin Powell points out terrorists can take some lives, they can destroy some buildings, they can wound us, but they cannot inflict a wound of the severity that will bring us to the point of extinction. Take even the “worst case” that our radical political panderers posit, the stolen nuclear devices that destroy two of our cities, as absurd as that eventuality may be. Does that cause us, as a nation, as a way of life, to cease to exist? It doesn’t even approach that level of harm.
The existential threat that we face is the Iron Law of Institutions.
The people who control institutions care first and foremost about their power within the institution rather than the power of the institution itself. Thus, they would rather the institution "fail" while they remain in power within the institution than for the institution to "succeed" if that requires them to lose power within the institution.
Instead of leadership after the events of September 11, 2001 the politicians of both parties have been using that date to enhance their own position of power within government; six long years of demagougery and self interest instead of proper government.
In so doing they have weakened the country as a whole by driving it into a position of fearfulness that supports an endless war based on false premises. A war that increases terrorism worldwide. A war that weakens the country’s political alliances. A war that destroys the country’s economy. They preach terrorism and foment a war that doesn’t fight terrorists in order to preserve their position of power within the government.
Democrats promise that all of this will change when the people throw the Republicans out and put them in power. The people do just that and almost one full year later nothing, absolutely nothing has changed.
It’s the Iron Law of Institutions still at work. Democrats do not want the war to end, not just yet. They want it to keep going long enough that they will have it to use as a campaign issue in the 2008 elections.
The current chief executive led the way on a horrendous erosion of our constitution, on the reduction of guarantees of civil liberties, and the Democratic majority that we installed almost a year ago has uttered not one single word about restoring one iota of that loss. Of all the corruption and theft that has been uncovered, not one single person has been prosecuted or impeached. Not one presidential candidate has even hinted that they would go about restoring the constitutional balance of power in our government if elected.
The existential threat that we face is our own government.
But we will reelect those in office, and elect others, based on lies and we will elect one of these presidential candidates who has done nothing but mouth platitudes. We will believe the empty promises of the Democrats who say they will “drain the swamp” but will only wallow in it up to their necks, and we will be shocked and appalled when the talking head we elect as president declares war on some distant country and embroils us in another war to in order to “spread democracy” in our name.
Because the Iron Law of Institutions is called that for a reason. It has its grip on government, and I fear it has become too late to break its hold.
Far more terrible than any terrorists, our own government.