The other day I got home after work, and Eli (age 6) came up to me with a ballot he had written. It had check boxes, but I needed some explanation on the issues: it was a household referendum on whether we would build another block tower like the one we'd built the day before (originally dubbed the "Liberty Monument"), or create another structure out of more suitable materials (because the first one had been knocked over). I cast my vote, and, as it turned out, I was in line with the household majority. When I got a chance, I asked Lisa (Eli's mom) whether she had any idea what all this was about.
She told me that she had taken Eli with her when she went to vote two days earlier, and he'd gotten really excited about the process. He had asked her to explain each question on the state and local ballots (the native casino referendum, the "slot machines at harness-racing tracks" thing, the bond issues for handicap access, and the local jail). He personally marked his Mom's vote in each little check box. (In Jackson, Maine, we use a system that powerfully addresses many of the vote-counting conundrums with which bedevil our nation today. It's called "pencil and paper", and it has significant advantages.)
Well, now, y'know, I love Eli crazily, but I don't think he's all that exceptional a six year old. In this case, I think he simply knows how to recognize a good thing when he sees it. The idea that everybody in the community gets an equal say-so in what the community decides to do just makes sense to him. Not only does it make sense to him: it's exciting to him. He is jazzed to live in a society that has institutions like that.
This anecdote helps to explain -- I hope -- the weight I feel pressing down on me lately. This weight sometimes makes me a bit crankier, a bit more preoccupied, than I ever thought I'd be. The thing is, I have a terrifying suspicion that the democratic society that my son Eli so wants to be a part of... is not possible for him... not without a more heroic struggle than he really should be expected to make. I have the strongest and most insomniac fear that today, in the most powerful nation on Earth, the ideal of democracy has been utterly given up.
I hope I'm wrong. But I guess the time has arrived for me to explain the title of this article.
As many of you know, there is an extensive (in both breadth and depth) online community of people who have devoted a great deal of time and effort to revealing the truth of what happened on September 11, 2001. The best of what they have to offer is what I mean by "bitter medicine". (And never mind the middling and the worst: the world is full of wingnuts seeking fifteen minutes of fame.)
What we've all heard so far is that on that day, nineteen Arab terrorists, inconsequentially armed, destroyed the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and then killed nearly 200 people at the headquarters of the United States Military.
But. The published record of mainstream journalistic and governmental sources calls this "official story" into question. Serious question. Serious and terrifying questions which our government has done nothing to answer, or even credibly investigate.
The tapestry of events and forces leading up to it, the insider-trading accusations, the spies and counter-spies -- they are all too much for me to handle. I have restricted my investigations to what is known about the events on the day of September 11th, and this, in a nutshell, is what I have learned:
Commercial flights were known to be hijacked long before the planes hit the World Trade Center, yet no military planes were ordered into the air to examine them (as per long-established procedure, which had happened 67 times during the preceding year). Even after two hijacked planes had hit the Twin Towers, a third plane was in the air, known to be hijacked, heading toward Washington DC, for 45 minutes -- with no fighter interception, before it allegedly slammed into the Pentagon. During this crucial hour of history, while our Government knew that commercial aircraft were being used as weapons, the President (the only person in the nation with the authority to order civilian aircraft to be shot down), was indisposed at a photo-op in a Florida elementary school. President Bush stayed at the school, reading with kids, for half a hour after being informed of the WTC attacks. (During this time, one, and then two, other planes were known to be hijacked.) Then, although the nation was under attack and Air Force One was rumored to be a target, it took off without any fighter escort, even though nearby fighters had ample time to get there. Soon thereafter, fires cause by burning jet fuel inexplicably caused the steel superstructure of the Twin Towers to melt, causing them to fall, one after the other, directly into the footprint of each building, just as they would have imploded in a controlled demolition. (The temperature required to melt steel is far higher than that of jet fuel burning in air. Burning jet fuel could not possibly have caused the World Trade Center to fall.)
That is just the beginning of all the things about 9-11 that don't add up. I have been reading about it. That's not a pleasant thing to do. I have been forcing myself to read about it, because no matter how much I don't want to think about it, it is something I need to think about.
But I'm not going to dwell on it here. The information is easily available, and many of you are already familiar with it. I want to try and come to grips with what it means. Think about it: the information the public has been given about the attacks is patently false. A six-year old can see (though he hasn't yet, thank goodness) that it's full of holes. The "Congressional Investigation" failed to even address the major questions.
This is the defining event that has shaped national policy for the last two years, and will probably continue to do so for years to come, and yet, we clearly have not been told the truth about the attacks of 9-11; we have been lied to brazenly and loudly, and we have done very little, outside of a small community of dogged patriots on the Internet, to question those lies.
But I can see why we haven't. It's too terrifying to think about. It means we have long since, while we were busy elsewhere, given up our democracy. It means the truth about what actually happens before our eyes just doesn't matter anymore.
Because: come ON! BOTH towers of the World Trade Center have been attacked by hijacked planes, yet another hijacked plane is allowed to fly, unintercepted, toward the Nation's Capital, for FORTY-FIVE MINUTES, while the President reads a story to school kids, and then slam into the Pentagon? I did not believe that on September 11th, 2001, and I certainly don't believe it now. And if that isn't what happened, what officials at what levels of our government have lied to us? And what other issues of national security have they lied to us about? And what is the basis upon which we should trust anything they say?
I have to think about what I'm going to say to Eli, when it begins to dawn on him that the wonderful notion of Democracy was just a fantasy for children, something he'd better outgrow, and quickly. In the meantime, I need to do what I can to help restore accountability and democracy in my homeland. I might be tempted to think it's not my responsibility; I mean, I'm pretty busy what with raising children, building a house, making a living, etc. But it is my responsiblity, and yours.
Lindy Davies is the Program Director of the Henry George Institute.
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