As the 6th anniversary of the September 11th attacks approaches, we can prepare ourselves for an onslaught of partisan vitriol and claims of personal victimhood. The Republicans will bend over backwards to remind us that we were attacked by Iraq on that day and that Democrats are tearing the country apart with calls for appeasement and hugs for our enemies. The Republicans are the only ones who suffered that day, the only ones who could see the true threat.
And that’s what they’ve been telling us since September 11th, 2001. But I remember a time when much of the nation saw hope for a new camaraderie among Americans and a renewed solidarity with our global allies. I never personally expected it. With the political climate of the times, I saw only one possibility: the Bush administration was going to milk the goodwill for all its worth and then use it to create a fetid, gaping divide between those who are with them and those who are against them.
Sadly, my pessimism was well founded and played out over the following months to be prophetic. Not only that, it’s been so much worse than anything I imagined possible at the time. And it seems to be getting worse.
Today I read this on Media Matters. John Gibson, a Fox News anchor, mocked and derided Jon Stewart‘s post 9/11 return to air as phony and disingenuous. It’s a new low. Not much lower than the previous low, but it does continue the awful trend of treading on social taboos. You don’t mock someone’s heartfelt grief. Or at least you didn’t used to. But now it’s out there and soon it will all be game.
If you have any doubt how genuine Jon was on that episode, watch this clip: