Sunday, August 16, 2009

Fantasy and Reality

I always found “the world changed on 911” to be one of the most disingenuous catchphrases spawned by the Bush administration. The fact is that the world did not change. What happened was America’s ignorance about what was really going on in the world was exposed. However, that would have been an inconvenient narrative because it would have required us to examine the source or our misunderstanding and to find ways to correct it. By simply declaring that the world had changed, the administration absolved itself of any responsibility for past failures and left itself free to improvise entirely new approaches based on ideology while rejecting established principles as irrelevant to the “changed” circumstances.

I have the same reaction to the right wingers who complain that “this isn’t the America that I grew up in.” It is nothing more than an emotional appeal calculated to avoid a reasoned discussion of what America is really like and what sort of rational steps we can take to make it better for as many people as possible. The America in which anyone grew up is nothing more than what a child understood America to be.

It is no surprise that the same fools who fell for the idea that the world was different on 9/10/01 also believe that there was a different America when they grew up. The same inability to acknowledge reality is what causes them to believe in death panels and birther conspiracies.

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