Marlowe's Shade

Monday, September 11, 2006

If the Towers Had Names, What Would They Have Been?

The more history I read the odder our post-modern world seems. How strange that we constructed two gigantic towers only to call them "the North Tower" and "the South Tower".

No wonder our commentary on the fifth anniversary of 9-11 is for the most part so meaningless. This morning on the radio an announcer recalled wistfully how the tragedy for a short time brought us all together as a nation.

Personally I would have preferred never to have had that moment of unity. I would have gladly traded it for a return to the world I lived in then. We lost so much that day that will never be restored in our lifetimes. Our children will never experience the innocence and security of that era. I was on a different side then held different views. I didn't want to leave my comfortable place with it's comfortable notions. But after 9-11 that place, like the Towers, was gone.

I'm glad we are remembering the individual victims. I was even planning on a post about Susan Retik and Patti Quigley and how they rose from their personal tragedies to help widows of terrorist acts in Afghanistan. But the coverage I heard this morning set me on another course.

I only care about one thing right now regarding 9-11. Are we smarter than our enemies? Nothing else matters to me. After all the memorials and speeches today the blood of the innocents of 9-11 will cry out to heaven tomorrow and everyday after. It is clear we will never be safe the way we were. Our adversaries crept in and found a way to strike us, rendering all our might useless. They thought out of the box and succeded. They knew us very well and translated that knowledge into success. How is our thinking now? Has 9-11 made us smarter?

I believe the record of the last 5 years shows a disturbing lack of national resolve. We may have initially shown more backbone than the terrorists expected. But true to the stereotype, we haven't been resolute. What should have been most encouraging to the terrorists is the state of siege our leaders who prosecute this war on terror are under from "domestic insurgents" at home and our supposed allies abroad. The truth is that even in wartime we are not unified, or supported by the rest of the world. Probably the greatest of the seditious faction is the media. Their power was demonstrated in the libelous attempts to manufacture evidence to defeat a sitting wartime president during the election. This war can't be won on two fronts.

Like myself those here at home who seek our defeat in the war on terror simply want to return to the days before 9-11. The difference is that they seem to really believe that is a real option. Having awoken from a similar spell I can appreciate how a delusion of this magnitude can exist. Enthralled by a media that has has hypnotic access to all five senses, the sleepwalkers parrot slogans, write checks and occasionally have angry outburst when reality disturbs their slumber like a determined fly. I'm now convinced that if the events of 5 years ago haven't roused them, nothing will.

The military and even literary significance of towers has been lost on us today. Before gunpowder a tower was formidable. It allowed the defenders to see farther and rain death on attackers. And when a tower fell, it meant that the walls had already been breached and the battle lost.

Since our Towers were nameless I've assigned my own symbolic meaning to them. This personal significance became clarified to me after a similar event occurred with the death of Terri Schiavo. In legends of the Golden Age, kings are philosophers and philosophers kings. In a fallen world the necessity for good government is for political and religious leaders to work together to hold chaos at bay. Both institutions failed Terri and this country. The towers defending us had already fallen and the later historical events merely echoed the metaphysical reality.

I don't want to be pessimistic or discouraging this day, but unless as a nation our thinking changes dramatically, we will remain defenseless, outnumbered and blind.
papijoe 5:50 AM