I'm not joining the national catharsis this year, and I doubt I will from here on out. The tragedy that claimed the lives of 3000+ of our countrymen that day and many thousands in the wars since has been exploited to turn us into a nation that is afraid of it's own shadow. "See something, say something."
Well, I see something, and I'm damn well saying something. The terrorists won, and won bigger than they could have hoped for in their wildest dreams. In the name of fighting terrorism, we have, for the most part willingly, surrendered much of what remained of our Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms. Want to travel? At the airport you'll be herded like cattle in your stocking feet, and woe unto he or she who has the temerity to question the blue-gloved goons that are Too Stupid for Arbys. And because of one incident in France--France, for Pete's sake--we'll likely be doing the same if we want to take a train and probably a bus. Pretty soon, our cars will quiz us about where we are going while the seat gives us a free proctological exam in case we're smuggling something up there (like the remains of our dignity).
Thanks to Edward Snowden, a man to whose memory we may one day erect monuments, we now know our government tracks pretty much every move we make, from financial to bowel. The Stasi didn't have it so good. Orwell missed the date by a few years, but in terms of the intrusiveness of the surveillance, the man wasn't nearly a big enough thinker.
License plate readers catch one crazy-ass murderer in Virginia, but invade the privacy of tens if not hundreds of thousands of others daily. One right that was not specifically recognized in the Constitution--the right to be left alone and in peace--is not yours any more. Step outside your house and you're not only subject to having your license plate scanned while you drive, but if you live in a metro area or a growing number of smaller cities and some towns, once you park and start walking you'd better smile, because you're on Candid Camera, and that camera is backed up by sophisticated facial recognition technology. You're not going to be able to be anonymous in the crowd much longer.
Your privacy is shredded in many other ways, a Death of a Thousand Cuts, and we all willingly participate. Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, Instagram and a host of other "sharing" sites entice us into sharing far more than we should with an audience the size of which a writer of 50 years ago could only hope for. Grocery stores, discount chains, even auto parts stores all have affinity cards that give you discounts if you'll just let them track your purchases a little better.
I find is simply amazing that we allow our government (and let's note, it's being done to us by Democrats and Republicans alike) to intrude into every private space, and if they miss one, hell, we'll take a picture of it and put it on Facebook. But we've been primed for this since 2001, because we've all become used to living in a surveillance state. We've been told for years that the terrorists, why, they are right here among us! There are terror cells right here, just waiting for the word from Ali al Sumdood to come out and raise all manner of heck. They're coming over the borders, mixing in with the flood tide of illegal aliens! They're everywhere! Eeek!
Odd that, in 14 years, none of them have gotten the word to do anything, and realistically, we're still as soft a target as we were on September 10, 2001. And the US Air Force, while on vacation, has still caught more terrorists than the TSA. And they had to go to France to do it. Funny how that has worked out.
Folks, we've been sold a bill of goods. All those thousands who have died...I'm pretty sure we've not gotten the value they thought they were buying us with their lives, and that pains me deeply. All of those tomorrows sacrificed, the marriages that will never happen, the babies that will never be born, the Little League games that will never be watched, the dance recitals that won't be attended...all so that the various and sundry assholes in power can stay in power and enrich themselves and their friends. And I'm not talking about our sock-puppet politicians, I'm talking about the true power, the people with their hands up the puppets' arses.
So today, the day that we are surrounded by the ghosts of 9/11, if you want to pay a tribute to them, take that moment of silence and think. Think about how no one has let this crisis go to waste, and how other crises have conveniently popped up just as the powers that be needed them, and they haven't gone to waste either.
I think we've been played, and masterfully so.