Dienstag, November 17, 2009

WTC as Metaphor...

I've commented on the absurd situation surrounding the rebuilding of the WTC before.

And yes, it was a comment to a post by Bret Stephens at the WSJ.

He's reminded once again that there has been, functionally, no progress there, and that indeed there are multiple ways of viewing the WTC at this point in time.

It's where what effectively amounts to a show trial is now scheduled to be turned into a media circus.

It's where literally thousands of people are waiting for closure and rebirth.

It's also where petty scrabbling and pathetically disgusting incompetence has led to no reconstruction.

What I liked best, though, was his description of how to handle the execution of those responsible:

I have long thought it would be a good idea to bring 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his accomplices to lower Manhattan. In my concept, the men would be taken by helicopter to a height of about 1,000 feet over Ground Zero and pushed out the door, so that they, too, could experience what so many of their victims did in the awful final flickering seconds of their lives.

Sure, that's a revenge fantasy. But it is a fitting one.

But what I really want to talk about here is the WTC as metaphor: a metaphor for how screwed up things really are.

After eight years in which the views and interests of, inter alia, the Port Authority, NYPD, MTA and EPA, the several governors of New York and New Jersey, lease-holder Larry Silverstein, various star architects, the insurance companies, contractors, unions and lawyers, the families of the bereaved, their self-appointed spokespersons, the residents of lower Manhattan and, yes, even the fish of the Hudson river have all been duly consulted and considered, this is what we've got: a site of mourning turned into a symbol of defiance turned into a metaphor of American incompetence—of things not going forward. It is, in short, the story of our decade.

Barack Obama, energetic and smart, was elected largely to change all that. But the thrust of his presidency so far has been in the direction of bloated government, deficits and health-care bills; paralysis over Afghanistan and Iran; the convulsions over Gitmo and the CIA torture memos. And now this: An effort to demonstrate the purity of our methods and motives that is destined, as all these things have been, to wind up as the legal equivalent of Ground Zero. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, for whom no real justice will ever be meted, understood his targets well.

The President of these United States, Barack Hussein Obama, is indeed a failure of monumental proportions, comparable directly to the clusterf*ck of the WTC. The petty and the fearful, the corrupt and the power-hungry, the thugs wearing purple shirts and the ladies of pink appear to be calling the shots: too many died on that day to let their legacy be squandered and frittered away. Those responsible should be ashamed of themselves.

Think of it this way: as long as the WTC is not rebuilt, things will not get better. There is a malaise here, a sickness unto the heart, the ritual self-loathing of what once was the great liberal tradition in the United States, poisoned by greed and corruption from within and deliberately targeted for subversion from outside.

Rebuild the WTC. Rebuild it now.

But not that designed-by-committee-and-implemented-by-fools plan that has been bogged down by the small-minded and drained of vigor by the parasites that litter lower Manhattan, but redone with a vision of something bolder and better than ever before.

Don't sit and wallow in that self-pity and fear that appears to strangulate any sort of vision left in the City. That is the way of the petty, of the fearful, of the timid and of the pathetic.

Instead, go for the future. Dare to be great. dare to have a vision, with warts and faults, but dare to get things done.

It's what America is all about.

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