…uniquely American extremism is a toxic mix of selective doctrine, latent violence, racial melancholia and rabid consumer excess…
The sun glinted off the wing of the United 737 parked at Gate C30 at O’Hare’s International airport. The sky was a near perfect blue. Just across the taxiway a larger than normal group of aircraft idled, watched over by a police vehicle. I weighed the heavy iron wrench in my hand. I’d grabbed it from a mechanic’s tool box in the ready room. After watching the second plane crash into the World Trade Center live in New York there could be no question America was under attack. Word came down that at least a dozen aircraft were still unaccounted for after the FAA had ordered an unprecedented ground stop nationwide and ordered all planes out of the air immediately. A coworker believed his wife was a flight attendant on one of the hijacked flights out of Boston. Someone else heard a Lufthansa jet was headed for the terminal, still another was aiming for the Sears Tower. Downtown Chicago was evacuating. A supervisor instructed us to “clear” every aircraft in the zone, roughly 10 gates, and pulled the jetbridges off the aircraft. The biggest mouths, the bullies in the zone, refused the order, saying they weren’t paid to perform security. I went alone, dubious of my chances against unknown terrorists prepared to commit suicide runs.
Two black guys named Chuck and Bernie, just after the first tower collapsed shook their heads over a comment that just seemed to fall from my mouth about how we were now at war. Chuck tense and distant at all that was happening, replied that America would just use this as a reason to go after “colored” people. I kept a daily diary back then. I wrote his words down not realizing at the time how cryptic they were. I have never forgotten Chuck’s words. Every September 11th I look back at more and more evidence accumulating that proves those words.
History is a process, not a series of standalone episodes. Recently, researching an ancestor I have been deep in researching the Renaissance and Reformation. Like Pearl Harbor, the French Revolution, the First World War or the Roman Republic, each of those grew as a wave, building and crashing with such impact and tumult that they became pivotal or etched eternally into our collective memory. The Renaissance did not begin on a Tuesday at 2pm 1500 AD. The much touted Christian Reformation ran concurrent with monumental abuses by the Vatican, the inquisition and a defacto religious fascism with regards to thought and speech and censorship across Europe. Pearl Harbor was not the surprise attack by evil Anglo-hating Japs, but a breaking point in long running economic animosities between the US and Japan. World War One did not begin in Sarajevo with the murder of an Austrian Archduke. It began in a German fear of pan-Slavism and Russia’s growing industrialization. It began in the pig farms of Serbia whose plum sweetened pigs out-competed the lesser quality Austrian pigs for market share.
The attacks of September 11 were not the product of an evil terrorist alone, but a long process extending back to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Since September 11th the United States has only attacked smaller weaker countries of “colored” people. In every case the specter of oil has been part of the equation. In all those places the so-called remedy of global warfare and security against what was a very small and dwindling number of actual Islamic extremists has spurned a rise of fundamentalists, extremists and ever more terrorists than those early numbers could have imagined. The deaths of more than a million people, also victims of the September attacks, grows those ranks for generations to come. Big oil implored President Bush to leave Iraqi oil in the ground to drive up prices. ISIS is a willing dupe in that continued effort. In that time, while the oil purchased media mocked climate change, renewable energy, emissions controls, EPA standards and electric cars oil has more than quadrupled in price to the delight of big oil. OPEC countered the fracking boom by dragging down oil prices at a time when the West sought to punish Russian aggression by tanking prices.
We suffer religious extremism in this country as well. Unleashed by the corporate media as the easiest legal form of control to manipulate. This uniquely American extremism is a toxic mix of selective doctrine, latent violence, racial melancholia and rabid consumer excess. They are growing to a dangerous force affecting everything from race relations, the economy and political structure. Learning has been replaced by expediency via the internet as we all now work harder and harder for less and less to a smaller and smaller number of neo-oligarchs and robber barons. At least one of them is now running for president as a would-be dictator. Our children’s education is the battlefield in this country as it is collapsed in a death by a thousand cuts in favor of corporate owned schools and religio-politically filtered and reconstituted curriculum.
This country changed on September 11th. The explosion of media consolidation and politically slanted talk radio began in far greater earnest that day. I lost my retirement that day and a quarter of my pay, not because of the attacks but in the robber baron chaos that allowed corporations, like the one I worked for, to steal from their employees. Freedoms were vacated, and in the case of the Patriot Act, abandoned. More than 3000 people died that day. 600,000 died in Iraq, 60,000 in Afghanistan, thousands in Yemen. More than 5,000 young American men and women were told they were sacrificing their lives for our freedom in America, while those who sent them profited from actually stealing our freedoms. Sometimes history changes in a moment, but that moment comes at the end of a long and often overlooked history. Bush, Cheney, Clinton, arguably even Obama all ought to be in jail for their part in the destruction of this country. Trump, Hillary, Jindal, Paul and Jeb Bush rightly should be laughed out of any public consideration.
I long ago stopped lamenting the tragedy of September 11th. The vultures that descended on us were our own countrymen. It’s just that we’d gotten so fat that they are still feasting. Only now is it becoming evident that they are eating us alive.
Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at www.que4.org.
WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. His new book “A Tragic Fate: is an unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com