9/11/2011. The Day. Bern Rauch. acrylic on canvas, 9x8'. At Driftwood salon.
I was sound asleep when one of my friends called me with the news. She was an early riser and told me to turn on the TV. I could not believe what I was seeing and it took quite a long time for what was happening to really sink in.
I was so touched by the world wide outpouring of support and grief. For once in my life, I felt unabashedly patriotic. I watched the ceremony in Washington DC to honor the fallen and cried Kathleen Battle sang so powerfully.
Then came the rest - restrictions on our civil liberties, a bombastic jingoism, a hijacked election, a right wing Supreme Court, endless war, endless death. How many have died since 9.11? I can't even begin to count.
I hate the meaningless rhetoric wrapped around the American flag. I refuse to accept that it's been the "worse catastrophe" since ever and I know too much to believe the fraudulent claim that nobody has suffered like we have. We didn't even attack the right country when we invaded Iraq for the majority of the hijackers were from Saudi Arabia!
But if Bin Laiden and his followers wanted to destroy America, I think they have succeeded in ways that they may have never predicted. We have a debt that will probably destroy the country, unless we can reverse the tax breaks given to the most wealthy. The right wing and the mega-rich have a death grip on our economy, seeming not to care if the majority of people fall into an abyss little better than medieval serfdom.
We have lost thousands of our young and killed more than thousands of people in countries that we knew little about before 9.11 and probably still know little about. Our political discourse has become toxic. The middle class that supported our democracy is under attack - not from outside terrorists but from an equally ruthless right wing plutocracy.
I love my country. I want her back.
There are a few artists and a few events that approach this anniversary with sensitivity and political acumen - locally Driftwood Gallery is featuring the work of Bern Rauch (my friend Bernie from Project Artaud) whose paintings are a powerful look at 9.11. Ben Wood will be showing a new video at an interfaith service, the Cartoon Museum is sponsoring an on line exhibit and SFMOMA is offering free admission to active duty police, firefighters and first responders (and their families) this Sunday, September 11.