Kneeling in Prayer

By James Strauss

Nine-eleven. Those two words will forever resound with a strength they should never have been given. With a body of fearfulness, self-blame and loathing we should never have allowed to escape from our body politic or social consciousness. Instead of turning outward and ferociously applying our might we turned inward and attacked our very own or others who were simply there (and not nuclear armed) to wail upon.

Today, twenty-two years later, we humiliate ourselves whenever we want to fly. We cower before police or any other authority. We worry that evil is around the next corner or bend in the road. We are conditioned to fear as our primary motivator.

None of this has happened by accident. It has happened by willful diligent planning. Whatever forces brought down the World Trade Center buildings, and I have no idea of what those really were, they were intricately planned and carried out. The administration in power here at the time seemed to be like a receiver on the football field waiting for the ball. The ball was thrown, caught, but then the receiver turned and ran to the opposite goal post. Because we’ve lost a huge amount since nine eleven. There was no great worry about our economy crashing back then. It was unthinkable. Now, we’ve gone through two of these events in three years. And we’ve been quite handily set up by our leadership and the media to expect many more occasions of similar domestic terror.

Quite likely, however, the greatest suffering we have faced as a country is the deliberate narrowing of our thought process.

We have been conditioned since nine eleven to look inward. To think small. To accept the fact that we have extreme and serious limits to our power and our thought process. The ‘marching in place’ of our space program is the penultimate example of this kind of thinking. We thought hugely in the sixties, of going to places beyond our ability to imagine. We thought of occupying other planets and worlds. We thought in terms of Star Wars and Star Trek. Since nine-eleven we think in terms of the rise of another singing star, or dancer, or clothing designer. Our television shows, like Mad Men, take us back in time or into fantasy, as do our movies like Captain America and Barbie. We rewrite history, like in Inglorious Bastards and Oppenheimer and are not even aware they are rewritten to make their unreality more acceptable. We look at and speak of the past and present while remaining quietly fearful of the future.  We invest our hope in ridiculous fantasy superheroes while our real leaders dodder on into senility.

Much of our thought process is shaped by mass media. The filters in place to assure a message satisfactory to the seven owners of that mass media have been manipulated. The Rupert Murdoch scandal is revealing just how much manipulation is taking place, although this scandal is being as minimized as mass media can make it. They understand that our knowing what has happened with Fox and its news circle applies to them as well and they must make sure we never figure that out.

The Internet is the only outlet of mass media that remains open and somewhat free. They will come for this outlet, as they are proving through a ten million dollar grant to the Pentagon to begin understanding how to ‘control’ potentially damaging ‘attacks,’ and Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter to turn it into an online form of Fox. Those attacks will come to be directed at the writing of people like me. It is only a matter of time. Can the Internet be effective enough in breaking the bonds of this mass media filtering process to preclude corporate dominance of it? Only time will tell, and hope that all this is not a result of forcing the public to drink water delivered by lead pipes for over a century