Seven Years After

I remember where I was.

And here we are, seven years later. No memorial is built at Ground Zero, we’re in an quagmire in Iraq, Al Qaeda is going  strong, the Taliban is back in Afghanistan, the economy is in the toilet, oil prices are sky-high, Wahhabism and Islamic zealotry are still on the rise, there are thousands of american and tens of thousands – perhaps hundreds of thousands – Iraqi dead.

I saw this movie the other night called Shadows In Paradise. It was about all the German artists and writers and scholars who were exiled by Hitler and ended up in Los Angeles in the 30’s and 40’s. It was kind of amazing. There was footage of Vincent Price describing a scene in a coffee shop where he sat down and was joined by Schoenberg, Brecht, Stravinsky, Thomas Mann and a few other people. (I think) Finally Rachmaninoff walks in and Vincent Price is like, “Oh, forget it!” and leaves.

But what is more amazing is that many of these geniuses who fled the Nazis subsequently fled America during the Red Scare. They were all suspects because they were foreigners, intellectuals and, many of them, Leftists. So they essentially got hounded back to Europe because of McCarthy. In the film there was a moving speech by Thomas Mann, I wish I could find it online, it was a radio address he gave. He describes the world under McCarthyism and the Red Scare and, referring to Nazism, says he has seen what happens when a government revokes civil liberties and freedoms, starts to become fundamentalist, invasive and dictatorial, when there are witch-hunts and demonization of others – all due to some trumped up state of fear and in the name of “security”. Germany before WW2 was the birthplace of modernism – it was a vibrant, vital, colorful, artistically and culturally cutting-edge city, the height of sophistication and modernity.

I was there on 9/11. I saw it with my own eyes. I was standing on Park Row when the first tower fell and I ran from that godzilla-like cloud of dust and smoke.  And I feel LESS safe today after 7 years of Bush/Cheney, 7 years of bad economy (basically, with a few upticks here and there), 5 years of war, 7 Years of The Culture of Fear.

I think Obama is capable of being president but I almost don’t even care. I just want to live in a world of hope again, not fear. And McCain/Palin are just selling more fear.

Enough is enough.

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