Log in

No account? Create an account
06 January 2009 @ 04:30 pm
Weird little thought I had today  
There was a book I read in middle school by Lois Duncan (I believe) in which the grandmother of the main character said something to the effect of this:
After the Hiroshima bomb, a certain innocence was lost to the world.  When we realized that we could create something so small that could  destroy so many and devastate the land for generations, a shadow was cast over the world.  Every generation that came after Hiroshima grew up in that shadow; the innocence we lost then can never be regained.

Mom made a similar comment about the children in her current 2nd grade class, because these are post-9/11 kids.  They don't know a world without terrorism.  She thinks it's something that permanently altered the national psyche, whereas I am more inclined to believe it isn't a new thing, more of a return to the years of the Red Scare and the Cold War.  My age group were the anomaly in that we grew up without any serious fear of the rest of the world.

I dunno.  What do you think?

~ * flurr sprite * ~nkicroft on January 7th, 2009 07:02 am (UTC)
i think i agree. i vaguely remember desert storm and whatnot, but otherwise nothing really happened while i was growing up. and then came 9/11.
Danny Darkosaru_kage on January 7th, 2009 08:59 am (UTC)
I tend to agree with you, but I wouldn't equate it to the Cold War or McCarthy's Communist witch hunt. I think a better historical analogy would be the rise of the Third Reich. I don't know how much you know about pre-WWII geopolitics, but what we're seeing now in America is very close to what the citizens of the (then) Weimar Republic saw when Hitler and his SA were making their bid for power. The similarities are bone chilling.

At any rate, I'm almost thirty, and I've never known a world without terrorism. It's been embedded in the American zeitgeist for longer than I've been alive. I mean, if it wasn't for Libyan terrorists with machine guns and rocket launchers, Michael J Fox never would've taken a Delorian back in time to make out with Lea Thompson.

I think the only reason why there's a shift in the national psyche is because now all the political leveraging and propaganda machines are focused on terrorism now. It's basically just recycled Russian nuclear threat: same product, different packaging, 75% more fear added. And I think if there's any one reason we have a different America post-9/11 it's just because TV says we do. It may sound overly cynical, but I think that for the majority of Americans, reality is whatever TV says it is.

For me the question isn't: "Isn't it sad these children will never know a world without terrorism?" it's: "Isn't it sad these children may never know an America with civil liberties and civil rights?" But then, I get the impression that I don't tend to look at this issue the same way most people do. Probably it's because I had some experiences during my formative years that most people don't get, I suppose.
Markying_ko_4 on January 7th, 2009 04:35 pm (UTC)
I love the way you look at things. And your question is much more chilling than many would like to think. I don't know as it is quite as bad as you make it, but there is reason to think about it and discuss it.

I'm in my 40's and if it's not the Russians and the fear of the The Bomb or The Big One, then it's Terrorists which all swear allegiance to Allah and Hate America. In other words, you are spot on about the same product, different packaging.
Danny Darkosaru_kage on January 8th, 2009 05:17 am (UTC)
Well, I'm not saying it necessarily is that bad, but there are definitely some very dark historical parallels that are playing out in the US and around the world right now that we ignore at our own extreme peril.

It makes me nervous personally because I was fortunate enough to be able to visit Northern Ireland back before the IRA disarmed, and I saw first hand what it was like to live in a police state, and how all sorts of nasty things that were (then) unthinkable occurrences in the US happened every day on the streets of Derry and Belfast, all in the name of "fighting terrorism." It's not something I ever wanted to see imported, or ever thought I would see imported; and yet there it is, creeping in little by little.

It's possible that I'm a little hyper-sensitive to this issue, but if I'm going to err, I would rather err on the side of liberty and civil rights. I just wish that was the prevailing logic in Washington.
Suzik00kaburra on January 7th, 2009 04:38 pm (UTC)
I don't know too much about Europe's pre-WWII politics, unfortunately. Fiction tends to portray the US as basically oblivious until Japan attacked us, which is why I thought the closest parallel from American history would be the fear of Communism that came post-WWII.

But yeah, I totally forgot about the Libyan terrorists in Back to the Future. Terrorists were always there - I'm not much younger than you, but I can barely remember anyone beyond Ted Kacinzsky and Timothy McVeigh - but it wasn't until the WTC collapsed that we were focused on them. I was such a gleefully oblivious kid! Reality was probably defined by TV and little weekly classroom news supplements printed by Newsweek.
Danny Darkosaru_kage on January 8th, 2009 06:20 am (UTC)
I know the popular conception is that the US was more or less oblivious until Japanese bombers suddenly appeared out of nowhere in the skies over Hawaii, but the US had already been pretty well set on an anti-German agenda years before official involvement in the war. The shipping of food and military equipment to Britain had been going on for years with the Lend/Lease program. And when you look at the sort of serious economic warfare that the US had been engaged in around the Pacific during the late '30s right up to December 7, 1941, a Japanese attack was basically inevitable. By 1941 we had completely cut off the Japanese oil supply, and they either had to go on the offensive, or perish as an empire altogether. It's obviously more complicated than that, but that's the nutshell version.

Anyway, the 9/11 parallel I was talking about was the burning of the Reichstag. Hitler became Chancellor of the Weimar Republic in January of '33. He then started pushing to dissolve the parliament and call for a new election, thereby gaining a National Socialist (Nazi) parliamentary majority. Then one night at the end of February 1933, the Reichstag started burning. The war cry was: "ZOMG! Bolshevik plot! The communists are trying to overthrow our republic!" Hitler then convinced president von Hindenburg to pass the Reichstag fire act which suspended most of the civil rights guaranteed to the people under the Weimar Constitution. This led to the wholesale suppression (and often the murder or imprisonment) of the political opposition to the Nazi party, which led to the Enabling Act, which allowed Hitler to rule by decree, which led to the Night of the Long Knives, and the Night of Broken Glass, and to the Lightning War, and to Dachau, and Auschwitz, and Triblinka, and so forth.

Again, nutshell version, but there are a lot of creepy parallels between Hitler and his SA, the Reichstag fire, and the Enabling act; and Bush and his Neo Cons, 9/11, and the Patriot Act. There used to be a really great documentary on the rise of the SA that either PBS or the History Channel used to show, but I haven't seen it for a while. I think it was actually called The Rise of the SA, but I might be wrong about that.