Liberalism in the Rearview Mirror
On September 10th, 2001 I was 33 years old. My husband was an NYPD officer and we lived in a co-op that we could not have bought without help from our parents. We were $50,000 in debt from credit cards and I was working as a graphic artist and occasionally a dog trainer for extra cash (at least something I enjoyed) all hoping one day to realize my dream of being an international rock star. I had been a professional musician in the past living hand to mouth but as time went on, I realized I had to fall back on what I went to college for to get a real job to pay at least some of the bills. I was still pretty much an overgrown child but slowly learning about the realities of grown-up life.
I always believed in same-sex marriage, never cared or judged anyone for their race or religion and never cared if anyone was gay, straight, transgender etc. I was also pro-choice and still am to a point. I was and still am a live and let live person if you do no harm to others. I wouldn’t say that I was outwardly patriotic, but I did feel that America was the best country in the world and I never would dream of being a citizen anywhere else. I went to school during a time where I would leave classes that focused on societies around the world thanking God that I was an American and didn’t have to endure socialism, communism, or sharia law.
The 1988 Presidential Election was the first time that I got to exercise my right to vote. I went to the polling place with my parents and excitedly pulled the lever for Michael Dukakis. Why? I liked his wife Kitty. I also grew up in a Democrat-voting family. My grandparents had a photo of JFK hanging in their home. My grandmother would proclaim “Democrats are for the working people.” Both of my parents voted for Democrats most of the time, although they were registered as Independents. They claimed to keep open minds on the off chance they may vote differently but they never did. I did the same, registered as an Independent but voted Democrat up and down the ballot.
I voted for President Clinton both times. He was young, good looking, charming and played the saxophone on the Arsenio Hall show during the 1992 campaign. Yes, I thought, this guy is going to be an amazing President.
When the 2000 Presidential election rolled around, I was not engaged at all. I hated George W. Bush. Why? Because he was one of those out of touch, rich country club Republicans who was not very bright (The mantra of my family about all Republicans). I also hated Al Gore. I thought he was a goofy buffoon, and I also hated his wife Tipper for imposing warning labels on music in the 1980s, I even wrote a college paper on who much I hated that and her. Looking back now Tipper would now be considered a conservative “Karen” and she doesn’t seem so wrong now. I decided to sit the 2000 Presidential Election out. I didn’t care which one won. My husband who had voted for Clinton in 1992 but not 1996 was furious with me for not voting and now we disagreed on candidates. He has increasingly become more conservative, not about social issues but over foreign policy and military spending. I couldn’t care less about that stuff; it didn’t affect me directly until it did.
I now have a saying. “It’s very easy to be a liberal until the shit hits your own fan.” On September 11th 2001, I left our parents’ mostly paid-for co-op in Queens, went to the bus stop to get the commuter bus to go to my job. I had my bass guitar with me as I had rehearsal with my band that evening after work. It was a gorgeous day. Not a cloud in the sky, the temperature in NYC was about 70 degrees. There could not have been a more perfect morning in NYC.
I got to my office early, around 7 am so I could get most of my work done before everyone arrived at 9 am, when I would be constantly interrupted. Sitting with my headphones on listening to music while working, the first plane hit the Twin Towers. A friend of mine from my previous job had called me and told me to get out of my office and go home. I thought he was crazy, this had to be just a terrible, tragic accident. I didn’t have a radio, just a CD player and went back to listening to music and continuing to work.
Then the second plane hit. My husband called me telling me what was going on. A few people had begun arriving at my office, but many couldn’t get there because the subways and bridges and tunnels were shut down. We had one small tv in a conference room which was crowded by people trying to see what was going on. By 10 am I told my boss I am going home. She told me there was no way I could, everything was on lock down.
My office was near the Empire State Building, which everyone thought would be a potential next target.
I was scared, probably the most frightened I had ever been in my life, but I was not outwardly panicking. It was tough to get any information, cell service was spotty. My father-in-law worked on Wall Street, and we couldn’t find him.
I remember going downstairs to the street to smoke a cigarette. I saw people wandering around in a daze, others screaming and crying, watching ambulances and police cars speeding downtown. It was surreal. It was a mix of panic for some people, and quiet disbelief. When I was able to reach my husband again, I begged him to please wait for me to get home before heading in to the city.
I could go on and on about that fateful day. Many things are blurred in my memory and some very vivid. My last memory before I could finally leave the city was walking up 34th street towards 5th Ave when the subways finally reopened at 1 pm. I saw a huge ball of black soot come rolling up 34th street passed me as I entered into the subway.
I didn’t see the towers fall until I got home and turned on the tv. I had no words. My husband eventually went to Ground Zero with one of our German Shepherds to assist with the then futile rescue effort. He now suffers with COPD and will for the rest of his life. We did find my father-in-law finally by 10 pm that night. He called from a friend’s apartment near the trade center. I later learned that a couple of people that I had gone to high school with perished that day. Many police officers that my husband knew also died that day. We saw all Americans united in their anger and grief, 9/12/01 was probably the last time we saw this country united.
It was after September 11th, 2001, I become more patriotic than ever before. I decided to research things on my own regarding political candidates. I researched President Clinton’s policies and his foreign policy as well as his predecessors. When things interest me, I want to know all that I can -- and now I was interested. Before this my most pressing interest was researching liner notes to see which obscure musicians played on which old pop songs. I no longer voted for people for frivolous reasons like liking or disliking their wives or because they played musical instruments. I watched primary debates for both parties, as well as every debate be it national or local candidates. I also no longer skipped voting in elections. I also became more fiscally responsible; we paid off our credit cards and were able to buy a house on our own. I was able to start my own successful small business. I realized that I had to become a responsible adult to achieve success.
I also stopped voting for Democrats from that point on. Although 9/11 occurred during George W. Bush’s presidency it was President Clinton’s foreign policy and whittling down of our defense spending that set the stage for this to occur. I have watched the Democrat party devolve into a mix of Marxists, Fascists, and Nazis marching us towards socialism, communism, and complete authoritarianism. I am watching the Democrat party spend this country towards becoming the Weimar Republic.
My husband and I were unable to have children which was always my biggest regret in life, but now I think God has done us a huge favor. I wouldn’t want to have children and grandchildren dealing with what could be coming if we continue this way.
Liberalism however is in my rearview mirror. Although I cannot say I am a true conservative. I am more of a traditional libertarian if you want to put a label on it. However, I just consider myself just a commonsense American who loves this country.
The events unfolding in Afghanistan now right before the 20th anniversary of 9/11 have me, like many of us, vacillating between anger, frustration and sadness.
Only in this country can its citizens have the freedom to hate it, the woke insane cancel culture has infiltrated everything from schools to sports. When people are hired solely for their appearance, race, or gender, instead of ability you get mediocrity in important positions in the government which is a danger to everyone.
I have been saying that it will unfortunately take another catastrophic event like 9/11 to shake people to their core and unite us all again, and I fear we are standing on the precipice of that occurring again.
All because no one asks questions anymore. If you question the groupthink you are isolated and ostracized. Everything is politicized from covid to textbooks. No one trusts our government anymore, thanks to a sycophantic media and a dumbed down public thanks to CRT.
Candidly I would be one of the dumbed-down public too had 9/11 not personally affected me. As I said, it’s easy to be a liberal until the shit hits your own fan and I fear that a tidal wave of it will hit everyone’s fan sooner than later if people don’t wake up, become individuals again and question our elites and leaders at every turn.
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