The attack on 9/11 is an interesting example of where America is at.
First, several polls show that a majority of Americans doubt, mistrust or otherwise question the official government story about 9/11. It isn’t that the majority of Americans are conspiracy theorists. Americans are simply doing what they should always do: keep a critical eye on their own government. But what is the government’s response? Deny and dismiss. And what is the mainstream media’s response? Ignore or ridicule. What do those in positions of authority refuse to do? Look at the evidence and the expert opinions, and respond to the concerns of the public.
It’s strange. If you only casually pay attention to this subject, you’d assume that the 9/11 truth movement is just a bunch of conspiracy theories from the lunatic fringe. Even Glenn Beck dismisses the 9/11 truth movement… for political reasons as it’s ammo for him to dismiss the Obama administration by attacking Van Jones. I find it rather ironic that Glenn Beck is a self-identified “populist” and yet on so many issues he is out of touch with popular opinion.
Anyways, my point is that the 9/11 truth movement is filled with many normal people along with many respectable people: firefighters, police officers, pilots, architects, scientists, professors, former CIA employees, politicians, foreign government officials, and of course various famous people willing to put their name on the line. The 9/11 truth movement is mainstream, but you wouldn’t know that by what the mainstream media tells the public.
Part of it is that the American government has lost a lot of it’s respectability. This was mainly caused by Bush jr’s administration and the propagandistic cooperation of the media. People genuinely rallied around the flag after 9/11, but all they got for it was years of deception and manipulation. By the time Bush jr left office, America had lost it’s moral standing in the world and the economy was collapsing.
Most Americans are still ignorant about the long and dark history of America covert operations, but they just feel something is wrong with the government. Americans feel used and abused, feel that no one is on their side. But they don’t know where to turn to or who to trust. Some grasp onto the paranoid doomsaying of Glenn Beck or the righteous rantings of Bill O’Reilly who have only become major voices of dissent fairly recently. Others turn to the charismatic libertarianism of Alex Jones or the intellectual libertarianism of Noam Chomsky who have been voices of dissent for many years and decades even. And then there are those who watch Comedy Central and try to find some humor in dark times. But where ever Americans turn, they’re looking for someone to explain to them what is wrong, to tell them they’re not fools for being worried.
Unfortunately, the ignorance of many Americans ends up making them fools… but can you blame them? How can the American public be anything other than ignorant when they’re being lied to all of the time and can’t figure out what is true vs what is spin. One person says one thing and another says something completely different. How does the common person evaluate the vast amounts of contradictory data? This is particularly a problem as the school system doesn’t offer much in the way of educating the public about how to think critically, how to determine the validity of info, and how to analyze complex issues from multiple perspecties. I suspect the average person doesn’t even know how to effectively use a search engine.
So, I may call many Americans ignorant and I may laugh at Glenn Beck, but I don’t dismiss the genuine concerns… the fears and doubts. I encourage everyone to question. However, without critical thinking skills and trustworthy sources of info, questioning is useless or even dangerous when it leads to fear-mongering. I feel Americans are going through a collective shift right now where they’re being forced to learn how to think for themselves. It’s a whole new ballgame with the internet and cable’s 24 hours news/commentary. Long gone are the days when people listened to Walter Cronkite and felt reassured when he said “That’s the way it is.”