I was speaking the other day with several people who were Obama supporters. As I always enjoy hearing people’s well-informed opinions, I asked them what it was that the President had accomplished that most impressed them.
As I waited for a response, I noticed a lot of hemming and hawing as people tried to put their finger on something specific which they liked about the President’s policies. The answer I got from most was, “Well, he’s a lot better than Bush – and all the problems we’re having are because of Bush. They’re not Obama’s fault.”
I have an historical perspective of the world so the fact that the President of the United States might “inherit” problems from his predecessor is a thesis which I am willing to consider. Combine my historical view with my interest in science fiction (how a change in the “time line” might have a profound effect on the future) and I am right in my element. Allow me to offer a few examples.
An ordinary man, a husband, a businessman and the father of two is returning from a long day at the office. Suddenly he runs over a massive pot hole in the street, loses control of his car and is killed. The world will be a different one for his survivors, his neighbors and his business associates because of this tragedy. However, his death will probably not have a profound impact on the world – because, as I said, he was an “ordinary” person.
A second case involves WW II. Can you imagine how different our world would be if Adolph Hitler had succeeded in defeating the Allies? If I were even alive to write this, no doubt I would be doing so in German, not English. That change in what happened historically would have profound implications for our world and how we would have been living our lives for the last seventy years.
Certainly as President of the United States the decisions and policies that that person makes are going to have a profound effect on the future of this country, its citizens and the world. For that reason I wanted to consider the explanation that “it’s all President Bush’s fault.” And in the interest of trying to find another instance where history determines the future I considered the tragedy that befell us on 9/11/01. Who truly was to blame for this disaster?
I was born in Manhattan and as I watched the first plane crash into the Twin Towers I cannot describe my horror or my feeling of emptiness and disbelief. This was an assault not only on my country but on my hometown. I took this personally. As the tragedy unfolded and the towers collapsed, I realized that I had three business associates whose offices were in those buildings. Days later I learned that they had died. I took their deaths personally – very personally.
In the days and weeks following, as I emerged from the emotional numbness that I’m sure most of us felt, I began listening to the reports about what had happened. For the first time I heard the name Osama bin Laden. I didn’t know the man – but I didn’t like him. I didn’t like the sense of fear that most of us experienced, constantly looking overhead to see if another plane was going to drop out of the sky. I didn’t like the heightened sense of security and having to worry that there were cadres of other terrorists – some perhaps planted in this country years ago – who might any moment receive their assignment to perpetrate another horrific act. I don’t think that any American, or for that matter any civilized person throughout the world, liked any of this.
But after my conversation about how all of our present problems stem from President Bush I decided to question the reports about who was really responsible for over three thousand deaths on 9/11. Was it truly this bin Laden character – or was he merely the person who had set the wheels in motion for a plot that had been conceived many years prior and by someone else?
In 1626, Peter Minuit purchased Manhattan from the Lenape Indian tribe for a reported twenty-four dollars. The Dutch settled in the lower end of the island and began building a home for themselves in this New World. There was a great deal of land on Manhattan Island and relatively few settlers – so naturally the buildings were generally one story tall, two at the most. But over the years, these settlers had children, new arrivals came to America and so the settlement grew outwardly and horizontally. There was no lack of land to accommodate them.
Over several centuries New York became a much more densely populated place. The land had pretty much been used up and there was a lot of overcrowding. But then came Elisha Otis. The year was 1854 and the place was the New York World’s Fair where Mr. Otis unveiled his greatest invention – the elevator. This invention forever changed the landscape and the skyline of Manhattan and the world.
No longer were we restricted to building one and two story houses – we could build skyscrapers – and the Flat Iron, Chrysler and Empire State buildings could be born. Of course, so could the Twin Towers. Had it not been for the elevator and its inventor, there could have been no tragedy on 9/11 because there would have been no buildings to implode. But if Mr. Otis had a hand in that day’s disaster, he was not alone in this nefarious plot.
Enter the Wright Brothers, Orville and Wilbur. We all have heard about their first flight in an airplane in Kitty Hawk, NC in 1903. As culpable as Mr. Otis may have been in the 9/11 plot, his work was insufficient to carry it out. He needed the help of others to complete this plan. Had it not been for the Wright Brothers, mankind might have abandoned our dream of flying through the air in a machine. And ultimately, it was the successors to their invention, today’s modern aircraft which enabled the co-conspirators to close the circle and engage in the devastation which occurred that fateful day.
Yes, the real perpetrators of 9/11 were the inventor of the elevator and those who gave us the gift of flight. I believe my logic is consistent with my friends who support the precept that “everything is President Bush’s fault.”
But once set loose on a path and investigation I am as relentless as a pig looking for truffles. Have I gone far enough – or is there more to be uncovered?
As I thought about it, if it had not been for George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and the other Founding Fathers, there would have been no America that the terrorists of 9/11 would grow to hate. I must consider the possibility that our early American “patriots” might also have been involved in this plot.
I’ll let you know what I find out.