Welcome to the Age of Dishonour
We’ve watched the slow sliding descent for some time, and it’s now unescapably apparent that we are neck deep in the age of dishonour.
I remember greeting the arrival of the 21st Century with a sense of optimism that actually surprised me. Being Generation X, I was naturally cynical by nature, and having a hobby of studying history just compounds that cynicysm.
So, realizing that an event as mundane as moving the calendar another year forward, had somehow lifted my spirits and gave me hope caught me unprepared. There was a feeling that things were changing, but I wasn’t used to the thought that life might actually get better rather than worse.
I was willing to entertain the possibility though. After all, no matter how dedicated you are to a pessimistic and cynical world view it still gets tiring to maintain it. There’s no reward for doing so. I was tired of being jaded and figured why not have a holiday in optimism for a change?
That positive optimism didn’t last long though as in less than two years my optimism got flushed when I watched passenger jets get flown into the World Trade Center.
To be accurate I didn’t watch the first one, I was listening to the radio news talking about how a jet had accidentally hit one of the towers while I was driving to work that morning. I had the twinge in my brain thinking: ‘that doesn’t make sense. How does a passenger jet get that far off course?’. Then I shelved the thought as I pulled into the parking lot and went into work.
That accident was the main conversation in the shop of course, and everyone was speculating over what could have happened to cause such an accident. I was watching the little CNN window on my monitor at the front of the shop while printing orders and checking inventory on the computer.
I looked up from an order I had just printed to confirm the gear numbers on my screen when I watched as the second plane came in and impacted the tower. I went numb and remember calling out to my co-workers near me that the crash wasn’t an accident. Of course they asked how I knew that, and I told them a second plane had just hit the other tower.
Most of them came running up to the desk to see the cnn footage while I backed away. I was shocked into a sense of profound detachment. I wasn’t really processing anything. It was as though speaking out loud of what had happened had truly driven home what I had seen, and what it meant.
I was so staggered mentally and emotionally that I went home. I couldn’t focus on anything except what I had seen, and it kept replaying over and over again in my mind.
Well as everyone that remembers 9–11 can attest to, the day got worse as the rest of it unfolded. I watched, with a lead-weight in my gut as flights 93 and 77 added to the tradgedy and the toll. I remember watching the towers come down, and watching the people fleeing. It seemed like the shocks would never end.
I remember going out on the front yard later that afternoon and having a smoke, back when I still smoked, and the quiet catching my attention.
At the time, I lived in Vancouver (Burnaby) on the Canadian west coast. And from where I lived up on the hills, I could see all of downtown Vancouver proper laid out ahead, and below me.
The greater vancouver area was always noisy. There were always 4 or 5 flights in the air to be seen either approaching or departing the international airport.
Now there was none, and the quiet of their absence was immense. I had never seen a day with no planes, but of course that day was different. Everything was grounded, because everything had changed.
I had thought I was used to evil, having studied history. The world wars, the rise of racism, and christian nationalism in the US, Stalin, Pol Pot, Hitler, The Crusades… I knew that evil wasn’t wearing a sign that pointed it out. I knew that evil was horrifyingly ‘normal’ in appearance. But I was still caught unawares with the magnitude of evil that was enacted that day.
The evil that was perpetrated on September 11th 2001, was no different than evils being carried out today. Perhaps the scope could be considered as different. Perhaps the numbers of those affected by the acts could be considered as different. But I don’t know, in the end if evil can, or should be differentiated by that kind of criteria.
The evil that was perpetrated by those murderers that called themselves martyr, and those that orchestrated it was, in the end no different that the evil carried out by Derek Chauvin when he knelt on the neck of George Floyd and murdered him.
I realise that there are multitudes that will disagree with that view. There are those that will castigate me for the comparison, but because of what I know about evil, I stand by my opinon. Because in the end it’s about what evil truly is, what makes something an evil act?
It’s a choice.
It’s knowing that something is wrong, and choosing to do it anyway. It’s knowing that someone will be hurt, injured, killed, etc, and choosing that action despite knowing.
It’s a simple choice.
A con-man losing an election, and choosing to put all the effort into selling a lie about why he lost. That con-man’s supporters choosing to support that lie and carry it forward.
US Senators choosing to obstruct bills to help veterans because they are angry with their colleagues.
Justices of the US Supreme Court choosing to perjure themselves during their confirmation hearings in order that they can succeed to the court, and then choosing to remove protections for women’s bodily autonomy and reproductive rights.
A sad little ex-KGB agent choosing to twist history, and invade the Ukraine because of his dreams of grandeur.
A woman in Central Park choosing to call the police and file a false report because she didn’t like being called out by a black man.
A Government, and Churches choosing to hide and ignore the deaths of thousands of children in their ‘care’ at residential schools because they couldn’t be bothered to take responsibility, or tell their families.
Banks and Investors choosing to sell investments of high-risk mortgages even though they knew that they would fail…
All of these choices are examples of evil. Simply because they knew it was wrong, and made the choice to do it anyway.
The fact of the matter is that evil happens every day, and we let it. We do not hold those responsible accountable for their choices. Not legally, not even on a societal or community level. And so these acts of evil persist.
“All that is required so that evil may triumph, is that good men do nothing.”
Welcome to the Age of Dishonour. Don’t forget to visit the gift shop before you exit.