July 4, 2003
September 11th 2001 crashed its reality into me when, dripping
from the shower and toweling myself off, the phone rang and
Tripp asked me if I knew what was going on?
So when Tripp phoned me yesterday and asked me what was going
on I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up. No, I
didn't. Nor did he. But from where he stood in his office
window at the U.S. Court of International Trade he could see
a small fleet of black helicopters swooping around lower Manhattan.
The subways had ceased running north and south and people
milled in the streets waiting to find out what was going on.
It was, thankfully, a false alarm but one that brought an
edgy city to a standstill for hours. I did not breathe easily
until Tripp had told me the Court had sounded the all clear.
A business associate told me it had taken him two hours to
get to his office; the first thing he did when he got out
of the subway was to phone his wife to make sure she was fine
and to make sure she knew he was fine.
We are an edgy city and yesterday demonstrated the depth
of the edginess.
An investment banker friend told me he has noticed the number
of machine gun toting soldiers has risen dramatically around
the city the last few days. Happy 4th of July!
Last week I was in the Midwest and driving to various points
gave me a lot of time to listen to the radio. It was an interesting
experience, hours in a car, awash in talk radio.
I listened to insightful exegesis regarding the Supreme Court's
decision regarding sexual privacy for consenting adults of
all sexes and listened to rather fearful discourses from the
religious right regarding the negative moral impact of that
London, New York and Los Angeles I learned are the global
capitols of a new male movement which is called "metrosexuality"
- referring to straight men who spend enormous amounts of
time with their feminine selves, including a great deal of
time spent choosing clothes and maintain a healthy glow to
There were titillating reports about the new book on JFK,
Jr. with both radio and newspapers and television reports
gleefully reaping readership and ratings on the back of what
sounds like a tragic marriage.
Against the backdrop of the bucolic American Midwest, sitting
on the bank of a lake, watching the sun play off the water,
I read and listened to reports regarding [at least to some
commentators] the dreadful state of preparedness we are in
should there be another terrorist attack. Words that worked
their worry with me yesterday during the false alarm that
shut down the lower third of Manhattan.
I have spent some time on the phone with a business man who
is working in Iraq now, a smart guy who was called in by the
U.S. Government to help restore basic services. He has experience
in this: he helped do it in Bosnia. His concern, shared by
many commentators, is that we have won the war but are rapidly
losing the peace. His anguish is based on experience. And
his anguish reflects my own concerns.
A client of mine, a very liberal Democrat, found the news
in the New York Times so distressing he couldn't continue
reading. He finds every action by the Bush Administration
repugnant. We had a conversation, speculating that Bush and
Company were shaping American democracy into an Athenian style
oligarchy - a thing which I don't think could be good, if
And all of this conversation was framed by a long interview
with a writer and analyst whose name I did not catch on NPR
who spoke eloquently and articulately about the current need
for America to understand that Imperialism on our part was
a moral and political necessity for this time. He was very
persuasive though I have to admit I find all this Imperial
talk unsettling, especially as it seems to include a need
for our streets to be patrolled by uniformed men with machine
Happy July 4th.