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Paul Krugman Wins for Worst 9/11 Take This Year

People gather at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum in New York on September 11, 2020, as the US commemorates the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

Today is a solemn anniversary, as we remember those who were lost in the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001. Those of us who are old enough to remember that day and the fear and uncertainty will never forget it. The events of September 11th still reverberate in the terrible power those events gave to fear and hate. The invasions and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the massive loss of lives and atrocities committed there. The expansion of government power, surveillance, and militarization in the name of “homeland security.” We can’t understate how 9/11 changed the world … but the New York Times’ Paul Krugman certainly tried.

When the history books write about the worst tweets, this tweet thread will get a special place of honor for its utter ignorance, snobbery, and attempts to rewrite history.

While Krugman’s later point, that the real monsters are the ones right here in America, is not wrong, he’s incredibly off-base in other ways. For one, the white supremacists who continue to threaten the very fabric of our democracy were emboldened by 9/11 and the virulent, horrible Islamaphobia that gripped the country it the wake of that event.

Luckily, Krugman didn’t waste a Times column on this revisionist history, he said it on Twitter. And so the entire nation united to tell Krugman off.

It must be nice for Paul Krugman to reminisce about a 9/11 where everyone took things calmly. Where we weren’t gripped by fear and hate for decades after. It must be nice that he remembers a trip to the Virgin Islands in the aftermath, because apparently the thing to erase the memory of years of racist, biased violence and hate is just a vacation made less expensive because of tragedy?

Paul Krugman here is the epitome of white, rich privilege. He can literally afford to rewrite history because it didn’t happen to him. He felt the fear for a little while, felt the grief, but he was able to walk away from it, take a little trip to the Virgin Islands and pretend it was all okay. It wasn’t. Nothing was okay then and nothing is okay now.

We can’t fix the present if we refuse to look to the sins of our past, and Paul Krugman should know better.

(image: ANGELA WEISS/AFP)

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Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.