I want to make a few points about the “Flight 93” metaphor, in general, and as an election or cultural guide.
First, the passengers on the actual Flight 93 acted in a hope against hope, awakened to a terrible reality, with little time to do anything. They were left with the options of (a) doing nothing and accepting their fate, along with how many others might be killed, (b) panicking and hoping for someone else to save them, or (c) acting, knowing that they should expect to die in the act.
None of those options presented themselves as a solution ending in other than death. Their hope was found in the slim possibility of taking back the aircraft and subduing the hijackers, and in the act of doing the right thing.
Making “Flight 93” the metaphor for the 2016 election presumed several things. Chief among them is that we are just now awakening to a reality that the political left wants to kill us all–if not literally taking our lives, then by offering us the option of accepting tyranny under their solopsistic hive rule, or the silencing and castrating of our liberty and God-given rights.
Secondary to that are the beliefs the left is mendacious at its core, politics is prime in power, and there is no time to act, lest the plans of the left find fulfillment in a candidate ready to fly the hijacked government into our sacred and essential institutions.
None of that is really true. Conservatives have known for decades what the liberal triple-threat of campus, boardroom, courtroom wants to achieve. We’ve known that they seek to remake our nation with a new Constitution, if not by rewriting the old, then by redefining what it actually says in the text. We know that they’ve made higher education into an indoctrination camp for more and more radical liberals.
Taking over the “hijacked” election would not (and has not) solved this. What is has done is stirred up a few hornets, and many conservatives have gotten painfully stung (along with liberals too).
But let me make a bigger point. The left now has its own “Flight 93” attitude regarding climate change, and I might say theirs is the more compelling metaphor. They are telling children that we are now awakening to a world where there are just 20, no 12, no 2 years, no 18 months to do something radical to save our planet.
They are telling kids that conservatives, Republicans, led by Donald Trump, are evil, keeping those who wish to save the planet from doing so. They are telling kids to shame adults into not flying on airplanes, eating meat, or driving cars because of climate change. They are without any hope that their own kids might enjoy a better future because we are killing the planet.
In that environment, these kids are left believing they are real passengers on Earth’s “Flight 93.” They only have hope in a radical solution that may very well take their lives, but they know they have a small hope they can wrest control–by any, even violent, means–from the evil hijackers and save themselves and many others who will be harmed.
They believe that acting is doing the right thing, because accepting the future is only consigning everyone to certain death.
This is the bigger threat of using “Flight 93” analogies, that it can be used in much more damaging way.
We must avoid this kind of rhetoric simply because the rhetoric of moral panic and extremism leads only to more moral panic and extremism. We have problems that can be solved. We can in fact work together to solve them, though we may disagree with our liberal friends (and yes, I have liberal friends) on the best way to do that.
Painting liberals as the 9/11 hijackers does nobody any favors, and only leads to liberals painting us in the same way. Unfortunately, their analogy has a more attentive audience. That’s troubling.