The Freedom Tower, the building proposed to fill the World Trade Center site, or a least the most prominent one on that site, has been redesigned yet again. Apparently all the self-congratulatory design competitions and ceremonies for the site in the years immediately following the attack were just for show, as this most recent proposal has nothing to do with higher ideals of any sort.
The new proposal is a glass tower on a massive fortified concrete base. 20 stories (!!) high almost windowless concrete. Basically, a fortress. Or a prison. It wouldn’t look out of place to have a gun turret or anti-aircraft weaponry on the roof. My daddy’s reaction was, “this says: ‘we have no faith in the future.’” I think he’s right. The site could have stood for all that is good and open and innovative about the United States. The can-do spirit, the possibility of re-invention, tolerance of all kinds of weirdos, mixtures of a multitude of races and creeds, all living together. Sometimes the U.S. is like that anyway. And the site could be a way of saying THIS is what we believe in and what we stand for.
This instead is a big fuck you to the rest of the world at the entrance of NY harbor, it says we are isolationist, protectionist and closed. As dad suggests it says we don’t think things will get better, we don’t believe good will triumph; instead we think things will get a lot worse. It’s back to medieval days for us.
On a purely practical level, what kind of attack are the people who thought of this expecting? A car bomb that could somehow get across a well-protected plaza? Didn’t the previous attack come from the air?
I think it’s not really about the practicalities of security or protection, but about symbolizing an attitude, a climate of fear and of a walled-in nation.