That episode was from 2000 or 2001. That's really what liberals were like back then, happy to watch the moves towards cops getting Imperial Stormtrooper powers to step on dissidents, happy to see climate activists jailed while losing interest in the people who gave us McVeigh. Then 9/11 happened and all the cops were just the WTO cops and everyone could be thrown down the same hole as someone who spiked trees or sabotaged construction equipment.
We were always going to get here, somehow, specific collective trauma or no. We had it locked and loaded. We would have found an excuse to become what we are. And given how we treated the world, someone was going to take a shot at us anyway, so I guess that worked out. Ultimately, remember that while much is said about Obama inheriting Bush's powers, so did Bush inherit from Clinton.
The proto-stage of post-9/11 American fascism was made to stomp out objections to our obscene post-Cold War victory lap across the planet. All Bush's retinue of ghouls really had was an excuse, and the will to actually start crossing lines outside of "special circumstances" and let hypernormalization do its thing.
Unstoppable shitposting engine.