On Sept. 11, 2001, the United States rejoined its fellow nations in finding itself vulnerable to attack.
Because it was attacked.
Americans had grown complacent since what, Pearl Harbor, 59 years and 9 months earlier?
They aren’t anymore.
While increasingly cautious, which is good, and arbitrarily suspicious, bad, Americans overall have gained little wisdom from 9/11. We’ve fallen back to our habits of labeling rather than identifying, posturing and not pondering, and rashness instead of rationality.
The country moved fairly quickly into not one but two wars propelled by the al–Qaida attacks. Who’s to say if al Qaida or similar groups have changed their plans much because of Yankee firepower. What’s known is that eight years and a wholly different White House later, plans to draw down the military from both fronts are largely set in a vague future.
Meanwhile, the Good Depression (the Great Depression was suffered by the Greatest Generation, and at best we’re just a Good Generation) has settled over the country and worldwide, while every day the government reports slightly improving economic statistics. Similarly, worries over North Korea and Iran — and Israel/Palestine — would be about like they are, had 9/11 not happened.
National and local leaders should be fearless, for these are perilous times. (Yes, local, even on the level of a school tax increase election next Tuesday, where whether this is the right time, the right amount and the right allocation has ramifications for years to come.) What we’re given, what we see, is mere querulousness. Why? Being querulous tempts officials and the opinion conduits, as it’s easier and appears decisive.
But it’s merely distracting.