From 9/11/01 to 9/11/21By Stephen Golub, A Promised Land, September 11, 2021
2001: United Flight #93 terrorists’ attempted attack on the Capitol, foiled by heroic passengers acting together.
2021: Insurrectionists’ successful seizure of the Capitol, egged on by a demagogue tearing us apart.
2001: Terrorists from abroad, determined to destroy our way of life.
2021: Terrorists from here at home, determined to do the same thing.
2001: The day after the attacks, an empty sky, devoid of both planes and faith.
2021: A virtual sky, filled by vitriolic, disinformation-spewing social media.
2001: An attack driven not just by violent religious radicalism, but by the notion that the attackers’ faith, beliefs, people and tribe are better than others’.
2021: A cancerous, home-grown tribalism fueled by resentment of the racial, ethnic, political and geographic “other.”
2001: America united.
2021: America asunder.
2001: Freedom defined in terms of democracy, humanity, commonality.
2021: Freedom defined as Me First, Screw You.
2001: Decrying the sickness underlying the attacks.
2021: Suffering through both a literal plague and a sickness that prioritizes selfishness.
2001: We have met the enemy, and they’re half a world away.
2021: We have met the enemy, and they are some of us.
But let’s remember:
2001: An unprepared president not up to the job, who misled us into horrific misadventures abroad and an economic crash at home.
2021: A president, inevitably imperfect but defined by his humanity and wealth of experience, and easily overlooked recent and prospective victories such as the massive March 2021 American Rescue Plan, which among other things helped cut poverty nearly in half, with even better results for children.
More than the Twin Towers fell on September 11, 2021. But for all our faults, America has always been about building and rebuilding a less imperfect union. True, sometimes it’s one step up and two steps back. But sometimes it’s something far better.
Even as we look back with sadness, even as we contemplate the state of play today with wariness, we can still look ahead with some semblance of grit and hope.
Benicia resident Stephen Golub offers excellent perspective on his blog, A Promised Land: Politics. Policy. America as a Developing Country.
To access his other posts or subscribe, please go to his blog site, A Promised Land.