I don’t have much to add to my thoughts about 9-11 other than what I wrote last year. I have seen nothing in the overall actions of the US government to make me think that anything is really being done to bring the perpetrators to justice. Be that as it may, the time has come to face the facts: the world faces threats far more horrible than terrorism. I say that as someone who works in lower Manhattan, arguably at the front lines of America’s war on terror. Yet that war is not the worst we face, by any means.
A war on cancer has been placed on the back burners while billions were spent in overseas wars. Obesity is winning the war on America’s health. The war on the environment rages on, with the forces of climate change clearly in control of both the battles and the overall war. And the war on women and children continues across the globe, from sex slavery to a lack of education for female children.
At some point 9-11 will have to turn from a day to remember a terrible tragedy (and trust me, it had more effect on me than almost any other experience in my adult life – I will not forget it) to a day to reflect on evil defeated, at least in the short term, by good. The outpouring of support from the rest of America and the world on that horrible day should remind us that there is a deep well of human compassion as well as strength to pull together. I hope someday we’ll move past arguments in America about who loves their country more and start thinking about who is willing to wage all-out war on cancer, on climate change, on the mistreatment of the people least able to defend themselves, on intolerance and religious extremism.
Evil people will always be with us, but that should not drive the actions of good people. The events in Madrid and London reminded us that evil won’t die – it just sleeps for a while. At the same time, the whole world is lifted up by efforts for change. When female children are educated, mindsets change. When brothers aren’t killed fighting in religious wars, hearts are less heavy. When efforts to make cleaner air and water come to fruition, everyone benefits. America’s 9-11 will always be a harsh reminder that evil people will kill for no reason, but America’s 9-11 will grow – I hope – into a day that shows that good people come together in the face of hatred and fear and evil; they overcome and endure.