Pin It
Favorite

Less Perfect 

What happened to the unity we felt after September 11?

click to enlarge art16929.jpg

It felt like things were going to change. For all the horror of Sept. 11, 2001, a new feeling washed over the land in its wake: Our Divided States of America were United again.

But how would we respond?

Would it be a smart, Marshall Plantype approach to healing our broken world, or a shoot-first-ask-questionslater, Vietnam model?

Pretty soon, it was shock and awe over Baghdad, Freedom Fries and two sacrifice-free wars charged to our Chinabank credit card. Then Karl Rove decided he could parlay the whole human tragedy into a political windfall — a permanent Republican majority, he called it. You were either with ’em or against ’em. For the people we chose to lead, nothing had really changed.

But here, 10 years later, and despite being nearly bankrupt and badly divided, the American people have changed, I think. Too many have had empty chairs at the dinner table to deal with; others just long for a country that makes sense again. The loss goes beyond the victims and the soldiers — some of the trauma is from people realizing that, in the face of a generation-defining moment, our leaders chose to divide us. They failed history’s test.

Political parties are the problem.

When the only job-creating industry in the country is the party machines that sow the seeds of discord among American citizens, you know we’re in trouble.

George Washington saw all this coming and warned us. Citizens, he wrote, should be “indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest.” His “Farewell Address” also has views on war, the economy and taxes that will tingle your spine; reading it is as good a 9/11 memorial as you can get this week.

Most Americans have been seeking, in their own ways, a deeper national life since 9/11 — many are reconnecting with their local communities, from Main Street to the family farm, or seeking to tread more lightly on the land. We can reform our society to honor the sacrifices so many have made; a new common sense movement would be a great start. Let’s just not call it a party.

There was a moment, on that indelible day, to live up to our best American selves. Many did, and have ever since — first-responders, soldiers on their third Afghanistan tour, the ones who aren’t coming back — but our leaders whiffed.

A more perfect union? As old General Washington knew, political parties aren’t interested. We’re going to have to do that for ourselves.

Ted S. McGregor Jr. is the Editor and Publisher of The Inlander.

  • Pin It

Speaking of Politics, election 2012

Latest in Comment

  • The Landed and the White
  • The Landed and the White

    How Americans followed tradition when they voted for Trump
    • Jan 12, 2017
  • Do Something!
  • Do Something!

    Writers Resist, MLK Day activities and more ways to engage with your community
    • Jan 12, 2017
  • On the Street
  • On the Street

    Will you tip differently because of the minimum wage increase?
    • Jan 12, 2017
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon
MLK Celebration: Donisha Rita-Claire Prendergast

MLK Celebration: Donisha Rita-Claire Prendergast @ Spokane Falls Community College

Wed., Jan. 18, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Ted S. McGregor Jr.

  • Fake-News Nightmare
  • Fake-News Nightmare

    The social media dream of the 2000s is fading, but we can reset the system by sticking up for the truth
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • BOOKS
  • BOOKS

    From Twin Peaks to the darkest reaches of our galaxy, there's a new book for everyone on your list
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • Trump wins: America's great state of disconnect
  • Trump wins: America's great state of disconnect

    • Nov 9, 2016
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Thanks, Obama

    The legacy of the 44th President goes far beyond the election of the 45th
    • Dec 29, 2016
  • One Free Shave

    Donald Trump might have merited a honeymoon with voters had he managed his transition better
    • Dec 29, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

scandal


scandals


Comment


Briefs


green zone


Readers also liked…

  • To Kill the Black Snake
  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • Otter Incompetence
  • Otter Incompetence

    Idaho's governor and his staff can't even get the easy things right
    • Sep 16, 2015

© 2017 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation