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

Latest in Comment

  • Beware, Be Ready
  • Beware, Be Ready

    Simple, sensible precautions can make all the difference when "the big one" hits
    • Jul 22, 2015
  • The Trumpenstein Monster
  • The Trumpenstein Monster

    Publisher's Note
    • Jul 22, 2015
  • Who Do You Trust?
  • Who Do You Trust?

    Republicans are howling about the Iran nuclear treaty, but after a century of bad advice, should we even listen?
    • Jul 22, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue
Moscow ArtWalk 2015

Moscow ArtWalk 2015 @ Downtown Moscow

Tuesdays, Thursdays, Sundays. Continues through Aug. 31

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Ted S. McGregor Jr.

Most Commented On

  • Patrolling While Black

    Gordon Grant's nearly 30 years as a Spokane cop have been affected by race, but that's not the whole story
    • Jul 8, 2015
  • Rushing's Rant

    The Airway Heights City Council has asked the mayor to resign after posting a racist Facebook message
    • Jul 15, 2015
  • More »

© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation