[thelist] A Nation In Turmoil

dean at digital-crash.com dean at digital-crash.com
Sun Sep 16 18:55:49 CDT 2001

Much has been said following the vicious attack on America about 
America’s response. The knee-jerk call for blood has gone out. The 
media continues to inundate us with new reports about every 
conceivable aspect of this tragedy and the topic of conversation in every 
break room and office in our country is terrorism and what America will 
do about it. 
The typical call to “bomb those responsible back into the Stone Age” 
has been heard and heads nod in agreement with every echo of that 
sentiment. Flags are at half-mast around the country. A drive down any 
busy thoroughfare in our nation shows that we do indeed want God to 
Bless America. 
As we struggle to come to terms with the violence that greeted us on 
September 11th, the anger toward our enemy is quite evident. It is the 
anger we harbor towards our government, our politicians and ourselves 
that is being neglected. 
The image of America as inviolable, a refuge for the world’s poor, tired 
and homeless, the defender of justice and the beacon of truth was a 
mantle that every American wore lightly until those two towers came 
crashing down. Now that mantle is as heavy as the tons of rubble that 
cover the victims of our nation’s sons and daughters, wives and 
The people responsible for this terrorist action are easy targets for our 
anger. It is our own wounds of responsibility that are hard to touch. The 
pain is still too new and fresh. 
In our anger we know that our societal rules and policies allowed this to 
happen. Our own inflated sense of security, our national pride allowed 
us to continue believing that we were untouchable. Now, in our grief, 
through our tears, clarity is painful. 
President Bush has already said that ending terrorism will be a long and 
painful process. This will quite possibly prove to be the biggest 
understatement in history even given the understanding that the rhetoric is 
necessary. While most Americans are just now coming to terms with 
how this could happen we haven’t even begun to question why this 
The ideology behind the terrorism that plagues us is as foreign in concept 
to Americans as the people that carried out the act. This Saturday, while 
many American parents were taking their children to soccer and football 
practice, children in terrorist nations were busy learning how to assemble 
AK-47s, blindfolded. While our children are watching music videos, 
terrorist children are learning how to shape C4 and what detonators 
work best with high-explosive charges. 
Americans are correct in their assertion of not understanding. We don’t 
want to understand. The passion that drives terrorism makes us uneasy. 
Our moral tenets make us targets. Our inability to understand makes us 
victims. In the wake of this tragedy, the realization that we must learn 
and understand this madness makes us angry. 
The sacrifices that have to be made are many. The grumbling that will 
follow will be loud. Our freedoms have been attacked and dealt a severe 
blow. The understanding is painful. Realizing that we share the blame is 
The carefree attitude Americans had regarding their freedoms and their 
entire way of life came crashing to the ground on September 11th, 2001. 
To the pile of rubble we can add the weight of our own grief, the sorrow 
of the families of the victims and the sacrifices of the next generation of 
To the list of labels we apply to terrorists we can add dangerous, 
determined and unfortunately, successful. Make no mistake, the acts that 
were carried out against America and her citizens were indeed a success 
for the terrorists. We have been forced to rethink our policies, limit our 
freedoms and deal with an entity that until now we have largely ignored. 
The test for America’s people is not whether we will shed a tear, we 
have shed many, but whether we will blink. Our resolution must be 
tempered with the knowledge that this battle will be long and painful, 
fought by our children against an enemy they cannot understand. 
Until we can claim victory, we can take some assurance in the fact that 
while we grieve, America, and her people, remains solemn and 

Sapere aude

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