Friday, September 9, 2011

Post-9/11 unity isn't coming back

I may be feeling particularly nihilistic this morning, but I don't see the point of spending much energy lamenting the loss of our post-9/11 "unity," as President Obama does in an op-ed for USA Today:
Firefighters, police and first responders rushed into danger to save others. Americans came together in candlelight vigils, in our houses of worship and on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. Volunteers lined up to give blood and drove across the country to lend a hand. Schoolchildren donated their savings. Communities, faith groups and businesses collected food and clothing. We were united, as Americans. 
This is the true spirit of America we must reclaim this anniversary — the ordinary goodness and patriotism of the American people and the unity that we needed to move forward together, as one nation.
Ten years on, that unity seems like a mirage. We are sweatily intimate with the details of what divides us in this country—so much so, at this point, that I believe the next terror attack would be more likely to further expose those rifts than to even temporarily obscure them. Each side would suspect—and accuse—the other of exploiting the attack to further whatever agenda was already on their plate. And each side would probably be right. Instead of grief and anger, we'd just have anger.

There is no more good faith. We can't wish it back.


Kelly said...

Yes, Joel. Your point of view is indeed more nihilistic than usual. I had no knowledge you had absorbed so much of the toxin that was injected into our society on 9/11. You mainlined it, apparently, a direct injection into your heart. And that makes me profoundly sad. Please give yourself a wide margin of grace for being human, for being in a terribly dark place now with your body full of pain, and for being dependent upon the unknown to supply your needs.

It will get better, if you let it. You are loved by many people too numerous to note here, and though it may not be important to you, I love you too. Da

Joel said...

Kelly: I'm not endorsing this state of affairs. It's a bit of a lament, actually.

BMG said...

You're right in the narrow political arena. I think you're likely wrong if you step away from national politics. Since 9/11 we've had other moments of national unity, however fleeting (and the unity of 9/11 was pretty fleeting also ... for me it fled as soon as GWB said "the rest of the world will hear you soon") -- I don't recall great rifts revealed and exasperated by Joplin, e.g. Or was that disaster just too small to reveal such things?