Did We Learn Anything From September 11th?

"Hey mom, do you think what happened on September 11 could happen again?"

My 7-year-old son, Mr. T, asked me that this evening and I had to answer him honestly. "Yes, but I wish I could lie to you and tell you no so you don't worry about it."
"Yeah, I think it could happen again, too" he told me, "because people are selfish and they care more about money than other people," he replied. "And they're so racist, and they fight with each other...and look at all the homeless people. "

He's right. And with the growing extremes of wealth and poverty in the world, the endurance of racism and the tacit disdain for people who believe differently than we do, I often ask myself, did we learn anything from September 11th?

One of the things that still moves me about what happened on that day is how so many people connected and helped each other regardless of differences in race, religion, culture, language or gender. There is such possibility when we come together as a human family. Listening to Mr. T talk, listening to him get all worked up about how we don't have to have another September 11 if we all try to love each other and stop thinking we're better than someone else--how many of us adults believe that? And how many of us are working toward that in our individual lives? Not reading about it, not writing about it, but engaging in our communities, with our neighbors?

I still feel so sad about George Bush's telling us to carry on as we normally would--to go shopping. He encouraged the American people to go back to sleep. Don't wake up from the "Matrix". But I have to believe that one day we will wake up. The lives lost 10 years ago, and across the world in subsequent atrocities--wars, famine, genocide--due to our persistent inability to see the world as a neighborhood can't be in vain.


nick said…
How many times have I thought, if only people would collaborate with each other rather than fighting one another, what a fabulous world it would be! Unfortunately self-righteousness and belligerence are always too widespread for such an idealistic scenario.
Liz Dwyer said…
I know we're going to get there one day...but the "in-the-meantime" of what's happening to society is a tragedy. There was a moment on 9/11 when the world was united and politicians and insane "religious" zealots squandered it.

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