A contemplation of the long term effects of the events of September 11,2001
Have you ever wondered if he really meant to do that?
When September 11, 2001 is thought of, mentioned, discussed, or remembered, it is with horror so mind-boggling that it’s still difficult to process and sorrow so deep that it was and is being felt hundreds of thousands of miles away as though it was yesterday. But with that sorrow and grief, there is also anger.
“How dare anyone challenge the United States of America in such a horrific way?”
“How could anyone be so diabolical as to attack innocent people?”
That anger was felt from the moment the first airplane hit in icy, overwhelming ripples that didn’t just span the US, but throughout other countries – neighbors, allies, and victims of the events occurring in the US. And it fueled the country and its neighbors and allies, uniting us in a way that was almost poetic.
But, did the terrorists who spent months and years plotting and planning the events that unfolded on September 11, 2001 sit down and plot their “short terms goals and long term goals”? There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Osama Bin Laden intended to deal a harsh and crippling blow to what he considered the epicenter of Western evil. He intended to show the US that they were not as awesome as they thought they were. But did he intend to strike like a viper and then move on to the next lesson to teach Western society? Or did he think, “If I get this plan to go off on 9/11, the world as we know it will end, I just have to be patient.”?
Did he contemplate the long-term effects of his actions beyond the day of attack and its immediate aftermath? Because the effects are certainly continuing.
Why do I say this?
Because through the grief came the anger – which is a normal part of grieving. As the dust settled and things got clearer, the US as a whole realized that they were no longer safe. Safety in our own homes, our own towns, our own states… our own country was gone. Poof. In the space of less than two hours. Two. That was all it took for the entirety of the US to lose their sense of security. If he could hit New York and the Pentagon the way he did with that much success when would he hit somewhere else in the US? His associates – the ones who actually executed the hijacking and attacks – they’d been hiding in plain sight right here in the US! Were there more?
People who’d been sobbing on each other’s shoulders days before, mourning the loss of so many lives and helping each other cope with everything began looking at each other with suspicion and doubt. And so began the long, slow descent into madness.
Over the last eighteen years, the US has sought someone – anyone – to fix the country. The people wanted to feel safe again. The people wanted to return to the innocence of thinking “it’ll never happen here”. The people wanted the overwhelming anger they had regarding the losses of that one day to ease and to stop magnifying every little thing. But they had no way to cope, it was so very overwhelming.
“Surely this president will fix the country, make it what it was before September 11, 2001.”
“Well, he couldn’t so this guy surely will.”
And all the while the anger has festered, rotting the US from the inside out. At the current rate of hate, racism, discrimination, and cruelty, the US will absolutely destroy itself. It’s backsliding so fast down the slippery slope that I’m not sure what can slow or stop that momentum. It’ like the country as a whole is caught in an endless cycle of anger, bargaining, – although who to bargain with is fuzzy at best – and depression.
“I can’t believe people aren’t being properly *insert whatever is the annoyance of the day*!”
“If we just do this *insert fix of the day*, it’ll be better.”
“Well, crap, that didn’t work either, I guess I’ll *insert method of handling depression* and go to bed.”
How do we break this nightmarish cycle? How do we stop the backward slide? How do we find our way through to acceptance that things will never be the way they were before September 11, 2001? There is no group therapy that can possibly be organized to work through the anger and depression. There is no quick fix to the problem because the problem lies with the loss of trust and safety and innocence. And as a country, accepting that things are different means that we have to accept a new vision of ourselves as a country and that’s terrifying. What if it’s not as good as the last vision?
We know the terrorists wanted to hurt and devastate the US on September 11, 2001. We know it. But were they fully aware of the seeds of destruction they were sowing that day and how those seeds would slowly destroy the US from the inside out?
And at the end of the day, do we really want to let the terrorists win? Do we really want to let them destroy this country? Is accepting that we, as a country, have been changed and now need to embrace that change and let ourselves move beyond the hate, anger, and depression so difficult that the United States of America must become the Divided States of America?