Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 6 Share on Twitter 2 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 9/11/11

9/11 Ten Years Later

By       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   8 comments
Follow Me on Twitter     Message Andrew Schmookler
Become a Fan
  (31 fans)

By Andy Schmookler For Congress

For many people, 9/11 "changed everything."   They discovered that the world was a lot more dangerous place than they'd believed.

It didn't change everything for me.   During the decade before, I'd been hired by the U.S. Army to help with a project whose purpose was the prevention of biological terrorism.   How great are the dangers that lurk in the world was not news to me.   I was stunned but not surprised; I grieved the loss of lives, but not the loss of my own innocence.

What changed the world for me was not 9/11 itself, but its aftermath.   In the years after the terrorists struck, that terrible day became the justification for major changes in the American system.   Federal laws were swept aside in the conduct of surveillance and in the treatment of prisoners. Habeus corpus was disregarded. The role of "commander in chief," given scant treatment in the Constitution, became inflated into a license to upset the constitutional system of checks and balances.

For all that ├é-in this American nation that I love--I was not prepared.   That scared me more than anything the terrorists might do, short of their possessing a nuclear arsenal.

I was born in the immediate aftermath of World War II, and so was raised in a nation that was still processing that traumatic and heroic struggle.   Practically every family, every community, every part of the American demographic bore its share of the burden and the danger of that worldwide struggle against very dark forces threatening to take over the world. Almost a half million Americans died in that effort, and many millions more bore scars both physical and otherwise.

But we got through that most dangerous time without indulging our fears.   Indeed, the leadership of that time was of the courageous sort that had declared in the years prior to the war that we had "nothing to fear but fear itself."

In the wake of 9/11, however, it was quite different.   Instead of "nothing to fear," our leaders' message was "Be afraid."   Terror alerts were issued, even though there was nothing the citizenry could do with them except become more afraid. The mantra of the era was "the war on terror."

In these two historical periods, we see leadership operating in two different spirits.   The one cultivates fear in the people, and uses it at their expense. The other reassures the people, relying on their buoyancy to bring out their best to meet the challenges of adversity.

Psychology has shown that fear makes people's intellectual and emotional processes more primitive, less governed by reason. History shows that leaders that work to magnify the fears of their people are not serving their followers but using them.

As we honor the 10th anniversary of 9/11 , with new dangers apparently lurking, our goal as a people should be to be vigilant but not fearful.   This is, after all, the home of the brave.

Well Said 1   News 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Andrew Schmookler Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. His new book -- written to have an impact on the central political battle of our time -- is (more...)
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Follow Me on Twitter     Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Why Do Conservatives Like Colbert? Article Plus Critique

Mel Gibson's Rant as Profound Clue

To Anti-Obamite Lefties: It Doesn't Matter If You're Right

How Important is the Loss of Friendship?

# 8 Beliefs that Make Liberal America Weak: Barriers to the Source of Moral and Spiritual Passions

Power and Corruption: Just What Is Their Relationship?

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend