We met the true face of evil on September 11th, 2001 and it left us standing helpless in the streets, looking up and asking “Why?”
The unfathomable scale of violence struck us dumb. Violence creates very complex grief. There’s never a way to make sense of it. Why? For what purpose? What did it achieve? Why my beloved? Questions that echoed back with no answer. Questions that are asked everyday in other parts of the world, but not here. Not in America.
“Systematic brutality, usually done with an innocent expression, which seems to make insanity look sane.”
“There is no conscience attached to evil. The shadow it casts over our values makes them seem trite. Evil parades as sanity so as to undermine our sense of reality… Evil is calm. It looks sane.” —Companion Through the Darkness
“The intangible is hard to bandage.”
In the years that have followed, we’ve done, as a nation, what all young adults do—we’ve gone to extremes, stumbled from one conclusion to another looking for the enemy, and awakened to the enemy within our own ranks. We’ve been hoodwinked by our own leaders into wars that did not heal us, but only served the private agendas of despots among us.
We’ve made monumental mistakes and are paying the consequences. But we’ve also matured. We’ve pulled together, rebuilt and re-visioned our future. We’ve learned and forgotten and learned again. And we will continue in that direction forward because that’s just what we do.
Human beings can only be oppressed for so long. We will only go along with lies for so long. Eventually, the human need for truth triumphs. The founders of our country knew all people have an inalienable right to freedom. Freedom of choice. Freedom of thought. Freedom of belief. Freedom of expression.
America is the greatest experiment in diversity that human civilization has ever known. It demands tolerance on a mass scale. But it’s that very diversity that, as Darwin said, is vital for a species to evolve and thrive. Even on our knees, we continue to invent, produce, and create more than any other country in the world.
We will take our grief from 9/11, embrace it and transform it into something meaningful. That’s the American way.
*(Thing Called Love, Bonnie Raitt)