I have to disagree with the premise of Juliette Kayyem’s Sept. 10 op-ed, “On anniversary of 9/11, fear is present but not all-consuming,” that we have mostly moved on from the trauma of the Sept. 11 attacks. Rather, I think we have replaced one delusion with another.
Prior to 9/11, we lived in an illusory bubble in which our supremacy as a nation separated us from barbaric dangers lurking elsewhere in the world. Now that our illusions of security have been shattered, we inhabit a world defined by “us” and “them,” a world that many consider rife with danger not only from overseas bogeymen but from fellow citizens who look or think differently from the mainstream or who insist on seeing the nuances in our political issues.
The events of 9/11 remain the subtext of our current wretched political process, which feeds on the fear and greed that arose out of that event. It’s why we have a Tea Party today, which thrives on the notion that the government is “them,” when really it is us. It explains the dissonant saber- rattling over the death of Osama bin Laden at a feel-good Democratic National Convention that otherwise sounded nary a hostile note.
Only when our broken political process begins to mend itself will I believe that we are on the road to healing from 9/11, as the two are inextricably linked.