9-11 and the World I Used to Know
I was working in clubs at that time. After a late night, it was uncomfortably early when my phone rang. My wife of two months told me to turn on the TV. She said something big had happened in New York.
11 years have passed but it still stings. Though it doesn't sting for the reasons that most would think. The Army veteran part of me wanted to go back to active duty and help where I could. The husband with the newly-pregnant wife knew that his duties were at home.
The sting comes because my kids will never know the America that I have. The TSA, terror levels and ridiculous legislation in the name of “security” have forever changed the world in which we live. Our country, our lovely melting pot, has become xenophobic and intolerant; perfectly content to sit at home and watch another episode of Honey Boo Boo.
Some would say that when fear overtakes a society, the terrorists have won. I'd agree, to an extent, but I also think that it's deeper than simple fear.
If it's true that we reap what we sow then we as a nation deserve what we've gotten in the years that have followed this tragedy. Instead of banding together, becoming stronger and finding a way to live with the world in peace, we've focused on racial profiling, scare tactics for our own people and relinquishing ourselves to a future where the government tracks your every move.
We've become soft.
My kids will never know the excitement of a plane ride without the frustration and anxiety of a TSA checkpoint. They've been born into a society that looks at brown people as bad, scary or somehow negatively different. They live in a world where someone saying that they're a Muslim is equated with extremist acts of terrorism. Even as we break down walls separating gender and sexuality, we put more in place because of the color of someone's skin. We're reverting in important areas, stifling our progress in others.
So yes, the sting is still there. But these days it's more self-inflicted. It's that nagging sensation that comes when you know you're surrounded by preventable hatred. It's the understanding that people haven't changed, yet our perception of them has. It's the knowledge that we've somehow allowed the carefree to be replaced by the cautious. We've let our world be changed, and we have no one to blame but ourselves.