Today is September 11th, 2008, the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States. It’s also the day after I started listening to Thomas Friedman’s new book, Hot, Flat and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution and How it Can Renew America.
Although I’ve just begun it, the book talks a lot about post-9/11 America, missed opportunities and our focus on security over freedom and collaboration. As Friedman states it, since 9/11 America has been in a "defensive crouch"…not the best position for a country that considers itself to be a world leader.
Having just started the book, it’s hard to know if this is where Friedman’s argument will ultimately go, but it seems to me that 9/11 currently has more impact on our daily lives than July 4th.
9/11 is about fear, uncertainty and the desire for security. 7/4 is about freedom and democracy. We can choose how we wish to be defined: are we about fear, or are we about democracy?
We all have gone through personal tragedies, or know someone who has–be they natural or man-made. Some people never truly recover, while others become stronger, even if they were scarred by the event. They don’t allow themselves to become defined by that event, except in the fact that they were able to overcome it and go on living.
I’ll continue to observe 9/11 and mourn those who died, but I refuse to let it cloud my vision about this country’s potential…about the principles it was founded on: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
I choose to do what I can to focus on freedom; in the way I live, in the way I act, and in the way I vote. I hope you can do the same.
"He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither." — Ben Franklin