September 11, 2001 began like any other day for me. I got on the bus to work and had two things on my mind; what was the weather gonna be like for that Saturday, as I was going on a river clean-up with the local chapter of the Sierra Club, and what time was my alma mater's game, for I had plans to get home from the clean-up, patch into a radio feed, and maybe order a pizza and pick up a cold one.
Alas, we know the rest of the story. But, at some level, I can't help but think the terrorists actually picked up a victory.
They have managed to create a climate of fear that lingers today. The smoke had barely dissipated in New York City, the Pentagon, and a field where a few courageous passengers, among them a fellow martial artist, managed to overpower the hijakckers and force them to crash land, when Bush began what now may be a new Cold War.
It was this climate that allowed the Constitution, especially the fourth and fifth ammendments to be crippled in the name of "National Security". This climate that allowed Congress to abdicate it's power to wage a war to what has now been proven in many cases to be lies, and led to the death of 1000 men and women and perhaps added fuel to the fires of terror.
It is this climate now that has made any criticism of the government or any of its policies (especially foreign) "unpatriotic". This knows no bounds; athletes (Carlos Delgado), musicians(Dixie Chicks, Linda Rondstat), and especially actors and filmmakers(you know who).
Even I'm not totally insulated from this. While I'm fairly outspoken on-line and in private, a sign in my window I carried at the Anti-RNC Rally in New York and some bumper stickers on my car are about as public as I'll get with my dissentions. I'm in a bit of fear over what happens if I were to ever truly be found out.
But the terrorists were unable to wreck the democratic process. And this gives the citizens a choice. Allow the climate of fear to continue, and the fires of terror to be fueled, or elect people committed to seeking another path.