are not pretty. Rightfully enraged by the terrorist attacks on us on Sept. 11, 2001, the United States responded vengefully, wreaking havoc on lands and peoples thought to be complicit in the development and sponsorship of fanatical extremists. Those men, who used their anger against the Western way of life to try to destroy the symbols of that way of life, were wrong for what they did, but we too were wrong in responding vengefully.
In the ten years since that dreadful day, we have not gotten better as a nation or as a democracy. We have become polarized over religion, polarized over social issues, polarized over politics. For a few brief moments, post-9/11, we seemed united as a nation and the world was united with us.
Now, and in my opinion largely because of our vengeful response, we have estranged ourselves from much of the world, from our own best interests, from our own best nature. The terrorists (or the guiding light behind the terrorists) somehow knew that to do something unspeakable to us would encourage us to bankrupt ourselves financially, morally, and spiritually, in an attempt to get revenge. And that is exactly what has happened.
We have largely forgotten the heroism of those who responded immediately to the destruction, the courage of the first-responders who sacrificed themselves for others, the bravery of those on airplanes who called home to say goodbye and then deliberately crashed the fateful plane in a Pennsylvania field instead of in the White House.
We call up their memory on each anniversary, we support their families and loved ones, and we grieve their deaths and disabledness. But we do not let their heroism deter us from our need for revenge. And that is where America made its big mistake.
We now are on the brink of financial disaster, neighbors and friends are alienated over treatment of those considered "The Other", whether gay, lesbian, Muslim, Mexican, or anyone different, millions are jobless because of the financial decisions of corporations whose primary concern is profits, not people. And the entire world population is affected by these conditions in our land, because we called for revenge, not for rebuilding of connections, not for diplomacy or negotiated peace, not for recognition of the ways our privileged lives had impinged upon others we did not even know.
On this ten year anniversary, I honor the survivors, the heroes, the ones who responded to tragedy with love. I mourn those sacrificed by others' anger. And I cry for my nation, this land I love, which made such a rash decision post-9/11 to go to war instead of finding a peaceful and non-violent response.