political opportunists might use the attack to turn Americans against each other. But I would never have guessed that 10 years later the wars would still be going on, seemingly endlessly, and I grossly under-estimated the political divisions that would emerge from the attack, and I never imagined the growth of the security state.
We’ve now had the 10-year anniversary, and I wondered what my students thought of everything that’s happened. So yesterday I asked them—what are the most important events of the last 25 years? (Most of the students are about 20 years old—I chose 25 years of recent history so that the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 could be included; one student called it).
I was very surprised when no student included the 2000 Election! So I included it for them….
Looking at this, I guess I have to see the 2000 Election as the seminal event of our time—if we can engage in counterfactual historical speculation, we can assume that Gore’s reaction to 9-11 would surely have been different than Bush’s, that the Iraq War at least would not have happened, that the huge tax cuts which contributed to the Great Recession and ongoing Government Limitations would not have occurred, and perhaps the flooding of New Orleans would have been better handled. But maybe not. Who knows?
At any rate, I urged the students to pay attention to all this, everything, to the world around them—to the tumult of the ongoing crises and also to the people going about their daily lives. I told them to use their awareness in their writing, of course, but to also pay close attention because their future grandchildren will want to know what life was like during this complex and confusing time….