A feature, alas, of public commentary after the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks: far too many pundits simply trot out their favorite hobby-horse and take it for a media ride.

Some interpret the tragedy as God's wrath, a response to the United States's tolerance of abortion, homosexuality, etc. Some are inspired to leverage events into political gain for their party. Some suggest immediate investment in a quick fix --- new security technologies, intelligence strategies, law enforcement powers, and so on. Some beg subsidies for their suddenly-threatened industry. Some call for military strikes, or diplomatic initiatives, or economic sanctions. And the lawyers are already out in force, preparing to file suits.

Thus far, based on major press coverage, there's not a lot of visible evidence of thinking. Most broadcast and printed commentary could have been predicted based on the spokesperson's prior record. "The usual suspects...", in other words.

But on a more individual scale, things may indeed be different now. William Butler Yeats wrote (in Easter, 1916) some lines which echo:

All changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

Maybe a shift has begun, in subtle ways, in diverse directions. A friend (JS) tells of "a cold and steely-eyed determination in the air" --- much different from what he sensed back in the Persian Gulf and Viet Nam era. Another friend (JD) writes: "I will garden in the dirt all weekend. I imagine that dirt is very significant if one is to remain connected with what is good about being alive."

Real people seem to be a little more polite ... more appreciative of their loved ones, friends, neighbors, colleagues, communities ... more aware of life and its beauty. Some talking heads and op-ed writers show signs of the same awakening.

The wind has begun to shift. Dawn is nearing. Hope....

(See AwaitingNess, FragileBeauty, ToProtectAndToServe, WorldTradeCenter, ...)

TopicSociety - 2001-09-18

(correlates: Buss and Ride, Steely Eyed Missile Man, UnfortunateMisparsing, ...)