10 years ago last night, I was sitting on the tarmac in a horrible thunderstorm waiting to take off from Newark to move to London. The next morning, I landed to start a new chapter in my life – and shortly after, the world blew up.
Everything changed, they said. But it hadn’t yet: it wasn’t Sept. 11th, 2001 that changed everything. It was our response that changed everything. Our unconscious decision to live the last 10 years under the cloud of that day’s events has changed everything. Had the unity and solidarity that everyone said would last forever lasted for more than a couple of months, then maybe we would today have a functional government. Maybe the world wouldn’t be quite so fractured.
It’s interesting to think about how the world would be today had we reacted differently. It’s equally interesting, if a little unrealistic, to imagine Sept. 11th not ever having happened. There are some great articles here about how things would be if Sept 11th, 2001 had not happened. A favorite, from Fareed Zakaria, is “History would have been delayed, not denied.” No matter what, we were going to be faced with a catastrophic attack on our own soil by angry people.
But we didn’t have to react this way. We could have kept our heads, gotten on with what needed to be done, and not elevated these people to the ranks of ‘greatest threat we’ve ever faced.” We could have gone and fought them without launching a “War on Terror.” It’s the first, and I hope the last time that any civilization has launched a war on a battle technique. It made no sense, and still doesn’t , and (without oversimplifying the world) it’s one of the main reasons we are we are today – or should I say aren’t where we should be?
Did I mention I’ve started graduate school for television writing? That should be fun!