Following the trauma and drama of 9/11 we started discovering in some new way our nation’s meaning—what it was in history, meant in history, meant to us. We talked about it. We saw: The first thing the firemen did after the towers fell was put up the flag.
Twenty years in our history is treated as all sin, sin, sin. We’re like mad monks flagellating ourselves. We are going through a nonstop condemnation of our past and our people and their limits and ignorance. It isn’t healthy. Reflection and honest questioning are, but not this. And so much of it comes from our most successful and secure, our elites and establishments. Regular people look and think, “But if our professors and media leaders and tech CEOs hate us, who is going to help us think our way out of this mess?” And they know someone has to, because they know in a way elites can never understand, because they have grown so used to security, that no nation can proceed in the world safely and fruitfully when at bottom it hates itself.
Watching the ceremonies last weekend it was understandable if you thought: We started out rediscovering our love and wound up obsessed with our sins. We started out together and wound up more divided than ever, driven apart by opportunists who set us at each other’s throats.