Revolutionary change does not come as one cataclysmic moment (beware of such moments!) but as an endless succession of surprises, moving zigzag toward a more decent society. We don't have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world. Even when we don't "win," there is fun and fulfillment in the fact that we have been involved, with other good people, in something worthwhile. We need hope.
The New Yorker’s George Packer is with us today. The 9/11 attacks were the biggest surprise in American history, he says. One of just three sets of attacks that provoked the United States into major war. 1861, the Civil War. 1941, the Second World War. They changed our political culture, he says.
But after 9/11, says Packer, we’re stuck. Not changed –- yet.
We used the cold war to reach the moon and spawn new industries. We used 9/11 to create better body scanners and more T.S.A. agents. It will be remembered as one of the greatest lost opportunities of any presidency — ever.