Monday, July 04, 2005

"We're about the Fourth of July"

I believe that history will make very clear that President Bush shamelessly exploited the emotions around 9/11 for political purposes. He used those 9/11 emotions to take a far-right Republican domestic agenda on taxes, the environment, and social issues from 9/10--an agenda for which he had no popular mandate--and drive it into a 9/12 world. In doing so, Mr. Bush not only drove a wedge between Americans, and between Americans and the world, he drove a wedge between America and its own history and identity. His administration transformed the United States into "the United States of Fighting Terrorism." This is the real reason, in my view, that so many people in the world dislike President Bush so intensely. They feel that he has taken away something very dear to them--an America that exports hope, not fear.

We need our president to restore September 11 to its rightful place on the calendar--as the day after September 10 and before September 12. We must never let it become a day that defines us. Because ultimately September 11 is about them--the bad guys--not about us.

We’re about the Fourth of July.

--Thomas L. Friedman, The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century, pp. 451-52.