Tuesday, November 19, 2019
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Remembering 9/11…Again

A year ago today, I told my own “Where were you when 9/11 happened?” story. If you missed it, you can find it here.

September 11, 2001 was supposed to be a wake-up call for this country. It was supposed to acquaint all of us with the fact that terrorism could happen even here.

I remember that infamous phrase passed around: “a failure of imagination.” All of us had it. We failed to imagine that such a terrible thing could happen in this country.

Recently, a major hurricane made landfall in the United States. It seems that we had another failure of imagination. This time, though we were supposedly prepared after decades of hurricane preparedness and local, state and federal plans designed to deal with precisely such a catastrophe, we found ourselves in another wake-up call: we are not as prepared as we thought we were.

Did our imagination fail us again? It seems so. People who were in the direct path couldn’t imagine that the storm wouldn’t make a merciful last-minute turn. People in positions of authority all the way up the line couldn’t imagine that those now-well-known disaster projections would ever really come true.

This time, the wake-up call was even louder: in an emergency, we must depend on ourselves and us alone…something we should have known from the very beginning. If the local government acts quickly enough to help us, well that’s great. If the state government jumps in and makes sure we’ve got all the resources we need, that’s all the better. If the federal government swings into action and actually helps us deal with what has happened within 48 hours of it having happened, we’ve practically won the lottery!

But before we depend on anyone else, we need to be able to depend on ourselves. It’s a shame that four years after 9/11, so many of us still haven’t figured that out.

2 Comments

  1. They don’t see an advantage in having adequate emergency relief planning, an excess in funds available to pay for healthcare or actually addressing the root causes of terrorism. Cronyism and payoffs to the richest of rich? Well, sure, that’s just good sense. Actually looking out for the larger body of American citizenry? Not so much.

    Which is precisely why, in an emergency, the LAST thing one should do is to sit around expecting the government to provide.

    Certainly it should. Certainly it’s wrong to let Joe Average suffer. But if that’s what’s happening, Joe Average has a choice to make: either do the best he possibly can to prepare himself for an emergency that will likely leave him suffering MORE than he was before the emergency occurs, or do nothing and somehow muster up hope that after the emergency the government that has never adequately met his needs will somehow suffer from a dramatic change of heart.

    I don’t think, given those two choices, that doing the best we can do to rely on us instead of “them” is such a bad idea.

  2. It’s really too bad you seem to have taken exactly the wrong lesson from 9/11, Katrina, etc. If anything, these events demonstrate how this attitude of “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” doesn’t work, never did work and never will work. In fact, the entire administration of George W. Bush has been an object lesson as to the utter failure of “small government.”

    Of course, Bush & Co. only want government to be small and stingy when it’s paying out to Joe Average. They don’t see an advantage in having adequate emergency relief planning, an excess in funds available to pay for healthcare or actually addressing the root causes of terrorism. Cronyism and payoffs to the richest of rich? Well, sure, that’s just good sense. Actually looking out for the larger body of American citizenry? Not so much.

    Our current form of government was established with the specific mandate to “promote the general welfare.” If it’s failed in this most basic regard, to the point where we feel we can only rely on ourselves, then the American experiment is finished.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 28 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.