The enormity of the events of Sept. 11 made some of us wonder how we would cope in a new world of uncertainty. Yet somehow, the country has survived the past year and commemorated the first anniversary of the day when everything seemed to change.
Out of necessity and duty, we yielded to a time of remembrance. We relived the horror of learning that the sense of security we had once taken for granted was shattered instantaneously.
It’s true, many of us will never forget that day. For our parents’ generation, time will never erase the Kennedy assassination, and for our grandparents it will never avenge D- Day. For this generation, and for the nation, 9/11 is our dastardly rite of passage and the event that destroyed our innocence.
The flags throughout Tallahassee and on our own campus are a testament to this. Yes, the entire country is struggling to get back on its feet, and patriotism has served as a mighty crutch. But has our nation has truly been transformed for the better by 9/11? The answer is a resounding no.
We barely batted an eye when the United States violated the Geneva Conference, instituted blatant propaganda, and virtually legalized ethnic and racial profiling. We stand on the sidelines as the cowboy we call our president attempts to eliminate the process of checks and balances altogether in the name of “homeland security.”
Even journalists, whom we once depended on to pursue the truth, tiptoe around the obvious for fear of political backlash. Why won’t the press just come out and ask the most logical questions about Iraq: Will attacking a country we believe to be a nuclear threat somehow make it less likely to use those weapons?
If Hussein is such a threat, why would he wait until America declares war to act? How did we get into the issue of Iraq in the first place?Whatever happened to bin Laden?
My best friend, a student, posed these insightful questions. Don’t expect to hear them on any cable news station, though. These questions come naturally to us, to our friends and our professors. But why aren’t they being answered? As a community, we must be careful of falling victim to political amnesia. We must ask the right questions, form our own solutions, and offer support that is active, not passive.
African Americans, minorities, and all Americans who have fallen victim to atrocities fueled by ignorance, racism and false perceptions of God have a heightened responsibility at this time in history. We are those with the power to effect the positive change that has eluded this nation thus far. We cannot afford to shuffle along as a nation of drones and allow our most embarrassing history to repeat itself. This time around, let’s do something different. Let’s make a change.
Tara Lake, 23, is a graduate student from Hillside, N.J. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org