We all know what day it is. Rod "friend of this blog" Dreher certainly knows, since he witnessed the falling of the towers and has been stewing in the cultural, political, theological and journalistic implications of those events ever since (as have so, of course, so many other talented writers).
Rod has a new piece up at the Culture11 site, a meditation for today. The headline:
A Blessing and a Curse
Seven years later, our distance from 9/11 -- and one another
Dreher describes the atmosphere in New York City in the days after 9/11 and some of the unbelievable acts of charity and civic unity. Then he offers this passage, which reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from the immortal G.K. Chesterton. I'll but the Chesterton quote at the end. Here's Rod:
Maybe poetic memory has enhanced the beauty of that time, but I recall thinking then how I'd never lived through this sort of thing. There was no such thing as irony, as sarcasm in public, no space for anger at each other. We were one. I'm a conservative, and a religious conservative, but when Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson blamed lesbians and feminists and sundry cultural liberals for bringing the calamity upon us, I became unhinged with anger at their indecency.
These people they condemned were my neighbors. We had far more in common in our humanity and our American-ness than we had dividing us. They would have done anything for me then, had I needed it. And likewise from my side. A year earlier, I'd been fighting in print and online with the gay sex columnist Dan Savage, who lives in Seattle, over some nasty stunt he'd pulled attacking the conservative Christian politician Gary Bauer. But on September 12, he wrote me personally to ask if I was okay and to send his regards. I appreciated it. It was an act of generosity and even love. I would have done the same to him under similar circumstances.
Of course it couldn't last. Many people hoped, and maybe even dreamed, that 9/11 would change everything. It didn't. It couldn't possibly have, people being what they are.
And now, here is Chesterton, responding to a request that he write a newspaper essay on what is wrong with the world:
Sincerely yours, G. K. Chesterton