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in the long run, 9/11 didn't bring us any closer together

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in the long run, 9/11 didn't bring us any closer together

what if americans don’t really share any coherent, unifying cultural or idealistic values anymore?on sept. 14, 2001, rocco chierichella, a retired firefighter working at ground zero, couldn’t hear president george bush, who had come to speak to the rescue crew. he shouted as much to the president.“i can hear you!” was president’s spontaneous reply. “the rest of the world hears you! and the people, and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.”the crowd broke into a chant of “usa! usa!” at the time, it seemed that the rest of american society did, as well.it’s still an exhilarating moment to watch. yet i can’t help but wonder whether it would go down the same way today. would the deep cynicism so many now have about american history allow such uninhibited displays of patriotism to go on without disparagement? how long before think pieces began pointing out that islamists aren’t nearly as dangerous or destructive as george bush or the nra? how long before pundits started pointing out that killing terrorists is “exactly what they want us to do?” how long before the president would be accused of islamophobia? or jingoism? how long before thousands would head to twitter to lay political blame for why it all happened on the other party?mostly, though, i’m not sure a national “usa! usa!” chant would be much more than platitude today. what does it really mean? pluralism is, of course, a far healthier state of affairs than ...