apparently osama bin laden, al qaida, and the taliban were responsible. and people wanted revenge. i felt that way too. but within a few days i started thinking about the endgame. we could punch back. but then what? if you indiscriminately bomb countries that “harbor terrorists” you’re probably gonna piss off some would-be terrorists.
it occured to me that the appropriate response lay in eliminating the seeds of terrorism: reducing poverty, fighting for social justice, and improving american public relations (aka foreign policy) around the world.
i just hoped the people who decided our countries’ official response would come to the same conclusion. that they would rise above the mass retaliatory knee-jerk gripping the country. it didn’t seem like they would, and looking back, we know that they did everything but.
less than a week later, a teach-in entitled understanding the attack on america was scheduled at unc. the gist of this impromptu panel was that our politicized and schizophrenic american foreign policy has a pretty crappy track record. this was not to say we deserved what we got, but rather to understand current events within the context of recent history.
i had no real sense of politcal identity before september 11th, feeling as out of touch with the “liberal” democrats as their “socially conservative” republican counterparts. but at this teach-in i discovered a group of people calling themselves progressives, who were much more politically and socially innovative than your average democrat.
in a single instant what had previously been loosely connected feelings and my gut responses to current events coalesced with the existence of a way to communicate them.