Don’t Cede the 11th to Cynicism

So more than once, even before this kitschy anniversary, I’ve had to check myself and ask if the outpouring a year ago, the one I joined, had more to do with sentimentality and voyeurism and entitled naiveté — How could this happen to us? We’re Americans! — than genuine grief and horror at an outsized human tragedy. I’ve let myself wonder if I was duped: If Sept. 11 really wasn’t that big a deal next to Rwanda and Bosnia and Chile. But I resist such cynical accounting. If you can’t care about all of those horrors, you can’t care about any of them. And if we let grief and anger about Sept. 11 belong to the right, they win. The left can’t change America as long as it hates it.

It’s My Country and I’ll Cry If I Want To.