I want to stay with 9/11 to say something that struck me hard after the ceremonies last Saturday. The grief felt and expressed had to do with more than the memories of that day 20 years ago. It also had to do with right now.
It had to do with a sense that we are losing the thread, that America is losing the thread. We compared—we couldn’t help it, it is in the nature of memory—the America of now with the America of 20 years ago, and we see a deterioration. We feel disturbance at this because we don’t know if we can get our way back. The losing of the thread feels bigger than ideology, bigger certainly than parties. It feels like some more fundamental confusion, an inability to play the role of who we are, and to be comfortable in who we are.
- The "thread" that provides us our guidance as a nation is solidly anchored to The Declaration of Independence and to its statement that every person has an unalienable right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Anchored always there, the thread that guides this nation is secured to a place outside the labyrinth in which he have so often found ourselves.
- Our Constitution and The Bill of Rights, the first Ten Amendments to the Constitution.
- The Gettysburg Address, reaffirming that we remain committed to a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people."
- The Thirteenth and Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, abolishing slavery and guaranteeing due process and equal protection to all persons, and securing for all citizens the right to vote.
- The Nineteenth Amendment, guaranteeing that the right to vote shall never be denied or abridged on account of sex.