Keller @ Large: How 9/11 Changed America

BOSTON (CBS) – Chances are you will never forget where you were when you heard about the mass murders of September 11, 2001.

I spent the day at a South Boston polling place as Americans of all ages and backgrounds, most in a state of shock, streamed in to vote in an act of collective defiance of the fools who thought they could bring down a nation they knew nothing about.

I was proud of our country before 9/11, never prouder than on that day, and ten years later, I’m still proud of us, that hasn’t changed and never will. But I’m sorry to say that that’s not the only thing that 9/11 doesn’t seem to have changed.

Before 9/11, we were smug about our national security, secure in the knowledge that terrorists couldn’t hit us here. After ten years without another successful attack (unless you count the Fort Hood massacre), there are plenty of signs of smugness returning among the legions with short attention spans.

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Before 9/11, we were an increasingly un-serious society, distracted by fluff and cultural junk food. Last night, the top trending twitter topics in the nation included National Kiss Day and “go Packers.”

Before 9/11, our political culture had deteriorated into a useless charade of partisan bickering and refusal to deal with real problems. Need I say more about that?

Yes, some things have changed dramatically since 9/11. Before 9/11 we thought we could play footsie with criminals like Saddam or Ghadafi to keep the oil flowing. I think we know better now, most of the time.

We are safer, thanks to our brave armed forces and a whole lot of anti-terrorism activity, some of which probably never made the news.

And if you lost a loved one on that day or in the wars that have followed, you are living with the most terrible change possible.

Ten years is not too long to remember when we thought we’d all been changed forever by 9/11. But for better or for worse – mostly for worse, I think – that has proven untrue.

And that’s why the remembering we’re doing right now is so incredibly important to our future.

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