Cultural Changes, Real and Transitory
S. T. Karnick
"Everything has changed."
That, as we all know, is the conventional wisdom since September 11, even among those who were more or less content with the way things were before that terrible day. And things certainly seem different. After the terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans immediately came together to support the families of those killed or injured by the atrocities. They said all the right things and gave an impressive amount of money, a sum made even more inspiring by the fact that the economy has been in recession for several months. Prayer, which the courts and political class had been pushing out of the public square for nearly a half-century was a central feature of the public response. National leaders unabashedly led large crowds in entreating the Almighty for guidance and strength in the days immediately after the attack, and most people have seemed increasingly comfortable with the new infusion of religion into America's public life.
Respect for the military is higher than it has been in years, probably even greater than during the Persian Gulf War, and the public has expressed strong feelings of gratitude toward the nation's police officers, firefighters, and other emergency workers. Of course, a few churlish sorts have absurdly blamed the United States for the attacks, but such voices have been rare and were quickly drowned out by the upsurge of patriotism and indeed nationalism that immediately followed the attacks and has yet to subside.
This changes everything," the pundits told us after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States. That one-liner certainly rings true regarding the work of the political pundits themselves, but not necessarily about America. It is now difficult to imagine phrases such as "Social Security lockbox," "campaign finance reform," and "the political future of Congressman Gary Cond it" dominating the news and political conversation as they did just last summer. Although it has given the talking heads something substantial to talk about, September 11 didn't really "change everything" where U.S. foreign policy is concerned. The international challenges and opportunities facing Washington remain largely the same as they were before the attacks.
THE PRESIDENCY IN WARTIME - A SYMPOSIUM
THE ROOTS OF ISLAMIC RADICALISM
DEFENDING THE HOMEFRONT
THE DRUGS & TERROR CONNECTION
BIN LADEN'S WAR ON THE MARKET ECONOMY
THE NASTY NINETIES
THE WERE CONSERVATIVES ONCE... AND RIGHT
CLINTON'S COLLATERAL DAMAGE
bUSINESS & THE eCONOMY
A RAJ TOO FAR
CLUELESS IN SAN DIEGO