9/11 -- Five Years Later

After five years, what does the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennslyvania still signify to us in the United States? That's the question being asked all over the country in the next two days. I had an opportunity to discuss this very issue for a roundtable taping of the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS-TV.

Although it was taped last Friday, a condensed version of this talk will air on Monday, September 11 on PBS stations nationwide. Please check your local listings and local PBS stations for air times.

I hope my feelings and thoughts were adequately conveyed and not edited too much, although I understand the constraints. It was a lively discussion and I value the chance to be part of any such dialogue. In this country, we need more of these talks -- not just with like-minded people (although this has its merits), but with those we don't agree with.

I'm convinced we in the United States have more in common as far as issues, ideas, and values than not. I'm also convinced that right now, we are extremely divided. Our leaders and policymakers aren't helping -- they are as polarized as never before. We are at war, yet a significant number of people here don't want to be in a war that in effect has made terrorism more cohesive and stronger (and killed tens of thousands of civilians and close to 3,000 of our own troops) without any positive results. We are seeing a widening gap between the most powerful & rich people of the land and the poorest & least empowered. We are rent not just by idealogies, but class (the fundamental division in our land), race, immigrant status, and more.

I hope you all can watch this show and somehow, somewhere, get more involved in the badly-needed dialogues we need to have as a country about terrorism, war, the economy, our visions, our present, and future. I will do what I can to take part in these, and to facilitate these, as much as I can.

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