Ten Years – A decade in American democracy – September 2011

Uptown Neighborhood News, Minneapolis, MN – September 2011 - Editorial by Phyllis Stenerson

September 11, 2001 – a day when the world changed forever. 

We’ll never forget the horror we felt as we learned foreign terrorists had invaded our country inflicting incalculable damage and pain. Thousands died and many thousands more had their lives torn apart. Our country was united in shock and grief and had the empathy of the world.

The enormity of changes in American culture and politics since that day of infamy is stunning. Before this tragedy, it seemed like thing were going quite well in the country and world, generally. TheUnited Stateshad no deficit, we weren’t directly embroiled in any wars, the transition to a new President seemed like business as usual. It looked like we were on track to continue pursuing the American dream, to seeking liberty and justice for all. 

As the months after September 2001 passed along, events began to unfold that were, well, unbelievable – but actual. Most egregious was the invasion ofIraq. The buzz on the internet is that the recent earthquake on the East Coast was caused byAmerica’s founders turning over in their graves. Literally graveyard humor, but humor is hard to find and so helpful in keeping perspective. 

Since I was not directly affected by the tragedy I was able to let my thoughts connect to my country as a whole. I’ve been deeply involved in public affairs for a long time and became determined to figure out what was driving this turmoil. And, I became fascinated. Some might say obsessed.  

Over the next months I’ll be sharing some findings and insights with the intent of contributing to public civic education, stimulating thinking and promoting dialogue. There was a time when subjects that were not considered polite conversation included politics, money, race, power, sex, and religion. That’s what we need to talk about plus much more.

To presume to present an overview of American democracy is an audacious task, but it is being done with deep humility. These editorials in the Uptown Neighborhood News are the voice of just one citizen seeking a vibrant renewal of our democratic tradition of working together for the common good. 

Big problems are big opportunities for positive change.  

“My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.”
Archbishop Desmond Tutu

“Have you ever considered how complicated things can get,
what with one thing always leading to another?”
E. B. White
“Our country, right or wrong.
When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right.”
Carl Schurz

What the people want is very simple.
They want an America as good as its promise”
Barbara Jordan

Comments from readers are welcomed. Please send letters to UptownNews@yahoo.com or Uptown Neighborhood News at 3612 Bryant Avenue South,Minneapolis 55409. We look forward to hearing from you.

“I quote others only the better to express myself.”
Michel de Montaigne

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