"A Nation Changed" was the headline in the local rag on one of the Eleventh Anniversary stories, loaded with the usual platitudes, patriotic chest-thumping and banal braggadocio.
Then came word of the tragic slaying of Americans in a consulate in Libya.
Willard Romney's sick, slimy, error-pocked statement about events in Egypt and Libya was simply one more manifestation of the utter lack of ethical leadership under which this country has operated since the September attacks more than a decade ago.
We have become a nation fueled by hate and greed, a nation whose gross national product is war, a nation whose wealthiest few are giddily driving ever more Americans out work and into poverty with the connivance of an abjectly corrupt governmental and political system.
Throughout the Muslim world, rage continues to rise, ignited by an artistically starved amateur hate movie made in the U.S.A. that profanes the Muslim religious and cultural heritage. Even though the U.S. government rightly denounces it, the rest of the world sees it as another piece in the hegemonic American mosaic of dominion and hubris. More violence seems inevitable.
The American ruling class and the Israeli government continue hell-bent on open and unprovoked war against Iran, even as our CIA and assorted covert, private armies conduct stealth wars in a dozen other places around the globe. They regard Iran as a nuclear threat even though it has yet to take one serious step toward developing nuclear weaponry, whereas Israel's big nuclear arsenal is the world's most poorly kept military secret but somehow is not construed as a threat to its neighbors in the Middle East.
American drones continue to kill civilian men, women and children. Only this week another innocent victim of our national policies of illegal detention and torture died in our black hole in Cuba. Our president retains the dictatorial authority to declare any American citizen, here or abroad, a terrorist enemy and have that person jailed indefinitely or killed on the spot.
We have 46 million American citizens living in poverty while the richest few among us enjoy spiraling and largely untaxed wealth unprecedented in the history of the republic. At a recent post-golf beer session in a club for the merely very rich, the good ol' boys took turns boasting about the number of recent years in which they paid no taxes. A retired physician among them, himself comfortably well off despite paying taxes every year, gave up golf rather than having to listen to this bilge several times a week.
We have nearly one in four Americans of working age out of work, and a national economy that adds jobs at a rate that does not equal the number of new citizens entering the work force. Virtually all the "new jobs" are minimum or low-wage service jobs.
American corporations have shipped all of their living wage jobs overseas where pay scales are much lower. Corporate profits soar, corporate money is parked offshore and untaxed. They have plenty of cash to buy politicians who, when elected, do their bidding.
Median income in the United States is eight percent less than it was before the Bush-Obama recession. A typical member of the wealthiest American one percent now is 288 times richer than the median U.S. wage earner.
Our "free" press has become part of a massive propaganda machine. Our sources of "news" are mere shills for government and its corporate masters. We have fewer and fewer places to go to find truth.
Yes, we are indeed "a nation changed."