The American people and their government chose to ignore the real lesson of 9/11. Which is that people succeed where systems fail.
But where systems failed, people did their best. The system failed the NYFD, nevertheless without proper guidance or communication, firefighters nevertheless managed to reach the highest floors. The system failed the passengers on United 93, but they nevertheless took back the plane and prevented an attack on the White House.
Contemplate that for a moment. It wasn't the White House that saved anyone's life that day. It was ordinary Americans who gave their lives to stop an attack on the White House.
Had we really understood that lesson, had the government understood that lesson, and that of the large numbers of Americans who volunteered at Ground Zero, who joined the military, who worked to gather information on Jihadists and who demonstrated their willingness to resist the terrorists at home and abroad... the history of the last 7 years might have been very different indeed.
Instead the government put its faith in the same old defective systems, with a new coat of paint, and some tinkering under the hood. And told the people to cheer up, go back to shopping in order to boost the economy and let the folks in D.C. get things done.
That after all was exactly what the government had told people about the Communist threat, about the oil crisis and about any major problem or threat. Go to the polls when you're told, pay your taxes, smile for the camera and stay out of our way. Yet that wasn't at all the way things were supposed to work.
The triumph of the American experiment began with the idea that freedom and government were vested in the individual. By the dawn of the 20th Century however that idea had been swept away in favor of a contradictory idea, that large governmental institutions and militaries were the protectors of our freedom. The victory over Fascism and the start of the Cold War seemed to reaffirm the idea of government as protector, of democracy as a tool to elevate men to supervise a larger struggle on behalf of the free world.
That black and white picture however turned to static by the end of the 20th century and the fragmented image that rose in its aftermath looked very different indeed. The Soviet Union was gone, in its place were dozens of nations, entities and factions-- most of them committed to tyranny, some on a global scale. And while none of them could singlehandedly defeat the United States Army, they didn't have to. Because government had stopped being the solution, and become the problem.
The 20th century saw organization, centralization, nationalization and mobilization as the solution, the waning years of the century made it quite clear that if anything the process had gone too far. Western nations could boast the best organizations, but the best organization pitted against a mobile enemy that could live as the 'rats within the walls' of your civilization, was worth very little.
Expanding government made for increasingly less efficient systems. The bigger government got, the more it took over, and the less it could get done. We saw that phenomenon up close in the War on Terror in which we aimed canons at gnats, killed a lot of gnats but remained a long way from solving the problem.
When the gnats relearned how to exploit the flaws in the system, things only got worse and at some national fatigue reached a turning point, just as it did in the Civil War, the Pacific Front during WW2, or in Korea or in Vietnam. The American people can see when little progress is being made at great cost.
The system chugged on, corners were cut and compromises were made. And the Appeasement Party began a phony populist movement with a rebranded image and a whole lot of dirty money... and the rest is history. And depending on how things go over the next few years, we may well be history too.
Now the same system is being transformed, dismantled and rebuilt along different lines with the agenda of undermining America's defense and the remains of the free world. The Appeasement Party has surpassed the farthest limits of treason, America's enemy sits in the White House and his appointees run amuck with their dirty hands held high in the air.
But that ending may too mark a beginning. The dismantling of America as a superpower, the abandonment of American sovereignty and the fall of national integrity is also one final wake up call. As the systems come crashing down, we will have a choice between one all encompassing system to submit to... or between individual liberty and independence.
The American experiment is coming full circle again. The colonists who resisted the control of a distant power with global ambitions, have a chance to choose once again. The idealistic view of an American superpower as a protector of liberty and a shrine of good government perished finally in 2008. It would take a miracle to restore it again, and if that were to happen it would likelier be at the hands of another Alexander or Caesar, than a Washington or Lincoln. But it is not systems we need, but people.
Systems have failed in the face of the Islamic threat and the Communist threat. Worse than that the systems themselves became co-opted and served to spread the virii of Communism and Islamism instead. But systems are ultimately dumb things, a system of men following regulations have less common sense than any single individual among them. If we are to survive, it will have to be through the individual American reclaiming his heritage of freedom, his insistence that government is vested in the individual, not the system. Only this way can Americans can succeed where our systems have failed.