I want to stay with 9/11 to say something that struck me hard after the ceremonies last Saturday. The grief felt and expressed had to do with more than the memories of that day 20 years ago. It also had to do with right now.
It had to do with a sense that we are losing the thread, that America is losing the thread. We compared—we couldn’t help it, it is in the nature of memory—the America of now with the America of 20 years ago, and we see a deterioration. We feel disturbance at this because we don’t know if we can get our way back. The losing of the thread feels bigger than ideology, bigger certainly than parties. It feels like some more fundamental confusion, an inability to play the role of who we are, and to be comfortable in who we are.