At a local ski area the lives lost in the terror attacks on
September 11, 2001 are represented by 3,200 American flags waving on the slopes. It is called a healing field, yet I am unsure what healing from this looks like. I suspect that like any horrible trauma, the scars will forever cause us pain, and our memorials will always be marked by tears. All of this reminiscing about where we were and what has happened since that fateful day, made me think of how drastically our country has changed.
I have been fully introduced to absurdity over the past ten years and have adopted, “What a crock!” as one of my favorite sayings. It makes me sound crotchety, but I also look forward to the day when I am old enough to yell at kids to get off my grass. Here are a few of the tidbits that encourage my expression:
- In 2001 gas cost $1.70/gallon. At my local gas station gas today costs $3.85/gallon. I am told this is due to a shortage, instability in the Middle East, not enough refineries, a need to drill more, etc. Oil company profits more than doubled in 2010 from 2009, largely due to them buying their own stock to
drive up the price of shares (our gas).
- In the early years the War on Terror focused primarily on finding WMD’s in Iraq and removing Saddam Hussein from power; both good intentions, but not a direct response to the attack. Now that our focus is on Al Qaeda and the Taliban in the region where many of the 9/11 terrorists were trained, a majority of us would like to end the war.
- Unemployment in the United States averaged 4.7% in 2001 and is now 9.1%. American corporate profits were at an all-time high last month, yet corporations are not hiring. The federal government plans to give them a tax break because perhaps if they had more money they would hire.
- The average household income in 2001 was $42,228 and was $46,326 in 2010, a 9% increase. The cost of a $20 item in 2001 would cost $25.53 today, a 27.6%
increase. Average pay of CEO’s is 250 to 500 times greater than that of the average worker (this may have always been the case, though).
- We came together as American citizens immediately following the attacks on 9/11/01. I saw strangers hug and we were kinder to one another for a bit. We now have a Congress so divided that they cannot function and Americans regularly hate each other rather than being open-minded. Our differences are the tapestry that makes our country great. Why would we fight each other when there are people in the world who hate Americans enough to kill us?
I realize I sound like an ol’ timer talking about how good life used to be. I never thought that I would be happier living in any other era than the current one, but that has changed, too.