Editor's Opinion: What a Difference a Year Makes!
This month, we will remember the thousands of people who perished that dreadful day 1 year ago and comfort those who lost family and friends. We will continue to support those who escaped or responded to the calls for help, offering what we can to ease their burden as witnesses of the horror. As we reflect on a year of tumultuous change, heartbreaking images, uncertainty, bravery, strength of spirit, and courage, we also will be forced to reflect on the effects of selfishness, greed, and cowardice.
A political cartoon in a recent issue of a newspaper depicts a couple with binoculars in front of their heavily fortified house. The wife is in charge of defending them against terrorists. The husband is responsible for preventing the hijacking of their 401(k) by crooked CEOs and accountants and seizure of their freedom from overzealous politicians. Who could have predicted that an almost perfect, sunny September morning would be the dawn of a storm? Such a convergence of events would have been deemed too far-fetched for even the most imaginative fiction writer.
A little more than a year ago, I shared my frustration regarding the prominence of Wall Street financiers and bankers and the respect shown those who earn heaps of money while those who provide essential care and services receive virtually none.1 I relayed the hope of Witrogen-McLeod and Roszak that caregiving, not accumulating hefty portfolios, will become the signature occupation of our 21st century society.2 At the time, that idea seemed as fanciful as firefighter dolls, police memorabilia, and stores running out of American flags to sell.
Before 9-11, most people would have scoffed at the notion that an overwhelming project such as the cleansing of the area where the World Trade Center once stood could be completed in record time and below budget. Recently, the spirit and drive of the workers who cleared the site of that tragedy and those who provided them with comfort and support became front page news in their own right - next to reports of Congressional hearings about once revered financiers, bankers, and even auditors. The juxtaposition is creating a new breed of heroes and villains, goading us to question and protect our priorities. The far-fetched has become reality and it has, at best, been as unsettling as a violent summer storm. But storms pass. They always do. It's what we do in the wake of a storm that makes the difference.