In the summer of 2001, I was experimenting with a sort of community journaling software my friend Carolyn Ray was developing just before the blog thing really took off. This is what I wrote:
In response to Tom… I too share his anger, and his retributive urge. But I believe now is a time to reign in these passions and to reaffirm the values that make America both beloved and despised.
I firmly oppose the impulse to an imperialist foreign policy. This will breed exactly the kind of resentment that leads to terrorism. Indeed, our meddling in others’ affairs may be precisely what provoked (though not warranted—nothing warrants) today’s horror. We must try to find those responsible, give them a fair trial, and mete out justice in the most dispassionate and humane way. We must maintain our dignity and liberality.
I’ve more to say, but my building—-the George Mason University Law School—is being shut down. All morning we have watched the smoke from the Pentagon out our windows, and the circling helicopters and occasional fighter plane. This is an awful and frightening day. I don’t know how I’ll be getting home. I don’t know if I want to get on the Metro. I do know that I am angry. This is my home. My great fear now is that my fellow Americans will give into this anger and do something rash.
Seems like yesterday and forever ago. Fair trials! Sad that the idea almost seems quaint now.