It’s been 11 years since that horrible day back in 2001 that shocked a nation and indeed the world. Close to 3,000 innocent American lives were lost that dreadful September morning. Our country went into chaos mode for days. Our economy took a hit. America, as an idea, was under attack. America has never been the same again after that day. On this day, 11 years later, we shall not only remember those victims lost and affected by the tragedy, for indeed they and their families deserve our prayers and support, but we shall also recognize the impact of 9/11 on our national politics and policy making. America’s innocence was robbed in that day. The bastion of democracy was under siege. The heart of capitalism was dealt a severe blow. The strength of our freedom has been severely undermined. And yes, the role of government has become ever so expansive, and we need to be aware of this trend amidst intense rhetoric on national security.
Exhibit A: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), now a massive bureaucracy, created initially in an attempt to streamline governmental response to terrorist attacks still failed to prevent the Christmas “underwear” bomber from two years ago. The creation of DHS has perhaps been the largest expansion of federal government in the last two decades. According to an investigative report conducted by the Washington Post last year, there is about 1,271 governmental organizations – not including hundreds more of private security organizations created since – working on counterterrorism in the U.S.; Hundreds of those grew directly out of 9/11. 41 federal counterterrorist organizations grew in Texas alone. About $120 billion additional fund were spent in the two years immediately after 9/11 on a global offense against terrorists. DHS’s FY 2012 budget request: $57 billion. To put that into perspective, Texas’s annual state budget is about $87 billion.
Are we really safer as result of these massive new spendings and growth in government? One can only hope that memories of those lost in 9/11 represent the best of America, a country founded on big ideas, and a country that has led the world into peace and prosperity. America stands for freedom; America stands for democracy; and America stands for capitalism. We need to hold our government in check in order to preserve our brand – to stand up for our values – and not allow the whims of time to destroy these very foundations that have made this country a success story among great nations in history.