Sept. 11 should remind us that freedom isn't free

Thursday, September 10, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

Friday is the eighth anniversary of the attack that brought America and the world to a halt. Every nation, every religion, every culture and every ethnicity lost a part of their soul that mournful day.

Yet Sept. 11 should not be the only day we remember as an attack on America’s values and morals. Dec. 7, 1941, the “day that will live in infamy,” and April 19, 1995, the day of the Oklahoma City bombing, should become American secular holidays, mourning the lives of innocents who died for their country.

I’ve written about my personal history with the World Trade Center. I remember hearing that an aircraft hit the towers and the time spent with my morning class as we watched the two buildings and their brethren disappear from our view.

Bill Moyers’ “Moyers on Democracy” is an anthology of speeches this great journalist made over 21 years. He is a journalist who truly reports with his eyes and ears wide open.

On Oct. 16, 2001, Moyers spoke to the Environmental Grantmakers Association in Washington, D.C.  He notes in the preface for that presentation that a month after the attacks he “began to notice some items in the news that struck (him) as especially repugnant amid all the grief.”  Was this the realization that this was the second attempt by al-Qaida to blow up the World Trade Center? Was it that the terrorists were trained to fly in the United States? No.

It was that “in Washington, where environmentalists and other public-interest advocates had suspended normal political activities, corporate lobbyists were suddenly mounting a full-court press for special favors at tax payer expense.” George W. Bush called for America to returning to “normal,” to go to work and spend money. Business became more important than people.

Moyers and many others hold a deep disregard of K-Street, “the predatory epicenter of Washington,” lobbyists (not all lobbyists are evil mind you) and the corporate bigwigs who woke up on Sept. 12 “to a bonanza born tragedy.” America is a country of the corporation, by the lobbyist, for the wealthy.

The people have lost their voice. Corporate lobbyists and CEOs have been leading the American people to a false hope of prosperity. Wealth building, with the help of government tax breaks and incentives, is being achieved at the expense of educating our children, cleaning our environment and paying workers a living wage, especially those in the service industries. Right-wing anarchists believe that taxes are the great evil. Taxes are the cost of maintaining our freedom.

We have seen the gap between wealthy and poor widen. The top 1 percent of the rich in America has 500 percent more wealth than the lower 80 percent combined. Those who work for big business receive health insurance that small businesses cannot afford for their employees. The government is bailing out the large corporations yet gives a small fraction of financial assistance for the people who make this country great.

Now is the time the voices of the people once again unite. Tell our government that military force is not enough to fight terrorism.

We fight terrorism by properly funding K-12 and post-secondary public education, by providing affordable health care to all, by developing renewable energy rather than new oil fields, by providing jobs to all who are able and willing to work and by protecting those who cannot care for themselves. Simply put, trickle-down economics do not work.

It is not “We the Corporate Overseers...”  It is “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity …”

We need to honor the memories of Sept. 11, Dec. 7 and April 19 by listening critically, creating sound argument and saving the planet by saving ourselves. We need to honor the words of our Constitution, for liberty is a blessing.

We need to walk forward, to be progressive, not advance backwards while destroying our own morality.

David Rosman is an award-winning editor, writer, professional speaker and college instructor in communications, ethics, business and politics. He welcomes your comments at

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Mark Foecking September 10, 2009 | 7:03 p.m.

I would say our standard of living does more to fight terrorism than any action or spending government might undertake. Compared to the rest of the world, we have very little abject, hopeless poverty. The average poverty level family in this country has many things that most of the world can only dream about. This keeps people happy (or at least occupied), and keeps them from plotting terrorist acts. In this sense, trickle-down economics works for preventing terrorism.

"Affordable health care" and "for all" are two very different things, with different solutions. The health care system that, as kids, stitched our weekly wounds, or took our tonsils out, for an affordable part of an average families yearly income, is long gone, and there are many complex reasons for that which are difficult or inadvisable for government to repair.

Supporting renewable energy does not relieve us of the need to drill more oil wells. Renewable energy sources mostly produce electricity, while oil produces liquid fuels. There are crippling constraints (raw materials and manufacturing) on the amount of renewable energy we can deploy each year even under the best of circumstances. Supporting renewables at the expense of conventional energy sources will cause energy shortages in the future.


(Report Comment)
n campbell September 10, 2009 | 7:43 p.m.

Good grief! Bill Moyers stopped being a journalist many, many years ago and has been spewing his brand of misguided philosophy ever since. Mr. Rosman, the people haven't had their voice taken from them by K Street-they've colluded by their apathy. Perhaps too much has been 'given' and not enough expected in return.

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